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I love peanut butter. But am I meant to avoid it?

(32 Posts)
neuroticlady Tue 04-Sep-07 00:45:33

I could just eat a big buttery slab of peanut butter on toast. But I've heard you should avoid peanuts in pregnancy to avoid your child getting nut allergies. So I haven't touched them, or my beloved peanut butter. Is this right or have I made this up? Could I go and tuck in guilt-free...?

KerryMum Tue 04-Sep-07 00:49:42

You will get varying opinions on this even from doctors. Some people say only if there is a history of allergic conditions in the family (any allergic condition, not just peanut allergy) others say avoid avoid avoid.

I would be one of the latter. I didn't avoid with ds1. He has a life-threatening allergy to peanuts which he will more than likely never outgrow (he has asthma as well as many other food allergie).

I strictly avoided peanuts with ds2. He DOESN'T have a peanut allergy.

My attitude is: Why risk it? If you can avoid giving your child an allergy that could kill them just by not sensitizing them to peanuts then why take the risk?

PurlyQueen Tue 04-Sep-07 00:54:44

Other nuts seem to be safe.

Why not try cashew or hazlenut butter which are just as yummy. I get mine from my local health food shop, but I'm sure the big supermarkets do them in their health food aisle.

neuroticlady Tue 04-Sep-07 00:56:31

Thanks KerryMum, that's all I needed to hear to make me realise it isn't worth it. So sorry ds1 has terrible peanut allergy. Definitely no peanut butter for me. Other nuts are ok, though, aren't they (worried now)?

neuroticlady Tue 04-Sep-07 00:57:48

Whoops you already answered my question PurlyQueen - didn't see your post till after I'd replied. Cashew/Hazlenut spread is a great idea, thanks.

KerryMum Tue 04-Sep-07 01:06:03

Oh and that would go for breastfeeding as well if you intend to bf. I think ds1 got sensitized mostly through all the Cornettos I had after I gave birth (the ones with peanuts on top)

skerriesmum Tue 04-Sep-07 02:17:38

If you really crave the taste, try to get SoyNut butter, it's nearly as yummy as the real peanut kind!

Califrau Tue 04-Sep-07 02:45:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

arfishy Tue 04-Sep-07 03:16:37

Have you tried free-nut butter? It tastes gorgeous and is good for you (it's made from sunflower seeds). It's pretty hard to tell the difference. I use it instead of peanut butter for DD.

We both had loads of it for breakfast yesterday.

Free-Nut Butter

mymama Tue 04-Sep-07 03:27:36

I would avoid it during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

I have no history of allergies, asthma or eczema in my family.

I ate peanut butter all through my three pregnancies and whilst breastfeeding.

My ds2 is allergic to peanuts. It appears the proteins were passed on during pregnancy/breastfeeding. This might be a lifelong allergy for him.

neuroticlady Tue 04-Sep-07 03:31:20

Yum to free-nut butter arfishy, thanks for link, and soynut butter skerriesmum - am off to health food shop to see what they have smile. Esp after reading califrau and kerrymum's replies that you have to include bf time as well, eek. This greedy woman definitely needs to find a peanut butter substitute.

nangnangnang Tue 04-Sep-07 10:23:20

I'm not aware there's any scientific evidence that eating peanuts while pregnant or breastfeeding increases likelihood of allergy, though traces of peanut proteins do seem to enter milk. My understanding (warning: arts graduate attempting to talk science so take with pinch of salt) is that the biggest risk factors are excema in the child (esp where it's severe ie crusted), exposure to soy formula and exposure to peanut extract in skin products.

I say this as a peanut butter lover and breastfeeder so it may be that I sought out the research that gave me comfort but it did seem to be respectable and comprehensive.

TheHun Tue 04-Sep-07 10:34:17

i would avoid it, i ate peanut butter when pg and bf with dd, she has allergy now. Have avoided it with ds, don't know if he has it yet, only 14mths but pg with no 3 so haven't had peanut butter for ages and will be looking at the alternatives mentioned on this thread. love peanuts me.

flowerybeanbag Tue 04-Sep-07 10:37:03

I ate peanut butter thoughout, as I was advised only to be concerned if there is a history of allergies in the family.
I was also told that thinking is changing around these things and that with lots of things, exposure early rather than paranoid avoiding everything may actually help prevent allergies rather than the other way around, and that allergies and similar have increased since people started avoiding all these things in pg and for children early in life.
Of course if you are remotely concerned, better to err on the side of safety though, but I thought the second bit of info was interesting. No idea how true it is.

