July 12th

theresa albert - my friend in food


Breastfeeding and Allergies

peanut butter 009

A recent study done by the Albany Medical College, N.Y. and reported to The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Annual Meeting  suggests that there is a common mis-perception around breastfeeding and its impact on a child’s potential allergies.  There is plenty of evidence that breastfeeding is best for the infant. (But, in my opinion, this is only true as long as it works for mom.)  Nutritionally, breast milk is the perfect food with added benefits but socially, financially, logistically and physically; only mom can make that decision with each child and every time.


Everyone is aware of the benefits including:

  • Blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes protection for the mom
  • Calorie burning so mom has an easier time losing post baby weight
  • More developed flavour palate for the baby
  • Enhanced child immunity
  • Increased thymus size (where protective T cells live)
  • Vitamins and minerals are more absorbable when obtained from breast milk over formula
  • Good fats are transferred to the child helping to build brain and other tissues
  • Some studies show breastfed babies are at decreased risk for overweight

So what’s new in this field? There is a misconception that the breastfeeding moms should avoid to the top allergens in order to prevent the child from developing a sensitivity. This idea never really made sense to me since an allergic reaction is an immune response and we already know that breastfeeding is good for immunity.  Now this small study has provided a clue and pointed in a direction to help moms choose.

This study tested the immune response of infants in 2 categories: moms who ate the top allergens: (wheat, dairy and peanuts) and those who avoided it.  What they found was that the infants of the “avoiding mothers” were more susceptible to allergy than “non-avoiding mothers”.  The current hypothesis is that the mother ingests the food and develops an immune response herself and then passes that strength on to the child.  This theory just feels right when passed through the common –sense-o-meter.

The bottom line remains the same with a little more evidence supporting the breast. If you can and wish to breast feed do so knowing that eating allergenic foods passes along the flavour, nutrients and enhanced immunity to baby.

Here is a clip from CTV news where I explain.


Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert

I love food, try to watch my weight, know more than I want to about healthy living (sometimes I wish I knew less so I wouldn’t feel so guilty when I stumble), am a daughter, sister, friend, mom and wife who worries and scurries the meals onto the table. It is for all these reasons that I completed my nutrition, RNCP designation, wrote my book, hosted my Food Network show, consult with food companies to urge them to get it right (or at least better), constantly write about it, research it, all of this so I can cut through the nutrition and food “news” clutter. Happy to share with friends!


Leave a Comment


To keep your mind sharp, answer this question to post your comment!

What is 7 times 8?


Copyright 2012 All Rights Reserved.