Image courtesy of Microsoft Clip Art
Last week the Little Man had an allergist appointment (more of an asthma check, really). While there I took advantage of the time to ask a few questions I had about articles that I read regarding anti acids and increasing food allergies and breast feeding and causing food allergies.
Both articles weighed on me. The last thing I want to do is to "cause" another child to have food allergies (it's always the mothers fault, isn't it??).
I wrote a post about a month and half ago about my horrible reflux. I laugh because if I thought it was bad then, it only got worse. I would allow myself to take a few tums or Gaviscon at bedtime. But due to articles and studies such as this one, I was afraid to take more or take anything else. My OB said that both were fine to take. I've read that both were fine take. I've even read that stronger anti acids were fine to take during pregnancy. But fear of "causing" food allergies in this baby kept me from taking anything. When I brought this up to our allergist, he said the same thing that I've been saying all along. These studies and articles are not proven. This is one study. And tomorrow another study will come out that says there is no correlation between anti acids and food allergies. He said you can't take these as fact but as a possibility. He asked if my reflux was bad and when I said YES, severe, he pointed out that I'd be doing more damage to myself by not taking them than to the baby if I did. He said the last thing I want to do is get severe esophagitis. So I've been trying to still watch my diet. Certain things can be triggers. But when water triggers it or it just won't go away I take something. I still try not to take too much, but he's right. I don't want to hurt myself.
Last week I also read an article called Exclusive Breast Feeding Linked To Nut Allergies and I thought "WHAT THE HECK IS THIS NOW"??? I thought I read that breast feeding was supposed to protect against food allergies. So what does this mean?
Again, the allergist and I spoke about this. Breast feeding is best. We all know this. And it doesn't "increase" nut allergies. He told me that he has seen incidence of babies reacting to nut protein in the mother's breast milk. But that it is few and far between. Yes, nut protein does pass through breast milk. But it doesn't "cause" nut allergies per se. He pointed out that in Israel, they give one month old babies peanuts and Israel has a very low rate of peanut allergies. There is even This article from the NCBI talking early ingestion of peanut protein and low nut allergy risk. Of course this article is just a study and nothing has been proven EITHER WAY. If early ingestion of peanut protein lessened the risk of nut allergies in children, then wouldn't the nut protein ingested through breast milk, do the same thing? No one knows. And that's the point. As our allergist pointed out, maybe it truly is a timing thing. Maybe it's the way the nuts are processed. You could drive yourself crazy trying to figure all this out. And does it work the same for milk, wheat or egg allergies? Again, WHO KNOWS??? Apparently no one knows. So the conclusion that we came to was if going without nuts during breast feeding isn't going to kill me then go for it. And it won't kill me because I don't eat them very often.
I've also decided to try to get a handle the other foods/top 8 allergens that I'll be eating and try to do a rotation diet so that I'm not eating too much of one food every day possibly causing food allergies for the baby in another way.
It's all a fine line and it's all conjecture. Until concrete proof comes out explaining HOW individuals acquire food allergies all we can do is the best we can with the limited knowledge available.
Reading the articles and studies are a good thing. You need to keep informed. But you (meaning "I") need to put them in perspective and accept them for exactly what they are: Possibilities, not fact.