I'm a new mom and have just started breastfeeding. If I avoid certain foods during this time, can I lesson my daughter's chances of developing food allergies?
At this time, doctors do not recommend that you avoid certain foods while breastfeeding your child in order to prevent the development of food allergies. That's because studies have found conflicting outcomes on whether restricting a mother's diet can actually lower her child's allergy risk.
A few studies found that avoiding certain foods had no effect on babies' likelihood of developing allergies, while one study found that moms who avoided certain allergens did lower their child's chances of eczema. Yet another study found that a limited diet actually increased the incidence of allergies among babies who were breastfed.
Because of this uncertainty, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend that you restrict your diet while breastfeeding. However, if your child has already developed a food allergy (for example, a milk allergy), allergen avoidance is necessary since your child's symptoms can be triggered by the proteins you pass through your breast milk.
Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: July 2010
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