Learn the facts about food allergies, pregnancy and breastfeeding
There are many common misconceptions related to food allergies and pregnancy. We’re here to help empower parents (and expecting parents) with the facts so that you can safely navigate this important milestone for your family and effectively prevent a food allergy.
Myth #1: Avoiding peanuts and other allergenic foods while pregnant can help prevent food allergies for your baby
Fact: According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Guidelines for Diagnosing a Food Allergy (see Guideline 36), expecting mothers should not restrict their diets in order to prevent a food allergy. There is new evidence from the landmark LEAP study to show that, in infants with severe eczema and/or egg allergy, avoiding or delaying introduction of peanuts was associated with a significantly increased prevalence of peanut allergy.
Unfortunately, older and now outdated recommendations have caused much of this confusion. In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics advised allergy-prone moms to avoid peanuts and tree nuts during pregnancy to help prevent their babies from developing food allergies.
Based on current recommendations, expecting mothers should not restrict their diet in an effort to prevent a food allergy for their baby.
Myth #2: Eating peanuts and other allergenic foods while breastfeeding can help prevent food allergies for your baby
Fact: In the 2019 Guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), there was insufficient evidence to show that consuming allergenic foods while breastfeeding has any preventative benefits for your child and food allergies.
“No conclusions can be made about the role of breastfeeding in either preventing or delaying the onset of specific food allergies.” - American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), March 2019.
Myth #3: My baby isn’t at risk for food allergies if they don’t have a family history
Fact: Over 50% of children suffering from a food allergy do not have any family history or a direct family member with a food allergy. Moreover, babies aren’t born with food allergies -- rather, they develop them over time. So in fact, all babies are at risk of developing a food allergy.
About Annie Bunje: Annie Bunje is Marketing Director for Ready. Set. Food!
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