Breastfeeding and Allergies - Did You Have to Change Your Diet?

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nursing babyMy cousin and I sat together at a restaurant recently, drooling over the chocolate cake our family was passing around.

"I can't have it because I gave up chocolate," I said.

"I can't have it because my newborn is allergic to it," she replied.

We both watched it pass mournfully, but I felt much worse for her than for me. After all, at least my suffering was self-inflicted. Hers was purely sacrifice.

Anyone who nurses for more than a few days quickly finds out that babies taste -- and react -- to what's in their breastmilk. Most of the time, this is a positive thing. Studies show that babies prefer variety, and it's important for nursing moms to eat a diet rich in a variety of healthy foods.

But when baby has acid reflux or is allergic, moms have a choice to make: Either stop eating the offending food or stop nursing. Often, just dropping those highly allergenic foods like milk, wheat, or dairy will do the trick.

Rarely, moms will need to cut out all but a few basic, non-allergenic foods for their babies to eat with out allergy symptoms. Take, for instance, this UK woman. Her baby went months suffering severe allergy symptoms before she finally switched to a simple diet of fish, rice, and vegetables. Though I think the story is unique in that it took her doctors far too long to make the allergy connection, it's not unusual at all for nursing moms to have to give up a favorite food for a few months until their baby can tolerate it or weans entirely.

I, too, had to part with chocolate while I was nursing, not because of allergies but because it seemed to cause my babies painful gas. Other than that, I was free to eat and enjoy (and ohhhh, how I did!). What about you? Did you have to change your diet while nursing?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.