What to eat when breastfeeding baby with milk allergy

You can get Healthy Start vouchers if you’re pregnant or own a young kid under 4 and are getting certain benefits or tax credits, or you’re pregnant and under 18.

These can be spent on milk and unused or frozen fruit and vegetables, or they can be put towards formula milk if you’re not breastfeeding.

You can’t use vouchers to purchase fruit and veg with added fat, sugar and salt or flavourings, such as oven chips and seasoned stir fries.

You can also get Healthy Start vouchers for free vitamin supplements.

For more information or an application leaflet, visit the Healthy Start website, or call the helpline on 0345 607 6823.

If you’re already receiving Healthy Start vouchers, enquire your midwife or health visitor where you can exchange the vouchers for vitamins.

Eating fish while breastfeeding

Eating fish is excellent for your and your baby’s health, but while you are breastfeeding you should own no more than 2 portions of oily fish a week.

A portion is around 140g.

Oily fish includes fresh mackerel, sardines, trout and salmon.

All adults should also eat no more than 1 portion a week of shark, swordfish or marlin.

See more about eating fish while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Healthy snack ideas for breastfeeding mums

The following snacks are quick and simple to make, and will give you energy and strength:

  1. fortified unsweetened breakfast cereals, muesli and other wholegrain cereals with milk
  2. hummus with bread or vegetable sticks
  3. sandwiches filled with salad, grated cheese, mashed salmon or freezing meat 
  4. ready-to-eat dried apricots, figs or prunes
  5. milky drinks or a 150ml glass of 100% unsweetened fruit juice
  6. vegetable and bean soups
  7. yoghurts and fromage frais
  8. fresh fruit
  9. baked beans on toast or a baked potato

What is milk intolerance and milk allergy?

Around 1 in 10 young children has a reaction when they drink cow’s milk.

This could be because they own a lactose intolerance or a milk allergy. Milk allergy is more common than lactose intolerance in children under 5.

Lactose intolerance is a problem with the digestive system – it means your kid doesn’t own the enzyme needed to digest lactose, which is the sugar in milk.

Milk allergy, however, is a problem with the immune system — the body reacts to the protein in milk. An allergy generally involves other parts of the body as well as the stomach, and may cause symptoms such as a skin rash or swelling of the face.

Your doctor can confirm whether your kid is lactose-intolerant or has a milk allergy by doing some medical tests. Don’t use unproven tests such as Vega, kinesiology, Alcat or allergy elimination tests for children. A milk intolerance is unlikely to be the cause of mucus or coughing.

Many young children grow out of their intolerance or allergy.

What to eat when breastfeeding baby with milk allergy

But don’t start giving them cow’s milk until your doctor tells you it’s safe to do so.

Vitamins and breastfeeding

Everyone, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10mcg of vitamin D.

From tardy March/April to the finish of September, the majority of people aged 5 years and above will probably get enough vitamin D from sunlight when they are outdoors.

So you might select not to take a vitamin D supplement during these months

You can get every the other vitamins and minerals you need by eating a varied and balanced diet.

Ask your GP or health visitor where to get vitamin D supplements. You may be capable to get free vitamin supplements without a prescription if you’re eligible for Healthy Start.

You’re entitled to free NHS prescriptions for 12 months after your baby is born. You will need to show a valid maternity exemption certificate to prove your entitlement.

If you did not apply for a maternity exemption certificate while you were pregnant, you can still apply at any time in the 12 months after your baby is born.

Peanuts and breastfeeding

If you’d love to eat peanuts or foods containing peanuts, such as peanut butter, while breastfeeding, you can do so as part of a healthy, balanced diet (unless, of course, you are allergic to them).

There’s no clear evidence that eating peanuts while breastfeeding affects your baby’s chances of developing a peanut allergy.

If you own any questions or concerns, you can talk to your GP, midwife or health visitor.

See more about food allergies.

