New research suggests mothers can lower their child’s risk of peanut allergy by eating peanuts during pregnancy and breastfeeding. This is big news since peanut allergy is increasingly common in the US, it effects 1-2% of the population here. And if it seems like more people are suffering from peanut allergy, it’s true. The prevalence of peanut allergy has tripled from .4% in 1994 to 1.4% in 2010 and 2.5% in 2017. Approximately 20% outgrow their allergies after adolescence.
As healthcare providers we strive to provide the same care to all of our patients and see good health outcomes across the lifespan, income level and educational status. Mostly, we have been successful – more mothers are insured, home visiting programs have shown promising results and more infants getting their vaccines on time. But as many health disparities are shrinking, one is growing. African American mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health.
Throughout history, women have used breastfeeding as a natural contraceptive. Researchers have found evidence of Egyptian, Native Alaskan and early European populations recognizing the connection between breastfeeding and family planning. This method of birth control is known as the Lactational Amenorrhea Method or LAM.
The health benefits of breastfeeding your baby are widely known. The World Health Organization and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life. The immunity boost provided by mother’s milk leads to lower health care costs, fewer parental absences and less antibiotic use.
By Karen Williamson, CLEC, Special Milkies Contributor