smiley peanut butter sandwiches smiley peanut butter sandwiches If you thought eating peanuts while breastfeeding would prevent your child from allergies, wouldn't you do it? (Photo: Marie C Fields/Shutterstock)

There's a new way to keep your child from developing a peanut allergy

Research suggests kids with moms who eat peanuts while breastfeeding are less likely to develop allergies when they're older.

When it comes to peanut allergies, there's a growing body of knowledge that points to early exposure as a highly successful prevention method.

And now, the evidence mounts, with a new study from researchers in Canada that suggests children whose mothers eat peanuts or peanut-based foods while breastfeeding are less likely to develop the allergy themselves.

The study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, found that children born to mothers who had eaten peanuts while breastfeeding, and who had also been given peanut products directly during their first year of life, had a peanut allergy rate of just 1.7 percent compared to the national (Canadian) average of 9.4 percent.

oeanuts Luckily, peanuts happen to be one of the funnest foods. (Photo: AS Food studio / Shutterstock)

That's significant considering that in Canada, about 2 in 100 children suffer from peanut allergies.

"We found that introduction of peanut before 12 months of age was associated with a reduced risk of peanut sensitization by school age, particularly among children whose mothers consumed peanuts while breastfeeding," Dr. Tracy Pitt, lead author of the study and a physician at Humber River Hospital in Ontario, told the U.K. Telegraph. “These results add to emerging evidence that early peanut consumption during infancy can reduce the risk of peanut sensitization later in childhood, and suggest this risk could be further reduced in breastfed infants by encouraging maternal consumption of peanuts during lactation."

Baby sleeping on mother's breast. Moms, get your peanuts ready. (Photo: Luca Elvira / Shutterstock)

Children in North America and, increasingly, Europe are showing higher-than-ever peanut allergy rates. The medical world recently started recommending feeding kids peanuts early to stop them from developing peanut allergies. That conclusion was reached after years of observing children in Israel, where peanut allergy is rare.

The reason for that low incidence is not totally clear, but it may have something to do with the prevalence of a snack called Bamba, which are little peanut-flavored corn puffs enjoyed by Israeli children (and busy breastfeeding mothers, apparently).

Bamba is a peanut puff snack made by the Osem company in Israel. Bamba is a peanut puff snack made by the Osem company. (Photo: David Orcea / Shutterstock)

In January, the U.S.-based National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases changed its guidelines to recommend early exposure to peanuts. Other countries, like Israel, already had those recommendations in place.

Living with peanut allergy requires constant vigilance," said Anthony S. Fauci, director of the U.S.-based Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "Preventing the development of peanut allergy will improve and save lives and lower health care costs."

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