Ask the Allergist - Prevention of Peanut Allergy?
Q: My daughter gets hives and has trouble breathing with even the slightest amount of peanut. Her allergy was recently confirmed by allergy testing. I am pregnant and am avoiding eating all peanut products as I've been told this can decrease the chance of my newborn developing this allergy. Is this true? What other foods should I avoid during pregnancy?
A: Recent data has found that maternal avoidance of allergens during pregnancy does not affect the risk of development of allergy. Avoiding certain foods during breast feeding may reduce eczema, possibly. Also for infants with a family history of allergy, it is recommended to exclusively breast feed for 4 months and avoid solids until your infant is at least 4-6 months of age, to decrease the risk of eczema and cow's milk allergy. For infants not exclusively breast-fed, extensively (Nutramigen, Pregestimil) or partially 'hydrolyzed' formulas in the first few months, are better than whole protein milk or soy formula. After 4-6 months, specific allergy avoidance doesn't affect development of allergy.