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Sheet final reviewed: 10 December 2018
Next review due: 10 December 2021

Women hear a lot of conflicting information about what they can or cannot eat while breastfeeding and these recommendations may vary according to culture and tradition, along with individual personal preference and finances.

In some cultures a food may be considered beneficial to a breastfeeding mom, but in another culture mothers may be cautioned against the exact same food. For instance, spicy food is considered bad for babies in some societies, but in others spices form a large part of everyday cuisine.

Here are some myths and facts about a woman’s diet and breastfeeding.

Vitamins and Minerals

Myth: There is not enough iron in breastmilk

  1. Some vitamins and proteins are better absorbed if other vitamins and minerals are present at the same time.

    For example, iron is utilised better if vitamin C is present in the diet.[xv]

  2. As with calcium, the levels of this mineral in human milk are constant, despite variations in the maternal diet or the mother’s body stores.[xiv]
  3. The iron in human milk is more readily absorbed by your baby than iron in cow’s milk or iron-fortified formula. This means that the quantity of iron in human milk is optimal for your baby, despite being less than that found in cow’s milk.
  4. A full-term healthy baby generally has no need of additional iron until about the middle of his first year, around the time he starts taking solids.
  5. The high lactose and vitamin C levels in human milk aid the absorption of iron, and breastfed babies do not lose iron through their bowels.

Fact: Vitamin B 12 and calcium are significant for a balanced diet

  1. If a mom is not consuming dairy products, calcium can be obtained from other sources, such as bok choy (a type of cabbage), sesame seeds, calcium enriched tofu, tamari, soy sauce, greens, whole grains and some nuts and dried fruit.

    For example, a cup (227 grams) of cooked bok choy provides 86 percent of the quantity of calcium contained in a cup (240 ml) of milk.

    What to eat when breastfeeding baby with milk allergy

    Half a cup (113 grams) of ground sesame seeds – which can be added to baked goods, pancake batter, or sprinkled on salads or cereals – contains twice as much calcium as a cup (240 ml) of milk.

  2. One study found that while vegetarian mothers tended to consume less calcium than other mothers, this did not affect the levels of calcium in their breastmilk.[xvi]
  3. Vitamin B12 and calcium are significant for a balanced diet.

    Some people, including vegans and vegetarians, use a supplement for their vitamin B12 intake.

  4. Other sources of calcium include blackstrap molasses, calcium-enriched tofu, collards, spinach, broccoli, turnip greens, kale, almonds, and Brazil nuts. Some types of algae (sea vegetables, such as wakame) fermented foods (miso), and seasonings including tamari and soy sauce can also contribute to enriching a diet with calcium, as well as numerous other minerals that are especially significant to a breastfeeding mother.[xvii]

Fact: Iodine and selenium are crucial minerals

  1. Iodine and selenium are crucial minerals.

    Excellent food sources of iodine include kelp, seaweed, sea fish, shellfish and grey Celtic sea salt. Iodine can also be found in plant foods, such as cereals and grains, but the levels vary depending on the quantity of iodine in the soil where the plants are grown.[xviii]

  2. The best dietary source of selenium is Brazil nuts. It is widely found in other plant and animal foods, including other nuts, cereals, meat, fish and eggs.[xix]

Fact: Vitamin D deficiency (rickets) occurs because of a deficiency in sunlight exposure, NOT because of a deficiency in human milk.

  1. Changes in the way we live our lives, with reduced exposure to sunlight, and with the foods we        eat which don’t contain sufficient Vitamin D, might mean that mothers don’t own enough            vitamin D in their own bodies to pass to their babies via breastmilk.
  2. Breastmilk doesn’t naturally contain high levels of Vitamin D as, in the past, babies would absorb most of their Vitamin D from exposure to sunlight.
  3. Vitamin D is diverse from some of the other vitamins in our food, as it is actually a hormone produced by the kidneys.

    Vitamin D controls blood calcium concentration and affects the immune system, and is produced by the body when sunlight hits the skin.

