There is a theory that if a breastfeeding mom eats eggs during the first few days after childbirth, traces of the protein will enter her breastmilk and desensitize her infant, resulting in less risk of developing egg allergy later in life.
Unfortunately, a recent study published in JAMA Network Open disproves that theory.
Researchers from Jikei University School of Medicine in Tokyo conducted a clinical trial across ten medical facilities in Japan from December 2017 through May 2021, looking to see whether maternal egg consumption during the first five days of life would affect the likelihood of the infant developing egg allergy.
380 Newborns with at least one parent with food allergies were randomized evenly into two cohorts, one in which their mothers consumed one whole egg per day, and the other wherein the mothers eliminated eggs from their diet for the same period. Infants that were unable to consume breastmilk after the age of two days and those with mothers with egg allergies were excluded.
They then looked at whether the children developed egg allergy at 12 months by testing for sensitization to egg white or ovomucoid plus a positive oral food challenge or an episode of obvious immediate symptoms after egg ingestion.
The researchers determined there was no statistically relevant difference between the two cohorts developing egg allergy (9.3% in egg consumption cohort vi 7.6%) or sensitization to egg white (62.8% in egg consumption cohort vs 58.7%).
Their conclusion: egg allergy and sensitization to eggs were unaffected by early egg consumption by breastfeeding mothers during the early neonatal period.