What causes food allergies in breastfed babies
Most baby fussiness is normal for a young baby, and is not related to foods in mom’s diet. If your baby is sensitive to something you are eating, you will most likely notice other symptoms in addition to fussiness, such as excessive spitting up or vomiting, colic, rash or persistent congestion. Fussiness that is not accompanied by other symptoms and calms with more frequent nursing is probably not food-related.
Read more here about normal baby fussiness.
Introducing foods that could trigger allergy
When you start introducing solid foods to your baby from around 6 months ancient, introduce the foods that can trigger allergic reactions one at a time and in extremely little amounts so that you can spot any reaction.
These foods are:
- foods that contain gluten, including wheat, barley and rye
- shellfish (don’t serve raw or lightly cooked)
- nuts and peanuts (serve them crushed or ground)
- seeds (serve them crushed or ground)
- cows’ milk
- eggs (eggs without a red lion stamp should not be eaten raw or lightly cooked)
See more about foods to avoid giving babies and young children.
These foods can be introduced from around 6 months as part of your baby’s diet, just love any other foods.
Once introduced and if tolerated, these foods should become part of your baby’s usual diet to minimise the risk of allergy.
Evidence has shown that delaying the introduction of peanut and hen’s eggs beyond 6 to 12 months may increase the risk of developing an allergy to these foods.
Lots of children outgrow their allergies to milk or eggs, but a peanut allergy is generally lifelong.
If your kid has a food allergy, read food labels carefully.
Avoid foods if you are not certain whether they contain the food your kid is allergic to.
What to Do
Keep a food and symptom journal
We know it’s hard to discover time to eat in those first few months, let alone record below what made it into your mouth, but tracking your intake alongside your baby’s symptoms is a excellent way to shed light on any possible reactions.
Just remember that foods we eat remain in our bodies for endless periods of time.
So while a journal can be helpful to pinpoint the onset of symptoms when you first eat the offending food, know that your baby’s symptoms can persist for several days or even 2 weeks, even if you don’t eat that specific food again.
Try an elimination diet
If you notice an adverse reaction in your baby after you eat certain foods, attempt removing that food from your diet and watch for improvement.
Start with cow’s milk, the most frequent cause of allergic reaction in breastfed babies.
Remember, it takes time for your body to be completely free of the offending food, so make certain you’ve removed every sources of the food for at least two weeks.
Contact your pediatrician
Bring your baby in for a checkup. You’ll desire to law out any other causes for her symptoms, check her growth and weight acquire, and make certain she’s not losing excessive blood if she’s experiencing bloody stool. Your doctor can also discuss the possibility of confirming the presence of an allergy with a skin prick test.
If your kid is diagnosed with a food allergy, remember to enquire about reintroducing the food later.
Most kids will grow out of food allergies, sometimes by their first birthday.
Changing your diet can be hard. Happy Family Mentors are here to make suggestions for changes you can make while still maintaining adequate intake of every the nutrients you and your baby need. She can also assist you discover hidden sources of allergens in processed foods, and propose nutritious alternatives to the foods you’ve had to give up (for now).
For more on this topic, check out the following articles:
Share with other parents
Babies can be unsettled for numerous reasons and it can sometimes take time and effort to work out the cause.
However it can be a genuine concern if your baby is uncomfortable, in pain, distressed or if he is being ill, experiencing diarrhoea or has other symptoms. The Unhappy Breastfed Baby can assist you determine whether your baby’s behaviour is due to something other than an allergy.
But when you own ruled out most of the obvious causes and your baby is still, unhappy, colicky or experiencing dry and itchy skin, you may start to wonder whether your breastfed baby could be reacting to something in his diet, environment, or, if he is exclusively breastfed, something in your own diet.
Certain medical conditions can own symptoms similar to those of an allergic reaction. It may be wise to law these out before deciding whether a baby’s symptoms are due to an allergy.
Eczema, other dermatitis and dry skin rashes can also be reactions to products such as bubble bath, baby wipes, skin cream, fabric conditioner or washing detergent. Numerous mothers discover avoiding unnecessary products or a change of detergent improves things. Reading packaging can assist avoid problems with common allergens such as lanolin and perfumes.
