Your baby has arrived, and you have chosen to breastfeed. Ordinarily, that is good news. That means you can change your diet and worry less about what you eat and how it may affect your newborn.
You can eat sushi and processed lunch meats again. However, if you are breastfeeding and notice your baby is having some issues with digestion or comfort, then you may need to consider an elimination diet.
What Is the Elimination Diet?
The elimination diet is a diet that takes the foods most likely to cause an allergic reaction in an infant (shown through different reactions like irritability, green bowel movements and constant fussiness) and advises the new mother to avoid these foods while breastfeeding.
What Foods are the Focus of an Elimination Diet?
For new mothers who find their baby is struggling and unhappy a large part of the time, dealing with gas and irritability, the following foods are generally recommended as those to cut from your diet first. Those foods include:
- Dairy: milk, cheese, etc..; the proteins in cow's milk are commonly found as an allergy producer. Therefore, cutting this from your diet can help your infant digest and be more comfortable.
- Caffeine: this can cause irritability in an infant
- Chocolate: this contains caffeine and can prevent the baby from sleeping well
- Citrus: the acidic nature of this food can lead to breast milk that irritates the sensitive tissue of an infant's throat and digestive tract.
- Broccoli: this food causes increased gas in adults and can relay the same issue to an infant who nurses after mom has eaten broccoli. The same can be said for cauliflower.
- Spicy foods: spices can be transmitted through the milk, giving it a different taste and irritating an infant's sensitive stomach
- Peanuts: these can cause an allergic reaction, which is becoming very common in children and can occur from birth
- Wheat: bloody stool can be a sign your infant is allergic to wheat. It is important to cut out foods that can cause pain for the baby after it has eaten.
- Eggs: another food that can be an allergy and the infant can have a reaction through the milk
- Peppermint: this does not directly impact the baby. However, it can decrease supply, which means the infant gets less to eat and is then fussy due to hunger on an even shorter time frame
In addition to foods that can cause irritation, it is still not advisable to drink large amounts of alcohol. Moreover, recent studies have shown that a minuscule amount of alcohol transfers into the breast milk and the general rule is that if you can drive, you can nurse.
Still, the recommendation remains that you drink in moderation so as to be able to care for your child to the best of your ability and ensure that it is minuscule amounts of alcohol, if any, that transfer to your infant.
New moms may be ready to kick back with all manner of foods that weren't permitted or made her sick during her pregnancy. However, if the baby shows reactions to breast milk after a nursing session, it may be a good idea to consider eliminating the above foods to see if that helps the baby with fussiness, get rid of gas or have healthy bowel movements. If these foods being cut from the diet do not help, a discussion with the pediatrician is very important.