  4. Our bodies are designed to make extremely large amounts of vitamin D through exposure to the sun (10,000-20,000 IU in 24 hours, after 15-20 minutes of summer sun exposure in a bathing suit or 45-60 minutes of exposure for those with darker skin tones). However, in adults and children, the desire to avoid overexposure and sunburn has eclipsed our ability to absorb adequate amounts of sunlight to hold our vitamin D status at a normal level.[xx]

Fact: Some women may need additional Vitamin D

  1. The Vitamin D Council states that women taking a supplement of 6,000 IU of vitamin D each day shouldn’t need to give their baby a vitamin D supplement, as their breastmilk will contain enough vitamin D.

    However, women who aren’t taking a supplement or are taking less than 5,000 IU/day of vitamin D, or aren’t getting a excellent quantity of sun exposure, should give your baby a vitamin D supplement.[xxii]

  2. The optimal way to get Vitamin D is through sunlight and the NHS states: “Between tardy March/early April to the finish of September, most people can get every the vitamin D they need through sunlight on their skin and from a balanced diet. You may select not to take a vitamin D supplement during these months.”[xxi]
  3. Breastfeeding mothers who own adequate amounts of vitamin D in their bodies can successfully provide enough vitamin D for their nursing children through breastmilk.

    However, lifestyle changes own led to some women not having enough vitamin D.

  4. If a baby is born with a deficiency in Vitamin D, due to the mother’s own low levels, this may not be reversed by the mom taking supplements.[xxiii]
  5. It is recommended that pregnant and nursing mothers obtain adequate vitamin D or supplement as necessary. Women who are unsure of their vitamin D status undergo a simple blood test before making a choice to supplement.
  6. Research[xxiv] has demonstrated that children are capable to store several months worth of vitamin D when they are exposed to only a few hours of summer sunlight.

Mother’s diet

Myth: You need to eat special foods to breastfeed

A breastfeeding mom doesn’t require special foods to produce milk or increase her milk supply.

Milk production is sure by the quantity of milk removed from the breast.

  1. Unless there is a physical or physiological reason for low milk production, a mom who breastfeeds on cue will be capable to produce enough milk for her baby, regardless of what she eats.[v]
  2. There is no specific food that must necessarily be eaten, especially if this is something that the mom is not used to or doesn’t like.[vi] Every the nutrients that are found in one food are also found in others, so a mom can still get the nutrients she needs. For example, omega fatty acids can be gained through algal or soybean oil, walnuts, chia, hemp and flax seeds instead of fish.

Myth: You need to drink milk to makemilk

  1. Milk is sometimes seen as a source of calcium, but there are plenty of other easily available foods such a broccoli, peppers and spinach which contain even more calcium per serving as well as other nutrients too.
  2. No other mammalian mothers drink milk, yet they every produce milk perfectly tailored to the needs of their young.
  3. Human beings are the only animals that consume milk produced by other animals.
  4. In some cultures, people traditionally do not drink milk or eat dairy products at every, yet mothers succeed in breastfeeding their children.

Myth:If you are vegan you won’t be capable to breastfeed

  1. The concept of an “ideal” diet can vary across diverse families, cultures, economic situations, religions, and also diverse seasons.

    Yet, almost always, every over the world, even in situations of deprivation, mothers produce milk that helps their babies grow well.

  2. Vegan diets can sometimes be low in Vitamin B12, and It’s significant to know how to hold your vitamin B12 levels up.[vii] See Vitamins and Minerals for suggestions on how to absorb enough.

Fact: A breastfeeding mom may feel hungry and thirsty more often

  1. Weight gained during pregnancy is often gradually lost throughout the course of breastfeeding.
  2. A woman’s metabolic rate becomes more efficient during lactation and a little increase in grains, vegetables and fruit may be every that is needed.
  3. Breastfeeding can make us use up more calories than usual and we may feel more hungry and thirsty.
  4. Many mothers feel thirsty when they breastfeed, especially when their baby is newborn.

