“Is my baby allergic to something I ate?” If your baby is fussy or gassy, you may be concerned something you ate is the cause. It is normal for babies to have noisy and gassy bowel movements. In our multicultural society, we see breastfeeding mothers from all over the world who eat a wide variety of different foods, and most mothers do not need to change their diets.
It is possible for a baby to have a food sensitivity reaction. Sometimes when a baby develops a food sensitivity, his mother may be told her baby is allergic to her milk. The baby is not allergic to mother’s milk. In reality, the baby is having a sensitivity reaction to something his mother ate. It’s possible for almost any food to cause a reaction, so it can be difficult to identify the source.
A food reaction can be mild or severe. Skin problems like a rash on the face, eczema, cradle cap, a runny nose that doesn’t go away, wheezing, vomiting, extreme fussiness, increased crying, difficulty sleeping, a change in stools (harder or softer), blood or mucous in stools, and poor weight gain can all be symptoms of a food reaction. If you believe your baby is having a food sensitivity reaction, try to identify the food and eliminate it from you diet. Sometimes the baby will “outgrow” the sensitivity, but not always. If the reaction is severe, seek medical attention right away.
There are some foods we know of that are more likely to cause a sensitivity reaction. Cow’s milk protein is #1. Milk, butter, cheese, sour cream, ice cream, and casein and whey (two products often found in baked goods and packaged foods) are all dairy products that can cause problems for a baby with dairy protein sensitivity. Mucousy stools with streaks or flecks of blood can be an indication of dairy sensitivity, which is not the same as lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance rarely occurs in babies. Other foods known to be more likely to cause problems are soy, grains, nuts/peanuts and fish/shellfish. Some babies don’t tolerate chocolate or citrus.
If you believe your baby has a food sensitivity or a food allergy, and are unable to pinpoint the problem yourself, contact your lactation consultant, dietician or your baby’s doctor to help you to identify the problem food and guide you in eliminating it from your diet.