Peanut Allergy May Be Triggered by Breastfeeding
WebMD News Archive
Another expert, Marc E. Rothenberg, MD, says it still remains to be proven if the amount of peanut protein found in breast milk is sufficient to sensitize infants to developing a peanut allergy.
"The levels, in an of themselves, are pretty high, and this could explain why people have peanut allergy. ... Peanut allergy often presents in the first year of life, and we often wonder why that is if they haven't had any exposure and have only been consuming breast milk or formula," says Rothenberg, who is section chief of allergy and immunology and an associate professor at Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati. "This shows that exposure could have been through the breast milk, and that is significant. It means mothers who are breastfeeding and who are concerned about allergies should watch their diet."
Rothenberg says one interpretation of the study is that it may be possible -- by completely avoiding peanuts in infancy and early childhood -- to avoid ever developing a peanut allergy, since it usually develops early, if at all. On the other hand, he says it's also possible that some slight exposure may be necessary to strengthen the immune system to fight off or lessen the effects of a peanut allergy attack.
If you are pregnant and considering breastfeeding or already are breastfeeding, ask your doctor if you should avoid peanuts.