Can a baby inherit your nut allergy?
She might have your eyes. He might have your nose. But can you also pass on your allergies to your baby? Nutritionist Sara Patience explains
If you are allergic to nuts, your child has a higher risk of allergy, although that’s not to say your baby definitely will be allergic. However, that alone is not the problem; you need to give consideration to how you would react if, in the future, your child ate nuts.
Current guidelines on allergy prevention
The latest official advice recommends that mothers eat nuts and peanuts when pregnant unless they are allergic. (Clearly, if you have a nut allergy, you can’t do that.)
The current guidelines also recommend the introduction of foods with a higher risk of causing allergy at six months of age, introducing them one at a time to observe for any reaction and, if no reaction is observed, to maintain them as part of their children’s diet.
For children, foods which have a higher risk of causing allergy are eggs, milk, soya, wheat and peanuts (NHS 2016), though this is not an exhaustive list.
Life with baby and your nut allergy
The difficulty, if you are allergic to nuts, is that you can’t eat them during pregnancy and you may not even be able to handle them or have them in your home. In this case it becomes difficult to incorporate them into, and then maintain them as part of, your baby’s diet.
Unfortunately, I have known mothers who react so strongly to any trace of nuts that their child can’t eat them at all, even when out of the house, due to the traces on their clothes and skin transferring to mum when the child returns home. It’s a very difficult situation and one you need to risk-assess for your own safety as well as your child’s. It’s something you may wish to discuss with your GP, or you may need a referral to an allergist so you know for sure if you child is or isn’t allergic.
But in the meantime, look on the positives. When the time comes for weaning your baby (when they are six months old), there are lots of wonderful foods you can give them to start their journey in life as a happy, healthy food lover.
To get you started, check out our top tips for weaning.