But I Love Peanut Butter!

by Janice

We are so blessed that neither my son, nor my niece Julia, have any food allergies. Having your child suffer with allergies – especially life threatening allergies – must be such a nightmare! To all of you living through this challenge, my heart goes out to you. (One of our good friends’ little boys has severe tree nut allergies and it is so terrifying! And I have read of many of my blogging friends like Janeen whose children have allergies, and it is not an easy road!)

I was so nervous that my son might be born with allergies, that I avoided peanuts and peanut butter while I was pregnant and nursing. I did the same during my last pregnancy.

But this time, I have been craving peanut butter sooooo badly that I have gone peanut butter crazy! I am eating peanut butter and jam toast every day!!! I can’t seem to stop. For some reason, even when I am feeling so nauseated, peanut butter toast goes done. I don’t know what to do! I can’t stop!!!

According to the experts, you can read articles here, here, and here, there is reason to believe that avoiding nuts during pregnancy might help protect our children, but the studies are inconclusive. And although I am probably pretty safe to eat peanuts during pregnancy, (we aren’t at high risk for food allergies since the only allergies in our family are hay fever and animal allergies,) I think I should stop anyway.

I just can’t believe how much I am craving it – who could imagine being addicted to peanut butter?!? But I just have to remember that if my child gets a nut allergy – bye bye nuts forever!

So what about you? Did you eat nuts while pregnant and nursing? As I said, the studies are pretty inconclusive, but I just have a gut feeling that I should stop. What do you think?



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Janice is co-founder of 5 Minutes For Mom. She's been working online since 2003 and is thankful her days are full of social media, writing and photography. You can see more of her photos at janicecrozephotography.com.

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

1 stephanie March 21, 2007 at 9:50 pm

I’m on pregnancy #3 and I have craved peanut butter during all three … especially during the first trimester. Sometimes that is/was the ONLY thing that would head off nausea so I went with it. I ate it and so far the first one (3) has no allergies to it, the 2nd one (1) hasn’t had it yet … we’ll wait till she’s at least two. I guess it’s just one of those things that I didn’t worry terribly about. I had horrendous milk allergies as a child and there is never a discussion about not drinking milk (now) in case my child might develop that allergy. Just my 2 cents! :)

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2 Karla~Looking Towards Heaven March 21, 2007 at 10:01 pm

oh my goodness Janice, I ate whatever I wanted…

In fact, I just ate a bunch of peanut butter. I did with my first three pregnancies and am with this one…

I ate spicy stuff… anything but raw eggs and undercooked meat.

And we have no food allergies and my kids are all really good eaters.

Blessings,
Karla

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3 bee March 21, 2007 at 10:34 pm

I cannot really help b/c I don’t like peanut butter (never have) so I certainly didn’t eat it while I was pregnant.

However, my mom, when she was pregnant with me got really, really sick off of some peanut butter (my sister, who was 4 at the time insisted that Mama buy Cracker Jack pb rather than the usual Jif)… as a result (or so she says), I never liked it.

But I do like Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch… is that wierd?!

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4 melody March 21, 2007 at 10:42 pm

Janice, my vote is to eat your peanut butter.

My 12 yo son is allergic to peanuts (he was adopted so I don’t know about the biology of this), not the life threatening allergic reaction. But it does cause him congestion, coughing, eczema and it affects his behavior. We only discovered this last year. Thank you Dr. Allergist. This is a child with limited foods he will eat…he was living on peanut butter…oh dear, what a traumatic experience that was. It was like a junkie coming off of drugs. But he has broadened his food horizons since “the change”. He drools as we walk by peanut butter in the grocery store.

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5 Jenn March 21, 2007 at 11:51 pm

EAT whatever!!!

Girl, I think if your body is craving it, there’s a reason – come on you and I both know that you have to trust your body, trust your mind and trust yourself as a parent – well sweety your a parent one of your babies just happens to be in your tummy!

