Though new mothers are often advised that ‘breast milk is best,’ this might not always be true. Did you know that it is possible for babies to be allergic to components of breast milk?
Babies who are breastfed but are allergic to breast milk may exhibit symptoms such as gas, fussiness, spitting up or vomiting, eczema, rashes, persistent congestion, or colic. The baby may be especially fussy after feedings or cry for long periods of time. However, it is important to note that all of these symptoms have many other potential causes unrelated to allergies. In fact, it is often difficult to diagnose food allergies in babies because there are so many other conditions that cause the same symptoms.
It is believed that most allergic reactions to human breast milk are actually reactions to something the mother has eaten. The proteins in the food are then passed to the baby through breastmilk. For example, it could actually be an allergy to peanuts or shellfish that the mother has recently consumed. However, this is believed to be uncommon, with only a small percentage of breastfeeding mothers noticing an obvious difference in their baby’s health or behavior after they eat certain foods. Nursing mothers are advised to eat whatever they normally do, unless they notice that their baby has an obvious allergic reaction to the milk.
If you think that your baby may be reacting to a food you are eating, eliminate that food from your diet for 2-3 weeks. If your baby’s symptoms improve, that food may have been affecting your baby through breastmilk.