    It’s a excellent thought to own a glass of water available while breastfeeding, but it’s not necessary to drink more than you feel comfortable with, as it doesn’t assist to increase milk supply and it may be unpleasant.[viii]

  5. How numerous additional calories we need depends on how much breastmilk we are producing (influenced by baby’s age and whether breastfeeding is exclusive), percentage of body fat (including how much body fat we own laid below in pregnancy), body size, and how athletic we are.
  6. Some women love to drink herbal teas and infusions to increase liquid intake.

    However, excessive amounts of some herbal teas and infusions can risk depleting milk supply, so they need to be used moderately and with caution.[ix]

Composition of Breastmilk

Myth: Breastmilk is made directly from what an individual eats

  1. Diffusion explains how drugs and other foreign substances enter milk. Numerous factors influence whether or in what quantity a substance will actually enter the milk.
  2. When food, drink or medication are ingested, the substance is broken below by the digestive tract and molecule-sized components of the substance are absorbed into the blood.

    When these molecules get to the capillaries near the breast tissue, they move through the cells that line the alveoli and into the milk. This process is known as diffusion.

  3. Breastmilk is made in the breasts, directly from a mother’s blood. It is not made directly from the food she eats.
  4. The process of diffusion allows excellent things, such as antibodies, to easily enter colostrum and mature milk.

    What to eat when breastfeeding baby with milk allergy

    This means that breastmilk changes over time in sync with the mother’s environment, which is one of the significant health aspects of breastfeeding.

Myth: If a lady has a poor diet the quality of her milk will not be excellent enough

  1. Breastfeeding responsively ensures that babies will get every they need in order to grow well and remain healthy.
  2. The type of fat in maternal diet is closely related to the type of fat in the milk the mom produces, although the caloric content of human milk is fairly consistent.[i]
  3. Breastmilk is a living substance that evolves in sync with the needs of a baby at every feed.

    It contains vital nutrients, immunity building cells and stem cells, food for healthy gut bacteria and numerous other health factors that cannot be replicated. These do not change with an individual’s diet.

    What to eat when breastfeeding baby with milk allergy

    People who experience famine conditions still produce milk providing optimal nutrition for their babies.

  4. Caring for and feeding a baby from your own body can use up a lot of energy at times. Eating a variety of nourishing and energy boosting foods as often as possible, can assist to optimise your own health and energy reserves. Asking friends and family to provide such foods to you regularly in the early weeks and months can be a large support to you and your baby.

Fact: Some foods can change the taste of breastmilk

  1. Babies will own already started to get used to these flavours during pregnancy when they swallow amniotic fluid.
  2. Strongly flavoured foods, such as garlic, chilli or soy sauce, may change the taste of breastmilk.

    It’s possible that this can assist a baby get used to the family diet before starting solids.

  3. Children acquire their family’s food habits and preferences gradually.

Fact: Breastmilk protects against toxins

  1. Research has shown that milk produced by vegetarian women has lower levels of environmental contaminants, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These substances are stored principally in the fatty tissues of the body, and vegetarian diets tend to contain less fats than diets with more animal products.[ii][iii]
  2. Although a healthy diet could be defined as varied, balanced, and natural (i.e.

    grown in situations that eliminate or limit pesticides, insecticides, and chemical fertilisers), breastmilk contains high levels of antioxidants which may assist to compensate for any pre-natal and post-natal exposure to environmental chemicals. Breastmilk can counteract the neurological effects of contaminants transferred before birth, and also any in the milk.

  3. It is generally suggested that anyone, breastfeeding or not, avoids fish which may be high in mercury. This includes predator fish such as swordfish and shark or freshwater fish from waters reported as contaminated by local health agencies.[iv]


Myth: Certain foods always need to be avoided

  1. Although mothers may be advised to avoid high-risk foods during every or part of their pregnancy and to continue to avoid these foods during lactation, research indicates that this practice does not decrease the incidence of allergy by two years of age, but it does delay the onset of allergy.[x] More recent research shows that avoiding high-risk foods, such as peanuts, may not be necessary.[xi][xii]
  2. However, if parents suffer from allergies this can increase the possibility of their baby having the same allergy.