Use fragrance-free products whenever possible. Be aware that herbals can also be allergenic—being natural doesn’t necessarily make a product less irritating. Hay fever symptoms and other ear, nose and throat symptoms can be caused by spring and summer pollens and other airborne allergens such as dust.
Did you know?
• More than 20 substances in cows’ milk own been identified as human allergens.
• If a baby reacts when his mom drinks milk or has dairy products, this is a sensitivity to cows’ milk protein, not lactose intolerance.
• Most baby formulas contain cows’ milk, often referred to as ’whey based’ or ‘casein based’.
• Soya, the basis of some baby formulas, is also a common allergen.
• Baby formula may also contain fish oils and vegetable oils (eg palm, rapeseed, coconut, sunflower).
• Medicines and supplements can contain other ingredients that are potentially allergenic.
• If you or a member of your immediate family has an allergy or intolerance, your baby is more likely to own one too.
Source: United States Breastfeeding Committee
Breastmilk contains tiny traces of whatever foods a mom has herself been eating.
This is the ideal way to prepare a baby gently for the eventual introduction of solids. The best weaning foods for your baby are generally healthy foods selected from your diet. The best time to start weaning is whenever he starts reaching out for the food on your plate.
Identifying the problem food
If your baby is having only your milk
• Are you taking any laxatives, medicines, vitamins, iron tablets or other supplements?
• Do you drink lots of caffeinated drinks? Coffee, cola, tea and some pain relievers, freezing remedies, weight control aids and diuretics contain caffeine.
Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine that can own a similar effect to caffeine if you eat a lot.
• Own you recently eaten a new food or any specific food in large amounts?
• Are there any foods that you don’t love but own decided to eat during pregnancy or breastfeeding because you ponder they will be excellent for you and your baby?
• Are there foods that you crave? What foods do you snack on when you own a bad day?
• Do shut family members own problems with any specific foods? Depending on how sensitive your baby is, removing or cutting below on the offending items in your diet may well solve the problem.
If your baby is not fully breastfed
The majority of babies don’t need anything other than mother’s milk before about six months—no baby formula, drinks, solids or vitamins.
Babies over six months who own started solids can be sensitive to certain common foods until they are a little older.
• Could your baby be reacting to the drinks or solid foods he is having?
• Is he on any medication or vitamin supplements?
• Could he be receiving other drinks such as baby formula or juice, or solid food, from anyone else without your knowledge?
Infant formula or follow-on formula is generally cows’ milk-based and a common, avoidable cause of allergy or intolerance. Babies don’t need follow-on formula at all. Removing the offending food from your baby’s diet for now should solve the problem; he may be capable to tolerate it in a few months time.
If you ponder your baby may be reacting to a prescribed medication that he has to take, speak to your doctor—he may be capable to prescribe an alternative.
Common problem foods
• Cows’ milk, other dairy products and certain protein foods: soya, egg, pork, fish and shellfish.
• Wheat, corn, nuts and peanuts.
• Oranges and other citrus fruits; seedy fruits such as tomatoes, berries and kiwi fruit.
• Cabbage, onions and spices. Fenugreek is closely related to peanuts.
• Certain additives, artificial colourings, flavourings and preservatives.
Tummy symptoms include:
• Seeming hungry for the breast but pulling away after a minute or two, arching the back and screaming.
• Vomiting, projectile vomiting.
• Diarrhoea—large numbers of large, loose, watery poos.
• Cramping, constipation and wind.
• Blood in poos.
May be accompanied by anaemia—NB there are other causes for these symptoms too.
• Poor appetite, poor weight gain.
• Refusal to feed.
• Constant, excessive dribbling. Ear, nose and throat symptoms include:
• Lots of ear wax.
• Runny nose, sneezing, coughing.
• Nasal congestion, lots of secretions.
• Noisy breathing.
• Lung problems such as asthma or bronchitis.
• Swollen tonsils.
Eye and skin symptoms include:
• Swollen eyelids, dark circles under eyes.
• Eczema, dermatitis, hives, other rashes and itching.
• Redness around mouth, on cheeks or in the nappy area.
• Cradle cap.
• Spotty ‘milk rash’.
• Excessive sweating.
Doesn’t breastfeeding prevent allergy?
Breastfeeding generally helps to protect against allergy but it may still happen.
