Upsetting Foods In Breast Milk

 By: Sally Michener
Mother-infant dining partners can enjoy a bountiful menu. But some babies are sensitive to certain foods in mother's diet. Upsetting foods can enter your milk and upset baby as early as two hours after you eat them. A clue to food sensitivities as a cause of fussy, colicky behavior is a pattern called twenty-four-hour colic -- a definite episode of hurting that occurs within twenty-four hours after the breastfeeding mother eats a suspect food but that does not recur until the next time she eats the same food. Watch for these offenders:

Dairy products. Potentially allergenic proteins in dairy products may enter the breast milk and produce colicky symptoms in baby.

Caffeine-containing foods. Soft drinks, chocolate, coffee, tea, and certain cold remedies all contain caffeine. While some babies may be more caffeine sensitive than others, usually a mother must consume a large amount of these products to bother her baby.

Grains and nuts. The most allergenic of these are wheat, corn, and peanuts.

Spicy foods. Your milk may have a distinctive taste after you eat spicy or garlicky foods. Salads, pizzas, and a binge at your local ethnic restaurant introduce baby to these foods.

Occasionally they may evoke a gastric protest from your baby, causing him to refuse to feed or to be colicky.

Gassy foods. Broccoli, onions, brussels sprouts, green peppers, cauliflower, cabbage -- these vegetables in the raw state may bother babies, but they are less likely to be offensive when cooked. It is difficult to explain scientifically how these foods bother babies, but breastfeeding experience validates what veteran breastfeeding mothers have known for a long time -- gassy foods make gassy babies.

Tracking Down Foods That Bother Baby

This simple three-step technique for identifying foods in your breast milk that may be upsetting your child is virtually identical to the approach to take in identifying food allergies that may arise after baby is no longer consuming breast milk exclusively.

Step one: Make a fuss-food chart. From the preceding food possibilities, select and list eh foods in your diet that are most suspect. Cow's milk is the most common culprit. Across from these list your baby's upsets, unusually fussiness, crying and colicky episodes, bloating, severe constipation or diarrhea, a very gassy baby, unexplained night waking, or a red ring around baby's anus.

Step two: Eliminate foods. One by one, starting with cow's milk (or all at once if necessary), eliminate the most suspect foods from your diet for ten to fourteen days. Observe your baby to see if the symptoms of upset diminish or disappear. If they do disappear, go on to step three.

Step three: Challenge the result. If some or all of the troublesome symptoms subside, challenge this result by reintroducing the suspicious food. If baby's symptoms reappear within twenty-four hours, temporarily scratch this food of your menu. Though mothers are often wise detectives, the reintroduction challenge keeps you more objective. Love for your baby and hurting when your baby hurts make you vulnerable to quickly labeling a certain food as the culprit of baby's problems, which may unnecessarily deprive you and your baby of a valuable source of nutrients. Even if you do pin the problems on a particular food, most babies are only temporarily intolerant of certain foods, allowing you to eventually include your favorite foods again.

Other Fuss-Food Hints

Don't overdose on any one food. While some babies are exquisitely sensitive to drops or crumbs of an offending nutrient, others are bothered only if mother eats or drinks large quantities. Whet products and citrus foods are examples of this: Too much may bother baby, but a small amount may be tolerated.

If you find yourself eating fewer foods, yet baby is fussing more, consult a lactation consultant to be sure your breastfeeding technique is not the problem, a nutritionist to be sure you aare consuming a balanced diet, and, most important, your baby's doctor for non-food-related causes of your baby's problem. For food lovers, let's dangle a final carrot. Don't let fear of food restrictions discourage breastfeeding. Often these intolerant babies also have serious problems with some or all formulas. For most breastfeeding pairs, what mother eats does not upset baby.

If your breastfeeding baby does not tolerate cow's milk in your diet, here's an alternative. Almond Milk Recipe (Note: Almost milk should not be given to babies in place of standard infant formulas.) Almost milk or a prepared mixture can be purchased in a nutrition store, or you can make your own.

1/2 cup blanched raw almonds
2 cups water (more as needed)
Salt, honey, maple syrup, vanilla or almost extract (optional)

Place the blanched raw almonds in a blender. Add 1 cup of water and blend until smooth -- about five minutes in a high-speed blender. Add the remaining up of water to thin the milk to the desired consistency, using more water as needed. Chill egore using for best flavor. You may wish to flavor the milk by adding a few grains of salt, a bit of honey or maple syrup, or a touch of vanilla or almost extract. Almond milk can be used as a beverage, on cereal, or in baking and cooking.
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