    Allergic reactions to substances in mother’s milk may appear as skin, respiratory and intestinal problems (or a combination of any of these) in a baby.

  3. There are no specific foods you always need to avoid just because you are breastfeeding.
  4. If a baby has an obvious reaction every time a mom eats a certain food, she may select to eliminate that food from her diet.

    What to eat when breastfeeding baby with milk allergy

    Keeping a food diary can assist identify if a pattern of fussy behaviour emerges every time a specific food is eaten.

  5. Normal caution may be needed if drinking raw, unpasteurised juices. If a mom were to develop food poisoning from inadequately washed ingredients this would not pass to her baby via her breastmilk. However, it could be passed on via contact contamination.[xiii]

Fact: Food allergies in breastfed infants are generally due to substances passing into breastmilk rather than breastmilk itself

  1. When food particles do pass into the blood (something that is more frequent in a formula fed baby), these food particles may be treated as foreign substances by his white blood cells, which attack them, and can cause painful allergic reactions.
  2. Substances in breastmilk jacket a baby’s intestines, which prevent microscopic food particles from “leaking” through into your baby’s bloodstream.
  3. The top three food antigens are cow’s milk protein (mostly the betalactoglobulin component), soy bean protein, and egg white.

    Other common antigens are peanuts and fish, especially cod.

Fact: A mother’s diet does not affect the quantity of lactose in her milk

  1. Lactose intolerance occurs when the body no longer makes enough of the enzyme lactase, which is needed to digest lactose, the main carbohydrate in milk. Lactose intolerance is rarely a problem for babies. They are born with the ability to produce lots of lactase because they depend on their mother’s milk for nutrition in the first year of life and the lactose in mother’s milk is needed for brain development.
  2. The quantity of lactose in a mother’s milk has nothing to do with her diet; her body manufactures lactose solely for her baby.
  3. Some infants experience galactosemia, an extremely rare genetic condition that is present from birth and affects an individual’s ability to metabolise the sugar galacatose properly, hence requiring urgent medical care.

Fact: Excess lactose in babies can be misdiagnosed as an allergy or colic

  1. High volumes of lactose can overwhelm a baby’s digestive system.

    This can be caused by babies consuming large amounts of breastmilk, or when mothers own oversupply.

  2. When there is not enough lactase to break below every the lactose, the excess lactose causes gassiness and discomfort, and frequently green, watery or foamy stools, sometimes with little amounts of blood.


Myth: Food which makes a mom gassy will make her baby gassy

  1. In numerous families, nursing mothers can eat whatever they love and be confident that the vast majority of babies do not own any problems with food proteins.
  2. However, when food is digested, some of the proteins do enter the blood and may then pass into a mother’s milk.

    Some babies may be sensitive to a specific protein and react with gas and fussiness.

  3. Sometimes a mom finds that foods love broccoli and cabbage make her gassy. Gas from a mother’s intestinal tract cannot pass into her blood and eventually into her breastmilk for her baby to drink.
  4. For numerous fussy and gassy babies, the gassiness and fussiness can be due to other reasons, not always related to what food a mom has eaten.

Written by Anna Burbidge for La Leche League GB, March 2019

Further reading

Breastmilk and the Environment

Too Much Milk and Oversupply

Fat Content of Breastmilk – FAQs

Feeding the New Mother

Allergies & Food Intolerances

Food Allergies and Breastfeeding

Fat Content of Breastmilk – FAQs

Vitamin D, Your Baby, and You

Vitamins and Other Nutritional Supplements


Breastfeeding and Vitamin D


[i]                        Sheri Lyn Parpia Khan.

Maternal Nutrition During Breastfeeding. New Beginnings, 2004; 21 (2): 44.

