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Food Allergies in Breastfed Babies
Babies who are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life have shown to have significantly less risk of food allergies, especially in families with a history of food allergies. Babies who are fed formula and mom's milk have a lessened risk of eczema and asthma.
But, there are no studies that show mom's should avoid certain foods to prevent asthma or food allergies.
If your family has a history of severe food allergies, you may want to avoid or limit those foods, especially fish, eggs, peanuts, milk and other dairy products, while nursing.
Symptoms of Food Sensitivity
If your baby is sensitive to food that you're eating, you'll notice the following symptoms:
- Excessive spitting up or vomiting
- Rash, hives or eczema
- Persistent congestion or cold-like symptoms
- Sleeping very little
- Dry skin
- Constipation and/or diarrhea
- Green poo with mucus or blood
But keep in mind that only a small percentage of nursing moms will notice a difference in their baby's behavior or health when they eat certain foods. Only about two or three out of every 100 babies who are exclusively breastfed have food sensitivities from foods in mom's milk.
What's My Baby Allergic To?
The most common food allergens include cow's milk products, soy, wheat, corn, eggs and peanuts.
Other foods that may cause sensitivity could include foods that mom may have eaten in excess, new foods mom may have had (if baby's symptoms are new) or a food that a family member may be allergic to.
Keep a food log if you think that your baby may be allergic to something thing you're eating. You'll notice symptoms about 24 hours after you've eaten the food. So, by keeping a food log, you'll be able to narrow down the suspect food. Once you've narrowed down the food, stop eating it for 2-3 weeks to see if your baby's symptoms improve.
Symptoms usually improve within 5-7 days. It takes about 1-1/2 to 2 weeks for cow's milk protein to be out of mom's symptoms, so you'll want to make sure to wait at least that before ruling out dairy.
Your baby is not allergic to your milk, so keep nursing your baby.
Once you figure out what's causing your baby's food sensitivities, stop eating foods with those ingredients.