If one or both parents own an allergy or food intolerance, it makes it more likely that their baby will too. Early exposure to baby formula based on cows’ milk or soya increases the risk of allergy or intolerance both in childhood and in later life.
A baby’s immune system is immature at birth.
Colostrum, or early milk, is wealthy in antibodies, particularly sIgA, which provides a protective coating inside a baby’s intestines.
Mature mother’s milk continues to provide protection, helping to prevent potential allergens from reaching a baby’s blood stream.
A food allergy occurs when a baby’s immune system creates specific antibodies to a specific food. If the baby is then given that food, his immune system releases chemicals including histamine that trigger inflammation and allergic symptoms. Symptoms can happen within minutes or up to several hours after eating the food responsible. It’s wise to see your GP if your baby is showing signs of allergy, but some symptoms are more worrying than others.
Seek medical assist quickly if your baby has an anaphylactic reaction: breathing difficulties, swelling, or a rash appearing immediately after physical contact or eating a specific food.
A food intolerance doesn’t involve an allergic reaction but can cause similar symptoms.
You may not need to stop giving your baby a food to which he is intolerant—reducing the quantity may be enough.
Cutting out suspect foods
If your baby is exclusively breastfed you may need to eliminate the suspect food from your own diet for a while. Only cut out one or two foods at a time and permit 2–3 weeks to see if your baby improves. Be aware that symptoms sometimes get worse before they get better. If there is no improvement after this time then that food is unlikely to be the culprit and you can reintroduce it into your diet.
Work below the list (above) cutting out one food at a time.
Start with cows’ milk, the most common cause of problems. Check package labels for milk products, which may be listed as: butter, yoghurt, cheese, whey, casein or caseinate, or lactose. These can turn up in the most unexpected foods and in some medicines and vitamin tablets.
Some milk-allergic children do well on goat or sheep milk, but these are comparatively rare—more generally a cows’-milk allergy predicts an equally severe allergy to other animal milks, although they can provide a temporary respite. Some children who are allergic to milk also react to beef.
Find out as much as you can before you start an elimination diet and enquire your doctor for a referral to a dietician, especially if you need to cut out a major food group.
Unless your baby has experienced a severe reaction, you may discover you can reintroduce the offending food later in little amounts without causing symptoms. Seek medical assist if your baby has shown definite anaphylactic signs, such as an immediate rash, swelling or noisy breathing.
It can be fairly an effort to be an allergy detective with a fussy baby on your hands, so seek information and support. The excellent news is that little changes to your diet could make a large difference to a baby with a food allergy or intolerance. An LLL Leader can assist you determine the most likely cause of your baby’s symptoms.
Local LLL groups are grand for practical and moral support and you may discover others there who own had similar experiences.
Written by Sue Cardus and mothers of LLLGB
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. LLLI. London: Pinter & Martin, 2010.
Breastfeeding Answers Made Simple. Mohrbacher, N. Amarillo, TX: Hale Publishing, 2010.
My Baby Won’t Breastfeed
Safe Sleep & The Breastfed Baby
The Unhappy Breastfed Baby
Toddlers and Food
You can purchase this information in printed form from our shop.
Copyright LLLGB 2016
Filed Under: Common ConcernsTagged With: allergy, cow’s milk protein, Crying, diarrhoea, food, intolerance, rash, swollen, triggers
How closely do I need to watch what I eat?
Most babies own no problems with anything that mom eats.
It’s generally recommended that you eat whatever you love, whenever you love, in the amounts that you love and continue to do this unless you notice an obvious reaction in your baby.
There is no list of “foods that every nursing mom should avoid” because most nursing mothers can eat anything they desire, and because the babies who are sensitive to certain foods are each unique – what bothers one may not annoy another.
Food additives and children
Food contains additives for numerous reasons, such as to preserve it, to help make it safe to eat for longer, and to give colour or texture.
All food additives go through strict safety testing before they can be used. Food labelling must clearly show additives in the list of ingredients, including their name or «E» number and their function, such as «colour» or «preservative».
A few people own adverse reactions to some food additives, love sulphites, but reactions to ordinary foods, such as milk or soya, are much more common.
Read more about food colours and hyperactivity.