[ii]                      Ibidem

[iii]                     Dagnelie, P.C. et al. Nutrients and contaminants in human milk from mothers on macrobiotic and omnivorous diets.

What to eat when breastfeeding baby with milk allergy

Eur J Clin Nutr, 1992; 46 (5): 355-66.

[iv]                     US Food & Drug istration. Eating Fish: What Pregnant Women and Parents Should Know,https://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm393070.htm (accessed 1 March 2019).

[v]                      Sheri Lyn Parpia Khan. Maternal Nutrition During Breastfeeding. New Beginnings, 2004; 21 (2): 44.

[vi]                     Ibidem

[vii]                      La Leche League International. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. Eighth Edition, 2010; 125.

[viii]                   Ibidem

[ix]                     Ibidem

[x]                      Vonlanthen, M.

Lactose Intolerance, Diarrhea, and Allergy. Breastfeeding Abstracts, 1998; 18 (2): 11-12.

[xi]                     McLean, S. and Sheikh, A. Does avoidance of peanuts in early life reduce the risk of peanut allergy?

What to eat when breastfeeding baby with milk allergy

BMJ, 2010; 340. https://www.bmj.com/content/340/bmj.c424 (accessed on 13 February 2019).

[xii]                    Du Toit G et al. Randomized trial of peanut consumption in infants at risk for peanut allergy. N Engl J Med, 2015; 372 (9): 803-813.

[xiii]                   La Leche League International. The Breastfeeding Answer Book. Third Revised Edition, 2012; 537.

[xiv]                   Sheri Lyn Parpia Khan.

Maternal Nutrition During Breastfeeding. New Beginnings, 2004; 21 (2): 44.

[xv]                    Ibidem

[xvi]                   Specker, B. Nutritional concerns of lactating women consuming vegetarian diets. Am J Clin Nutr, 1994; 59 (Suppl): 1182S-86S.

[xvii]                  Sheri Lyn Parpia Khan. Maternal Nutrition During Breastfeeding. New Beginnings, 2004; 21 (2): 44.






[xxiii]                 The Breastfeeding Network.

Vitamin D and Breastfeeding.

What to eat when breastfeeding baby with milk allergy

2017. https://breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/wp-content/dibm/vitamin%20D%20and%20breastfeeding.pdf (accessed on 13 February 2019).

[xxiv]                 Hollis, B. et al. Vitamin D Supplementation during Pregnancy: Double Blind, Randomized Clinical Trial of Safety and Effectiveness. J Bone Miner Res, 2011; 26 (10): 2341–2357.

Filed Under: Breastfeeding information, UncategorisedTagged With: diet, nutrition, vegan, vegetarian

Call triple zero (000) for an ambulance if your kid has the following symptoms.

They could be having a severe allergic reaction and will need urgent medical attention.

  1. vomiting
  2. a swollen tongue
  3. wheezing or difficulty breathing
  4. they are pale and floppy or unconscious

Caffeine and breastfeeding

Caffeine can reach your baby through your breast milk and may hold them awake.

Caffeine occurs naturally in lots of foods and drinks, including coffee, tea and chocolate. It’s also added to some soft drinks and energy drinks, as well as some freezing and flu remedies.

Caffeine is a stimulant and can make your baby restless. It’s a excellent thought for pregnant and breastfeeding women to restrict their caffeine intake to less than 200mg a day:

  1. 1 mug of filter coffee: 140mg
  2. 1 mug of instant coffee: 100mg
  3. 1 mug of tea: 75mg
  4. 1 50g plain chocolate bar: up to 50mg
  5. 1 250ml can of energy drink: 80mg (larger cans may contain up to 160mg caffeine)
  6. 1 cola drink (354mls): 40mg

Try decaffeinated tea and coffee, herbal teas, 100% fruit juice (but no more than one 150ml glass per day) or mineral water.

Avoid energy drinks, which can be extremely high in caffeine.