Peanuts are a great source of protein and many other important nutrients. However, most women are apprehensive about the safety of consuming peanuts when breastfeeding. If the mother has nut allergies, children may also develop the same in most cases. Also, while breastfeeding, a small part of the protein present in the peanuts may leak into the milk and cause allergies in the baby. Therefore, you must be cautious about eating them if you breastfeed your baby. Read the post to know more about having peanuts when nursing, their health benefits, and the associated risks.
Health Benefits of Peanuts During Breastfeeding
Peanuts, just like other nuts, can turn out to be a healthy source of protein, which is required by new mothers during and after pregnancy, particularly while breastfeeding. One of the best parts about choosing peanuts is that unlike other protein sources, they can be consumed raw.
Peanuts can also turn out to be great calorie dense snacks for new moms, and can help get the extra calories that are needed during breastfeeding. Is it ok to eat peanut butter while breastfeeding? Well, peanut butter could also provide the mother a good dose of healthy fats, energy, omega 3 fatty acid and proteins during this crucial stage (1).
Peanuts also come packed with many other health benefits including:
- A rich source of minerals including niacin.
- They are a good source of energy.
- Healthy source of protein and unsaturated fats.
- Packed with fiber that improves digestive and heart health.
- Balances blood sugar levels.
- Contains vitamin E to maintain cell health and boost immunity.
- Low in cholesterol.
- Rich source of folate which helps prevent developmental disorders in children.
Risks of Consumption of Peanuts During Breastfeeding
While peanuts do come with many health benefits to offer, they may turn out to be risky if consumed while breastfeeding, particularly among mothers who suffer from nut allergies. Peanuts contain a particular protein that is capable of getting transmitted through breast milk– if your baby is allergic to peanuts, he may be severely affected.
Just a small amount of peanut in the diet could adversely affect your baby, and he may develop allergic reactions which could turn out to be potentially deadly.
In contrast, a study published in ‘The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology’ in 2018 revealed how the consumption of peanuts while breastfeeding (among women who do not have a family history of the allergy) could actually reduce the risk of peanut allergies in children (2).
Is it Safe to Consume Peanuts While Breastfeeding?
It is best to avoid consuming peanuts or any products containing traces of this nut if you or someone from your family is affected by nut allergies.
- According to a few studies, women with no history of allergies may not need to avoid peanuts during pregnancy and breastfeeding to prevent allergy prevention. However, more research is needed to support this theory at this time (3).
- However, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association also states that when consumed peanuts by lactating mothers, infants may be at risk of sensitization reactions (4).
- Nevertheless, if you do consume peanuts during pregnancy, check if your baby seems to be cranky or develops certain symptoms such as rashes or itchiness of the skin or diarrhea and nasal congestion– if he does rush him to the doctor immediately and make sure you do not consume peanuts for as long as you are breastfeeding.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does eating peanuts increase milk supply in a breastfeeding mother?
A breastfeeding mother does not need to eat a specific food to increase her milk supply. Her body produces milk based on the amount removed from the breast. So, if she is feeding her baby according to their requirement, her body will produce enough milk unless there is a physical or physiological issue (5).
However, it is essential to nourish your body properly while breastfeeding. So eating a well-balanced diet that provides 450-500 extra calories daily is sufficient to stay energetic (6).
2. Does eating peanuts when breastfeeding cause gas in babies?
Most mothers eat different food without their babies being affected, while some find that their babies become gassy if they eat specific foods. So, if you notice that your baby is fussy, gassy, or colicky after eating peanuts, it is best to avoid it in your diet for a period (7).
3. How long do peanuts stay in breastmilk?
Peanut protein gets transferred to the breastmilk within ten minutes of consumption of one ounce of peanuts. This amount peaks after one hour and can be detected over 24 hours (8).
Given the mixed suggestions and opinions surrounding the consumption of peanuts while breastfeeding, it is advisable not to consume them without your doctor’s consent. Although peanuts are a good option for healthy snacks, they may induce adverse reactions. On the other hand, it is also likely that early exposure to common allergens such as peanuts while breastfeeding can prevent future allergies. Nevertheless, the safest option would be to consult a doctor and monitor your baby for any unusual behavior post peanuts consumption.
- Peanut butter.
- Tracy J. Pitt et al. (2018); Reduced risk of peanut sensitization following exposure through breast-feeding and early peanut introduction.
- Elissa M. Abrams and Scott H. Sicherer; (2018); Maternal peanut consumption and risk of peanut allergy in childhood
- Peter Vadas at al. (2001); Detection of Peanut Allergens in Breast Milk of Lactating Women
- Breastfeeding and a Mother’s Diet: Myths and Facts.
- Breastfeeding FAQs: Your Eating and Drinking Habits.
- Foods – for Nursing Parents.
- Peanut Allergy.