Sunday, November 2, 2008

Because Moms of Allergic Kids Need MORE Guilt

I'm not the first allergy blogger to link to this, but just in case you missed it, the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology just released an article that finds that delaying feeding your child peanut products might now increase the likelihood of a peanut allergy. What the...?

Look, I work in scientific publishing so I am definitely a fan of primary research literature. And to be honest, I've only skimmed this article, but the last paragraph caught my attention:

"Randomized controlled interventional studies,
such as the Immune Tolerance Network/National Institutes of
Health–funded Learning Early about Peanut Allergy Study
(further information is available at and, are
therefore required to determine whether peanut avoidance or
the early dietary introduction of peanut will prevent PA. Until
such evidence is obtained, current recommendations should
remain unchanged. "

So even though they have strong evidence to support this theory, it's still just a theory and their recommendation for the introduction of peanut products remains unchanged. But from the media reports, you'd think just the opposite.

Us moms can never win, and hearing these reports makes me frustrated, because news outlets forget to mention the last part. First it was if you didn't breastfeed then your child would get an allergy, then it was if you DID breastfeed your child would get an allergy via your diet. My pediatrician was adamant that I not introduce peanuts until Bella was 3 (!). And now I should have been feeding them to her along with her first bite of sweet potato puree at 5 months?

If you care to read the article, you can visit the site here. It's a free download this week (not sure if it will always be free, so download it now if you're interested)!

And if you're the parent of a newly diagnosed child (or heck a long time ago diagnosed child), don't beat yourself up when you hear these reports. You can't turn back time, so don't dwell on it. And the kicker is that this article just offers a hypothesis - even they say it is a possibility, that it might be the case. I lost countless hours of my life wondering what I did wrong and I still lose hours thinking of worst case scenarios when B is a teenager. Aye carumba!

I look forward to hearing more reports from researchers who are helping us manage the allergy and hopefully make it go away than I am from folks telling me what I should have been doing.


Debbie said...

I really don't believe this study. I breastfed my baby, and everytime I ate peanuts he would get a rash. I don't think it would have been helpful for him if I put peanuts in his sweet potatoes at 5 months (the age of his first severe reaction to milk). I agree, lets figure out how to make it go away . . .

Pez said...

My sister-in-law's sister delayed feeding her son peanuts (pb) until his 3rd birthday when she gave him pb on toast for breakfast. He immediately broke out on hives. He is allergic to peanuts.

Of course, my son had rashes on his face his whole infancy due to me eating pb like it was going out of style while nursing him.

Unfortunately, I don't think they really know what the answer is.

Elaine said...

I can't even read these anymore. I have gone back and forth with the guilt for too long.

I agree let's just fix it. I refuse to dwell anymore...