Trust your body to tell you want it needs, and if it’s craving peanut butter – eat it! Heck when I was preggo I ate peanut butter with chicken – now if you want to get into cravings that one’s just GROSS!!! :D

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6 katherine March 22, 2007 at 12:02 am

Janice – nuts are such a constant part of my diet, that I COULD NOT have cut them out of my diet while pregnant (or now that I’m nursing!). I used to work in a school that was nut-free, so I know the fear that nut allergies can cause. I also am from a family with lots of allergies, but thankfully – no food allergies. I’ve read lot of the research, too — but I have to admit that I’m from the school of thought that a predisposition to an allergy is something that you either have or don’t. I think it is a genetic thing. Pre-natal or nursing exposure isn’t going to make it more likely to happen or not happen. I did wait until my son was a year old before I let him eat peanut butter – - and everything seems to be fine. But, having said all that — I also think it’s important to follow your “mommy instincts”. :) But, really, if it is the only thing you can keep down — sounds like it is serving a very useful purpose in your life right now! :)

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7 Kara March 22, 2007 at 12:23 am

I ate peanut butter and jam sandwiches practically every day with my pregnancies and so far neither of my boys has any allergies :) I think it’s more of a genetic predisposition that causes them. But my friends toddler has a bad peanut allergy and I have to be careful when I’m watching her to not let anything with peanuts in her reach, she got hold of a reeses pb cup one day at my house and had to be rushed to the hospital. :( Very scary!

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8 Trista March 22, 2007 at 12:30 am

I ate PB & J’s almost everyday of both pregnancies. It was my craving…and neither of mine are allergic so I’m sure one every so often would be fine :D

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9 Sweet Mummy March 22, 2007 at 12:32 am

I was advised during my first pregnancy to have some protein first thing in the morning to help combat morning sickness. So, I had peanut butter on toast nearly every morning. When my little girl was about 20 months old she had a sever reaction to a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Testing showed that she was indeed VERY allergic to peanuts (not tree nuts, though). No one in our family has ever had any food allergies, though hay fever and asthma are both common. She’s nearly 8 and hasn’t grown out of it. She can’t even smell peanut anything or touch peanuts or peanut oil. Pretty serious.

But with my 2nd pregnancy, I still ate a lot of peanut butter (probably not quite as much since I was not working outside the home and didn’t have to combat the stress induced morning-sickness). And my son is not allergic to anything… And our youngest (also a boy) isn’t allergic to anything either.

So, I don’t know about genetics, or about how much peanut butter you eat during pregnancy and nursing. (I have seen the articles that suggest a link…). It may have more to do with their general constitution – my boys are both VERY healthy in general whereas my daughter is more prone to mold and grass/weed allergies, cat/dog allergies, etc.

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10 Janice March 22, 2007 at 1:10 am

so interesting to hear all your stories and perspectives! thanks for sharing – I totally appreciate hearing your opinions!
it sure is funny how the protein in PB helps with the sickness isn’t it?
Sweet Mommy – so interesting how some siblings can be allergic and others ok. The same is with my friend’s boys. The twins are fine with PB, but the youngest boy has terrible food allergies and eczema.

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11 Lindsay March 22, 2007 at 1:24 am

With my last pregnancy I ate peanut butter toast every night before bed for several weeks. My midwife recommended eating lots of protein, and I think the peanut butter helped reduce my nausea. None of our children have nut allergies.

Lindsay :-)

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12 Frog Princess March 22, 2007 at 8:05 am

A few things. I have many food allergies. Growing up I could not eat ANY fresh fruits or veggies. My throat would swell and I would itch wherever it touched. I am on my third pregnancy-yes I just found out last night! But we are not telling anyone family or church or anyone else that would poo poo our being pregnant! That would be anyone. Our first two were 14 months apart and the next two will be 161/2 months apart! Anyway that being said My doc has always told me if you are craving something healthy go with it because more than likely you are in need of the nutrients it has. So in your case it would most likely be Protein which is what they say will help morning sickness (that’s why you feel so much relief). Also most docs tell you that your immunity is what builds up your baby’s immunity. So if neither you or your husband have food allergies that I would suggest that you not worry about it.

A funny aside. I had slight nut allergies when I was a child so we were really careful with tornado. Well one day I was making myself a sandwich with peanut butter and apple butter and I ran back from getting the phone and I couldn’t find the lid. He had pulled it off the counter and was licking it off under the kitchen table! Boy did I do some hard praying! Needless to say no matter what you do, things can always happen that you just have to roll with the punches. I hope that helps!

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13 Gina March 22, 2007 at 8:44 am

Due to some health problems during my second pregnancy, peanuts were a quick protein source for me. I ate a handful at least once a day. My daughter is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts.