Sheet final reviewed: 24 July 2018
Next review due: 24 July 2021
What to Know
- Know the signs and symptoms of food allergy or intolerance reactions in breastfed infants
- Learn which foods are the most common allergens
- How to manage your food intake to assist alleviate your baby’s symptoms
Breastmilk is incredible – it offers a finish form of nutrition for infants, and offers a range of benefits for health, growth, immunity and development.
The nutrients in your breastmilk come directly from what’s circulating in your blood, meaning that whatever nutrients you absorb from the food you eat are passed along to your baby. While being truly allergic or reacting to something in mom’s milk is rare in babies, a little percentage of mothers do notice a difference in their babies’ symptoms or behavior after eating certain foods.
So what counts as a food related reaction? The most common signs of food allergy or intolerance in breastfed infants are eczema (a scaly, red skin rash) and bloody stool (with no other signs of illness).
You might also see hives, wheezing, nasal congestion, vomiting or diarrhea.
If you notice any of these symptoms, an elimination diet can assist both to diagnose and treat a potential food allergy. This means removing potential allergens from your diet one at a time for 2-4 weeks each while you continue breastfeeding and watching to see if your baby’s symptoms subside.
Yes, you can continue breastfeeding, despite the symptoms, if your baby continues to grow and put on weight.
If you pinpoint the offending food, avoid it for at least 6 months, or until your baby is 9-12 months ancient (whichever comes later). At that point, you may be capable to reintroduce the food to your diet because most kids will grow out of the allergy.
Which foods might be causing the reaction? The most common food allergens are cow’s milk, soy, corn and eggs. In fact, in a study of about 100 infants with suspected food allergy, dairy products caused 65% of cases. Peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, and chocolate are also frequent allergy culprits.
We recommend consulting your pediatrician to discuss any concerns regarding possible food allergies.
While you can likely manage most food allergies in your breastfed baby by changing your diet, there are some cases in which using a hypoallergenic formula may be required.
You can also benefit from a Registered Dietitian’s care while following an elimination diet. Foods love milk, soy, and corn can hide in every sorts of pesky places, and a Registered Dietitian can assist to ensure that you’ve indeed removed every potential offenders from your plate. He or she can also assess your intake and make recommendations to assist prevent you from becoming deficient in any nutrients now that you’ve changed your usual diet. And the Happy Mama Mentors can assist you meet your breastfeeding goals while keeping both you and baby happy and healthy.
You may own heard that eating foods that make you gassy will also cause gastrointestinal distress for your baby, or that eating foods love onion, garlic and cruciferous vegetables will cause colic.
While there is no significant data to support such an association, there are some little studies indicating that moms did notice certain foods made their babies fussier than usual.
A few mothers notice minor reactions to other foods in their diet. Some babies weep, fuss, or even nurse more often after their mom has eaten spicy or “gassy” foods (such as cabbage). These reactions differ from allergies in that they cause less-serious symptoms (no rashes or abnormal breathing) and almost always final less than twenty-four hours.
If your baby reacts negatively every time you eat a certain type of food and you discover this troubling, you can just avoid that specific food temporarily.
If these symptoms continue on a daily basis and final for endless periods, they may indicate colic rather than food sensitivity. Talk with your pediatrician about this possibility, if eliminating various foods has no effect on your child’s symptoms.
A final note: While more research is needed, some studies own indicated that breastfeeding exclusively for at least four months may assist to reduce the risk and severity of food allergies, even in families with a history of them (1,2). So if your little one does show an intolerance or allergy early, know that it may resolve on its own before they turn one and that continued breastfeeding may assist to protect them against allergies later on.
How will I know if my kid has a food allergy?
An allergic reaction can consist of 1 or more of the following:
- wheezing and shortness of breath
- runny or blocked nose
- swollen lips and throat
- itchy throat and tongue
- itchy skin or rash
- diarrhoea or vomiting
- a cough
- sore, red and itchy eyes
In a few cases, foods can cause a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) that can be life-threatening.
Get medical advice if you ponder your kid is having an allergic reaction to a specific food.
Don’t be tempted to experiment by cutting out a major food, such as milk, because this could lead to your kid not getting the nutrients they need. Talk to your health visitor or GP, who may refer you to a registered dietitian.