Baby is fussy. She’s tired. You’re tired. YouTube says it’s the dairy. Before running to the fridge and pitching everything white and creamy, let’s find out if there is any merit to these claims! 

Why would dairy upset my baby?

Breast milk contains proteins from the mom’s diet. When you consume dairy, cow’s milk proteins are found in your breast milk. This should not affect your baby unless he or she has an allergy to cow’s milk.  

Talk to your child’s pediatrician if you suspect an allergy. The doctor will want to monitor your baby for growth and health.

There are other reasons why your baby might be gassy or fussy. Gas is normal and some babies just need help getting it out, like with tummy time! 

What does a food allergy look like in breastfed babies?

Usually you can tell if a baby has a food allergy if they seem otherwise healthy but they mysteriously have blood in their poop or get eczema. If it is an allergy, it could be any of the 8 major allergens: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soy. Cow’s milk allergy seems to be the most common allergy in breastfed infants. Soy and peanut allergies are also common in the United States. 

Food allergies are not the only reasons why babies get bloody poop or eczema. It’s important to take your baby to the doctor to figure out what the cause is. It could be a diaper rash or something more serious. Eczema isn’t necessarily caused by food allergies either, however people with food allergies often have eczema.

How long will I need to cut out the allergen?

As excited as you are to take action, don’t start an elimination diet without talking to your doctor.

Usually your baby will experience relief from his or her symptoms if you cut out the allergen for 3-4 days. It might take up to 2-4 weeks before the baby gets better.

If you’ve eliminated dairy for at least 2 weeks and symptoms have resolved, then it’s probably a cow’s milk allergy. Yay! No more guessing.

If your baby experiences mild to moderate symptoms when you eat dairy, you can probably have dairy again when the baby is 9-12 months old or after 6 months of eliminating dairy.

If you’ve eliminated dairy and your baby is still experiencing symptoms, time to resume dairy consumption and eliminate another allergen (ex. wheat) and repeat the process with that allergen. 

Can I prevent my baby from having a dairy allergy?

No. Not drinking milk during pregnancy or lactation doesn’t seem to prevent your baby from developing an allergy to cow’s milk. Actually, exposing babies to potential allergens through breast milk might help protect the baby from allergic episodes later on.

I’m following an elimination diet for cow’s milk. What do I need to eliminate?

Cow’s milk, cheese, butter, ice cream, and other foods made with milk, casein, whey, lactoglobulin, and foods with trace amounts of milk or milk products. You want to make sure you’re eliminating all forms of milk in the diet. This is where TNT Moms comes in!

If you find that your baby does, in fact, have an allergy and you plan to continue breastfeeding, you will be cutting out the allergen for at least 6 months. You’ll need to make sure that you don’t get any nutrient deficiencies during that time. TNT Moms will make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need to stay healthy and feed that baby!

Read more from the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine.

TNT Moms is your very own mommy-makeover! Each plan is custom-designed to get you back into your fighting shape.