I can’t even tell you how guilty I feel about this. I didn’t know about the recommendations to not eat nuts during pregnancy. No one in our family has food allergies so even if I had known, I doubt I would have given it much though.

Go with your gut. On the day the baby is born, ask your husband to bring you the biggest jar of Jif he can find at the store.

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14 ChupieandJsmama March 22, 2007 at 9:03 am

I ate peanut butter (a lot of it) with both pregnancies and while breast feeding both boys. One has food allergies and the other doesn’t. Like you said the studies are inconclusive. My son is allergic to wheat, rye, barley, egg, milk, and peanuts. I don’t think the peanut butter caused ALL of that. I think he was predisposed to it somehow, but nobody really knows. I can beat myself up over what I ate, or my genetics (or hubby’s), but in the end he has them and we deal with them. Go with your gut and do what you feel is right. Mom knows best.

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15 Adventures In Babywearing March 22, 2007 at 9:26 am

I did eat peanut butter- not a lot of it that I can remember, but Gray is allergic to tree nuts, DAIRY, & EGG!

We have no idea how this came about! But, by changing my diet and his, I am still able to nurse him we get along just great! (And I love crunchy almond butter- he can have that!) These days there are so many more dietary options and choices at the grocery store if you have a kid with allergies that you can get around having to prescribe medication. So far we’ve got along great. I have been asked to post about Gray’s allergies before… I need to get around to it.

Also, it is common for these allergiest to be outgrown. Carter, my middle son, was allergic to peanuts as a toddler and is no longer allergic. He eats raw peanuts & peanut butter with no problems now!

Go with your gut & “all things in moderation!!!”

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16 Twisted Cinderella March 22, 2007 at 9:26 am

I ate whatever when I was pregnant, but I don’t know if I ate peanut butter. I do know that my sister in-law had a lot of morning sickness when she was pg and so she ate a lot of eggs and a lot of peanut butter and her son is now allergic to both eggs and nuts. He is also lactose intollerant but I don’t know anything about her milk consumption when pg. He is the only member of their family and their extended family who has any food allergies.

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17 Adventures In Babywearing March 22, 2007 at 9:28 am

P.S. I can’t help but point out that research needs to be done regarding vaccines and allergies as well. Did you know some vaccines have PEANUT OIL in them? And EGG? And other things that can cause/irritate allergies? Worth looking into is all I am saying!

Steph

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18 amydeanne March 22, 2007 at 9:31 am

lots of interesting comments! For me it’s peppermint tea that makes me feel okay.. everything else is making me nauseaous… I’d eat the pb.. sounds like a protien issue (probably a boy hehe).. with both of my girls I couldn’t get enough sugar and with my boys I craved lots of protien!
I think AinB said when she said all things in moderation! :)
Hugs and prayers!

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19 Pattie March 22, 2007 at 10:15 am

PB was comfort food for me.

However, I will put in a plug for a North Dakota business and product. http://www.sunbutter.com, Sunflower seed butter. It is REALLY tasty and nutty flavored, and absolutely no peanuts at all.

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20 Anna March 22, 2007 at 10:58 am

I adore peanut butter. I eat it all the time whether pregnant or not. I did eat way more during my pregancy too, but I eat it almost everyday. My daughter came out loving it just as much as I do. I didn’t feed any to her until she was 1 years old, but she did get it while nursing. :)

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21 Striving March 22, 2007 at 11:16 am

I ate peanut butter with all 3 of my girls. As far as I know there are not Peanut allergies in my family history, so maybe that is why it is safe. And my girls really like peanut butter and just plain nuts. But not Almonds, or any of those other fancy nuts. I think it will be okay. I have heard your suppose to stay away from hotdogs when you are preggo.

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22 Michelle March 22, 2007 at 11:38 am

I have pollen allergies year round and the only food allergy I have is raw carrots. But as far as peanut butter I ate it with all of my 6 children and the one I am carring now. I know that the midwife and books I have read have said that peanuts are a good food to have with you in your purse as a snack loaded with protein. I have never heard you shouldn’t eat them during pregnancy or nursing. With my oldest I always had peanuts with me to snack on. The protein helped with the nausua and when I needed a quick pick me up and could eat anything else.

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23 T with Honey March 22, 2007 at 11:50 am

I ate all sorts of nuts, peanut butter and trail mix while pregnant and breastfeeding and so far Princess doesn’t have any allergies. As someone else pointed out, it seems that you are craving protein. If you are really concerned about the nut thing maybe you could find something else to eat. Many times if I wanted the PB but we were out I could get by with some hummus on wheat crackers. Any chance some yogurt, hummus or tofu is slightly appealing?? Or a big ole hunk of meat?