FrannyandZooey Tue 04-Sep-07 10:37:29

I avoided it until ds was quite old as I was still bf

I have friends whose children have this allergy and it simply was not worth the risk for me

claraq Tue 04-Sep-07 10:37:31

Peanuts are the one thing I have found hard to give up - much harder than alcohol or coffee! I seem to be craving them constantly and in the last few weeks have had some peanut butter, those Japanese rice peanut things (totally delicious), Crunchy nut Cornflakes and just plain peanuts. What is wrong with me, I am eating more than I usually would when not pregnant. Do you think it is because they are forbidden? Oh hell!!

Peachy Tue 04-Sep-07 10:43:21

But I thought latest research showed that eating some uts actually prevented somewhat against allergy? In fact I KNOW I read that! This is one of the great unknowns in fact- nobody actually knows for sure whether eating nuts increases the chances of a reaction or diminsishes it. My personal feeling for myself is to eat them in small amount (maybe 2 or 3 as art of a snack with raisins etc), however I think it is very much up to you to research and decide in all truth.

nangnangnang Tue 04-Sep-07 10:45:22

FloweryB - I read the same thing (that more recently thinking suggests early exposure may help to protect children). Sadly I can't remember where. It would seem to me to make sense, given the near-absence of such allergies in countries where peanuts are routinely part of the diet.

But if I had a family history of allergies I don't think I'd have the courage of my convictions and would probably also err on the side of caution.

Clara - is it saltiness you're craving? Smoked almonds (in moderation - burn yr mouth after too many) may be a good substitute.

claraq Tue 04-Sep-07 10:49:03

Nangnang - I was being good and eating cashews but perhaps I have just been feeling a little rebellious? I am at that stage in pregnancy (27 weeks) when I seem to have been pregnant forever but still have such a loooong way to go. Naughtiness is maybe my way of dealing with this!
But will try and be good now. Smoked almonds sound nice.

KerryMum Tue 04-Sep-07 10:51:55

nan - I think there are other factors at play in countries where peanuts are prevalent part of diet. Allergic conditions as a whole spectrum are significantly more of a problem in western countries than in say Asia, Africa, etc.

I don't think it's quite that simplistic.

I do, however think that eating peanuts in western society is playing russian roulette because of the much higher rates of allergic conditions here.

Exposing your baby (born or unborn) to a food substance sensitizes them towards it in susceptible individuals. It's not like a vaccine, i.e. small amounts = prevention.

PippiLangstrump Tue 04-Sep-07 10:52:09

I have eaten them thorughout both pg and given to DD when she was 1ish. However there's no allergi whatsoever in the family.

berolina Tue 04-Sep-07 10:52:51

I haven't had peanut butter since mid-2004 <sob> due to being permanently pg and/or bf since then. Intend to bf this one (imminent) until self-weaning so several years' abstinence to go <resigned sigh>

peanut allergy can be very scary, so I am erring on side of caution.

phdlife Tue 04-Sep-07 10:55:19

I rang Anaphylaxis UK about this and they are very clear.

There is no firm evidence as to whether exposure or avoidance is better. There is a massive new study just started to find out, but it will take years!

IF you or dp are allergic, then there is a higher chance your dc's will be. BUT they could be allergic to any damn thing - eggs, wheat, strawberries, dust, etc., and allergies do 'cluster' (if someone has asthma they often have another allergy as well). People avoid peanuts just because it is the most well-known of the allergies, but at this stage experts are 50-50 on whether that is the right thing to do.

hth

nangnangnang Tue 04-Sep-07 10:58:25

KerryM - I'm sure you're right that it's extremely complex. We probably won't know exactly what causes it for years (though studies do seem to show no clear link between uterine/breastmilk exposure and later allergies). I mentioned my total lack of authority on anything scientific earlier in the thread and would hate anyone to think I knew what I was talking about!

RGPargy Tue 04-Sep-07 10:58:34

I ate them with DS1 and he has no allergy.

I have avoided them during this pg, but only because my GP told me too, although tbh, I have slipped in the odd slice of peanut butter on toast as i have heard that it's only if there's an allergy in the family and there's none in mine or DP's family. I would actually continue to eat them but DP is reluctant to let me just because "the doctor said so". hmm

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