Breastfeeding and Food Allergies

    There’s nothing worse than having a sick, crying baby and not being able to figure out what is causing the problem. A recent uptick in infant food allergies is thought to be the reason for some frequent colds, constipation, eczema and other allergy-based symptoms. While new infants are not likely to have food allergy testing due to the ineffectiveness of the results, mothers can adapt an allergen-free lifestyle when breastfeeding to potentially reduce symptoms.

    Breastfeeding and Allergies

    Most Common Food Allergens in Infants

    The most common food allergens in infants are milk, dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, soy products and wheat. Eliminating some or all of the most common food allergens could improve baby’s health dramatically if she is experiencing food allergy symptoms. However, the list of offending foods restricts mom’s diet to the point where she may suffer ill health effects. It is best to contact an allergist if you feel your infant may have food allergies and create a plan of action to “test” foods. A typical plan starts out with mom removing all potentially offending foods from her diet. She then adds one food into her diet at a time and records the reactions of her infant.

    Do Food Allergens Pass to Baby Through Breastmilk?

    Yes, food allergens will pass to baby through breastmilk. If an infant is allergic to peanuts, for instance, when mom eats peanuts baby will react. Reactions can be minimal; causing brief diarrhea or constipation. Reactions can also be severe, causing anaphylaxis in extreme cases.

    Symptoms of Food Allergy Reactions in Breastfed Babies

    The most common symptoms of food allergy reactions include eczema, hives, diarrhea, colic and cold-like symptoms. In extreme cases where the infant is born with an anaphylactic reaction, symptoms may include respiratory problems and trouble breathing.

    Pediatrician Support of Food Allergies

    Many mothers find minimal support when food allergies are brought up as a potential cause for baby’s symptoms. Food allergy support groups and allergists are more likely to give mothers the support they need during this time. There is nothing wrong with contacting an allergist to discuss your thoughts on potential food allergies. Testing can be complete to rule out food allergies or diagnose an infant with food allergies.

    Can My Baby Grow Out of Food Allergies?

    There are some food allergies that last only a few years and others that last a lifetime. Infants allergic to peanuts and tree nuts are typically allergic to those foods for life. Milk, however, is one of the common food allergies that affect infants, but later fade away.