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24 Homemom3 March 22, 2007 at 12:01 pm

I just finished pregnancy #4 and craved meat. Meat is one thing I just about hate, some meat I can stand but it has to be burned as my husband says. This time around it was okay pink, which is highly unusual for me, now with my 2nd pregnancy I ate peanut butter toast as well. I had a very bad time with that pregnancy but that and those peanut butter crackers were one thing I can keep down.

My son is actually allergic to turkey. Try having thanksgiving after finding that out.

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25 sugar ave March 22, 2007 at 12:05 pm

I ate peanut butter when I was pregnant with my first son and he ended up having soy, milk, egg & peanut allergies. He has outgrown soy and I am hopeful that he will outgrow the others as well. I had egg allergies as a child so I had a gut feeling that James would have them. I even remember thinking, when I was pregnant with him, “I shouldn’t be eating this.” Hindsight, right? The studies are inconclusive, though. Our allergist said it wouldn’t hurt for me to avoid peanuts while pregnant with #2 but he couldn’t guarantee no allergies. Little Ruby was born allergy free, though, by the grace of God. :)

That’s our story. Congratulations, too!

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26 Frog Princess March 22, 2007 at 12:09 pm

Have you asked your doctor what He/she thinks on the subject? I am sure that’s just their own opinion as well. It’s kinda like some other problems. You never are exactly sure what causes them!

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27 Diane J. March 22, 2007 at 12:37 pm

Janice, you may not know it, but peanuts aren’t true nuts. They’re legumes, like all beans and peas.

So if you have no problem with pinto beans, black beans, green beans, blackeyed peas, etc. peanuts are probably fine.

There’s no way to predict what might be fine for you to eat, but make the kiddos sick.

Added to all the other angst about allergies, you can eat something all your life and suddenly for no obvious reason develop a food allergy. Weird, but true.

Hope this calms your fears a little.

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28 Kristen March 22, 2007 at 2:49 pm

Peanut butter was my main source of protein when I was pregnant….with both girls. I am not a big meat eater (not vegetarian, but just don’t care for meat much), so I did and always have been a big peanut butter eater. Both of my girls are fine….no food allergies that we know of yet and they take after their mama big time. They LOVE peanut butter. One of my girls might not get any protein were it not for the stuff.

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29 Faerylandmom March 22, 2007 at 4:17 pm

Are you kidding me? Peanuts and peanut butter are so good for you, it makes no sense to stop eating it! I promise, the benefits FAR outweigh the risk! So, if you’re craving it, eat it. However, I also believe that if you have a true doubt (not just a worry caused by reading too much — one of my fallabilities, lol), you should go with it. That said…

I’m a PB craver myself, and asked my midwife about this during my 2nd pregnancy. My first was mildly allergic to peanuts, eggs, and citrus until he turned 3, so I was nervous too. However, my midwife told me the same thing I just told you: The benefits of eating a super-food like peanuts FAR outweighs the risk of allergies.

But, if you really feel like you want to stop, remember that cravings are your body’s way of telling you something. Yours may be telling you that you need more protein or fat or salt than you’re getting. So, maybe eat more white meat chicken, or get almond butter, which is less allergenic than peanuts, and almost as good. Find some substitutions online, and try them out. It may help.

Either way, I think you can eat PB guilt-free. :)

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30 Connie March 22, 2007 at 4:18 pm

I myself am not a peanut butter eater, but wrap it in some chocolate (Reece’s cups) and I can do some damage. I hardly ever ate peanuts or PB during my pregancy and my daughter is on of those “highly allergic” kids. Babies that are nursed aren’t supposed to get ear infections either, but she kept one until she had tubes 10 days after her first birthday. She was also allergic to eggs until around age 4. (maybe that led to the ear infections?) That was outgrown. A wonderful information source is “The Food Allergy Network”. http://www.foodallergy.org They have recipes and substitutions etc. Like how to make a birthday cake with no eggs.
“So if you have no problem with pinto beans, black beans, green beans, blackeyed peas, etc. peanuts are probably fine. ” Not sure I agree with this, my daughter is allergic to peanuts but can eat beans just fine. I’m not sure what the “thing” is about peanuts that makes them so bad. Our Dr. has told us this is an allergy that will probably never be outgrown. In fact he told us her next exposure would probably cause a worse reaction than the first one did. I will say the smelling does not bother her as much as it used to. Thank goodness, so she can sit with her friends at school. Although, she will choose to sit at the “peanut free” table when she needs alone time. Go figure.

