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Should a Mother Avoid Breastfeeding if she has a Peanut Allergy?

It never fails to annoy me how much misinformation is still circulating regarding breastfeeding.

Just yesterday my mother was chatting to a childhood friend who told her that her daughter, who has a severe peanut allergy, had recently given birth.

This young mum wanted to breastfeed.

Her GP's words of wisdom? Don't breastfeed because breastfeeding can make peanut allergies worse! ARRRRGH...

Now you would think that before offering such blatant "advice" the GP would have checked he had got his facts right.

Before I go off on one, let me make it very clear that I am not out to slag off all GP's. I have the utmost respect for GP's and fortunately my own has always given me wonderful breastfeeding advice.

I am also acutely aware that GP's have extremely demanding jobs and can't possibly be expected to know everything about everything.

But surely the fact that breastfeeding is being so widely promoted at the moment should have made him question himself. By telling this mother not to breastfeed he has quite possibly condemned the baby in question to the very same allergy that has blighted her mother's life.

If the doctor in question had known even the basics about breastfeeding he would have advised the mum to avoid the foods to which she was allergic or sensitive, especially before a breastfeed. (Some schools of thought further suggest that mother's with a family history of allergies should also avoid other common allergens.) And he would have been able to reassure her that breastfeeding may actually help to protect her baby from developing the same nut allergy - or at the very least have lessened the severity of any allergies the baby may have inherited.

I am not a GP but I am a breastfeeding mother who has read and researched a lot of freely available breastfeeding information.

Since this particular GP obviously didn't know the answer to the mum's query about whether or not to breastfeed, couldn't he instead have referred her to a breastfeeding support group, counsellor or advice line where her question could have been answered correctly?

That way everyone would have been much wiser and happier - and the baby much healthier.

Plus the damaging rumour he instigated (and which is now rapidly circulating around this young mum's friends, family and community) would never have started in the first place...

For more information on food allergies, Dr Sear's has a great article here .

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