Breastfeeding is a wonderful experience for both mother and baby, but it can also be a source of discomfort for some babies. While food allergies and sensitivities vary from baby to baby, there are certain foods that are more likely to cause a negative reaction. The most common culprits are cow's milk (dairy products), soy, gluten, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts, shellfish, and citrus fruits. Cow's milk is much harder for underdeveloped bodies to digest and can cause excessive gas or discomfort in babies.
When you drink milk, the proteins found in dairy, known as caseins, pass through the blood and into breast milk. Newborns and young babies cannot digest caseins, so they become irritating and gaseous. If your baby is a little older and still upset about dairy products, it could be due to an allergy. Try to eliminate all forms of processed dairy products and see if there is any difference.
Soy is another common allergen that babies react to. Many mothers equate irritability with their consumption of soy, so if you don't consume dairy and use alternatives to soy, you'll need to consider a different alternative. In addition to dairy products and soy, wheat and corn are known to cause allergic responses and have subsequently been found to be the source of irritability of a breastfed baby. If you think you may be sensitive to wheat or corn, or if you have a family history of allergies in any of these areas, you should consider eliminating them from your diet. This is more difficult than eliminating dairy products, as wheat, corn, and even soy are found in many different processed foods.
Be sure to read the labels and talk to your doctor about alternatives that are safe to breastfeed. Next, you will need to follow an elimination diet for a few weeks. Start by eliminating one of the main foods that cause irritation and irritability to dairy. Dairy is one of the most common foods that make babies irritable. Abstain from eating dairy products (or at least cow's milk) for at least 10 to 14 days.
Watch your baby to see if he is still upset or if he begins to calm down and symptoms go away. If your baby is still upset, move on to the next food mentioned above and repeat the process. You will need to keep cutting back on the most common foods that cause irritability until the baby's symptoms go away. When they do, skip to step three. Broccoli, onions, Brussels sprouts, green peppers, cauliflower, cabbage - these vegetables in the raw state can bother babies.
However, they are less likely to be offensive when cooked. Personal breastfeeding experiences validate what veteran breastfeeding mothers have known for a long time: carbonated foods produce babies with gas. For foodies, don't let fear of dietary restrictions discourage breastfeeding. If you suspect that your baby is sensitive to any of these foods in his diet, you may need to eliminate most, if not all, of the processed foods he eats. While these are the eight most common foods that tend to make breastfeeding babies irritated, there are still other foods that can cause discomfort. If your baby is showing signs of distress after eating certain foods or drinks, it's best to consult with your doctor or pediatrician for advice on how best to proceed.