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31 Jennifer March 22, 2007 at 11:23 pm

I craved peanut butter like mad when I was pregnant with No. 2. In fact, for the first four months I was pregnant, I would come home every night and eat two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner!

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32 Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) March 23, 2007 at 1:38 am

Wow – this was all so helpful! Thanks!

I tried to stop the PB – it lasted about a day or less. My nausea has been so bad – and although I eat other forms of protein, the peanut butter and jam toast with a glass of milk goes down the easiest and makes me less nauseated after.

I thought my nausea was improving – I am starting my twelfth week this weekend – but the last couple of days have been brutal. sooooo sick. I don’t throw up – I am on a high dose of diclectin still – but I feel just miserable!

I will try to slow down on the PB in the next trimester when I am feeling better. But for the next couple of weeks, I think I need it!

Thanks so much for all your advice!!! :)

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33 christieo March 23, 2007 at 8:30 am

I ate PB&J the whole time. It was actually the easiest thing to make all the time because I was hungry all the time. So I had a loaf of bread at my desk at work, along with my jars of peanut butter and jelly, and I’d just sit there in front of my computer making sandwiches every two hours or so, offering them up to my co-workers, as they walked by. This was throughout my whole pregnancy. But it was yummy and it staved off my hunger, and Poops has not a single allergy whatsoever. Knock on wood.

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34 Diane March 23, 2007 at 8:54 am

This very well may be a coincedence…but my SIL craved and ate peanut butter all the time during her first pregnancy. Her son is severely allergic to peanuts. When I was prego with my first I used to eat peanut butter crackers as a mid morning snack..my son is fine but does have other allergies. I avoided all pB after finding my nephew was severely allergic to peanuts and nothing bothers her at all. Again, this may all be coincedences…Oh, and you know, I did eat TONS Of pizza and milk and my son had a bad reaction to dairy as an infant. ( i was breastfeeding)…I say everything in moderation.

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35 Louise Donnelly-Davey March 24, 2007 at 3:45 am

Hi
My son suffered allergies to Dairy, Egg, Nuts, Wheat, Soy and a whole raft of other intolerances.
Just thought I would add that unfortunately, a child inherits the tendancy to be allergic, and not the allergy itself. So, as parents we may pass on an allergenic trait – no way to tell to what.

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36 Louise Donnelly-Davey March 24, 2007 at 3:52 am

Oh, also, hes allergy free now… we introduced flax seed oil into his bottles (of Goat milk) … and his chronic eczema cleared then allergies subsided. If that is any hlep to others in similar situations.
FSO contains high levels of Omegas… which “allergic kids” are thought to be deficient in.
Must admit I too ate my share of PB while preg w number 3.

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37 carla August 15, 2007 at 5:15 pm

Dear janice, I dont mean to scare you but I need to tell you that I craved peanut butter during my last pregancy…ate it all the time I also exclusivley breast fed and ate peanut butter all the time. I have no allergies and my husband is allergic to dog. My son is now allergic to peanut butter among other foods he is 15 months and had exposure through pregnancy and breast milk. I didnt think it would happen to me. They say the last three months of prgnancy and breast feeding you should avoid peanut butter.

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38 carla August 15, 2007 at 5:20 pm

louise My son has allergies to milk wheat soy poultry eggs and nuts…how long did it take for your son to outgrow them. I’m ready to pull my hair out!!! Were his allergies severe?

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39 Louise Donnelly-Davey August 15, 2007 at 5:44 pm

Hi.. sorry for the late reply…
He is now almost 6 .. and had a wheat “challenge” around 4 1/2 … he was fine… and we then started to slowly introduce other foods… and he was also fine.. he will still show up as moderately allergic on a test to most of the foods… and we have since tried egg (omlette) and hes had a moderate/leadign to severe reaction with a small amt… so he can have egg in baking etc – but still not whole…. he is eczema free now too… I really do think it was the flax seed oil…. nothign else worked.. and his eczema was all over, bleeding, horrible! Good luck!

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