My doctor told me that while I'm breastfeeding I should not eat peanuts and shellfish. He told me that this could potentially cause my son to develop an allergy to these foods. However, I have not been able to find any sources that back up what he has told me.

Has anyone else been told to avoid peanuts and shellfish? Does anyone have a source to prove (or disprove) what my doctor has told me about these foods?

asked 13 Jan '10, 04:37

cat_g's gravatar image

accept rate: 25%

Funny, because our paediatrician encouraged my wife to breastfeed to reduce the chance of our daughters having allergies. From what she said, research seemed to indicate that breastfeeding reduced the risk of children developing allergies, or at least delayed them.

A brief Google threw up this page, which seems to indicate that (for peanuts in this case), there is no proven risk.

...a major review of the scientific evidence ... showed there is no clear evidence that eating or not eating peanuts (or foods containing peanuts) during pregnancy, breastfeeding or early childhood has any effect on the chances of a child developing a peanut allergy.

I suspect this quote from another page pretty much sums up the situation:

As with all breastfeeding topics, we hear conflicting advice about breastfeeding and allergies, and we have to recognize that allergy studies are very difficult to execute on account of many factors -- food introduction, genetic factors, and maternal diet being the most significant. However, breastfeeding is still cited by The American Academy of Pediatrics as the best means to prevent allergies in babies.


answered 13 Jan '10, 07:31

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edited 14 Jan '10, 05:37

My doctor also encouraged me to breastfeed to help reduce the chances of allergies and asthma. However, he believed that the protiens from some foods (like nuts and shellfish) can pass into breastmilk and should thus be avoided. What I was hoping for was some scientific results that might shed some light on whether or not my consumption of these foods could lead to nut and shellfish allergies in my child.

(13 Jan '10, 16:13) cat_g

See cited text - "a major review of scientific evidence"

(14 Jan '10, 05:37) Benjol

I had a very long conversation with my pediatrician recently about peanuts and children. The main problem is there are a lot of studies with conflicting results. This is probably due to the difficulty of diet related studies having a good methodology. For a review of some of them, you may find this policy revision from the American Academy of Pediatrics interesting.


answered 13 Jan '10, 15:46

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Kiesa ♦
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This is a great site! Thank you. Although there are no clear answers about the effects of foods a mother eats and allergies a child might develop, I appreciated that they give references to different scientific studies.

(13 Jan '10, 16:09) cat_g

I have three kiddos and have never heard about this kind of potential correlation before.

I live in Northern Europe and here there are no restrictive recommendations regarding mother's diet during breastfeeding - no foods to avoid as harmful. Translated from here:

Regarding the diet of a breastfeeding mother, there is no need to avoid any nutrients in order to prevent allergies. Allergy can be caused also by many other things than food. Therefore, mother's diet should not be restricted unnecessarily.

By using common sense it is quite obvious that it is good if the mother eats healthy when breastfeeding: Harward's Eating Healthy Pyramid is quite a good framework to follow as a nursing mom. Lots of good fats, lots of fruits and vegetables, and nuts, seeds, beans, tofu, fish, poultry and eggs as sources of protein. Or as Michael Pollan puts it: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

According to the Harward model: "Many kinds of nuts contain healthy fats, and packages of some varieties (almonds, walnuts, pecans, peanuts, hazelnuts, and pistachios) can now even carry a label saying they're good for your heart."

I personally have found it extremely important to eat e.g. cashews and other healthy nuts (peanut not necessarily the best possible option...) when breastfeeding and needing extra nutrients. I have never heard not found any scientific evidence showing correlation between nuts in mother's diet and allergies, so would not give them up in order to try to avoid allergies "just in case".


answered 13 Jan '10, 17:07

HW's gravatar image

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edited 14 Jan '10, 01:40

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Scott ♦♦


Hi! I'm going to challenge you on this statement: "I live in Northern Europe and here there are no restrictive recommendations regarding mother's diet during breastfeeding - no foods to avoid as harmful." (Not on the fact that you live in Northern Europe, but the idea that there are "no restrictive recommendations".) I would be surprised if they wouldn't, for instance, recommend against eating large fish that have higher levels of mercury. At any rate, saying you don't have any evidence or link is not a good enough disclaimer to make such claims. Please see

(13 Jan '10, 18:05) Scott ♦♦

Regarding pregnancy, yes, we do have restrictions - concerning e.g. large fishes. But when it comes to breastfeeding, recommendations here tend to emphasize that there's no need to restrict one's diet to avoid allergies, as it is put in our national nutrition recommendation for families: (in Finnish)

"Regarding the diet of a breastfeeding mother, there is no need to avoid any nutrients in order to prevent allergies. Allergy can be caused also by many other things than food. Therefore, mother's diet should not be restricted unnecessarily."

(13 Jan '10, 20:46) HW

Thanks for the ref! I'm going to edit that into your answer.

(14 Jan '10, 01:37) Scott ♦♦

I breastfed both my kids, and neither my OB nor my family practitioners said anything about avoiding peanuts while breastfeeding. Though I was warned that eating broccoli would give my kids gas.


answered 15 Jan '10, 00:34

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

After Googling around (I'm a librarian, so I think I'm pretty good at this), and finding all the information to be conflicting, I settled on this:

Peanut protein is said to end up in breast milk. If you have a family history of food allergies, or your baby is having allergic reactions to other things, then consider holding off on peanuts until you're done breastfeeding.

Since I don't have the allergy risk factor, and 80 doesn't seem to react to other foods, I could make my decision at that point.

If you do have risk factors, and love PB&Js, consider almond butter or cashew butter. They're more expensive, but factor in the peace of mind to the cost.


answered 06 Jul '10, 21:52

Sunday's gravatar image

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hi! every one has there own experiences but now i started believing this fact that the food which cause allergies can effect by breast feed as my daughter had diarrhea and vomiting thing after i ate cashew nuts. so we can say the kids who are prone to food allergies can have allery by breastfeed after moms consumption of such allergic foods. its better if u avoid it for some time till ur kiddy have sensitive digestive system. and for those who never experienced it with there kidos may be there kids are not allergic or not prone to such allergy.


answered 19 Dec '10, 05:53

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asma hussain
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Asked: 13 Jan '10, 04:37

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Last updated: 19 Dec '10, 05:53