Sunday, June 7, 2009

Babies and Allergies

Most of my information will be from this wonderful book. I will also add my personal experience because allergies have been a problem with both of my children.

Author Claire Martin states, "If you are sensitive to certain foods, your baby may be, too. Babies are more likely to be sensitive to certain foods rather than truly allergic. If you or the baby's father or your other children have food allergies or sensitivities, or are prone to eczema, then your baby is more likely to be food sensitive, too. Symptoms of a food sensitivity include cramping and abdominal pain, bloating, foul-smelling gas, diarrhea, eczema, incessant fussiness, vomiting, and constant congestion or colds." She goes on to say, "If your baby is sensitive to a food in your diet, it affects the babies ability to nurse. Muscles respond to allergic reactions, and since the tongue is a muscle, an allergic baby may have a hard time using it's tongue to suckle."

"Signs of food-sensitivity reactions include fussiness, skin rashes, red cheeks, diarrhea, vomitting and congestion. If you've eaten something that provokes a sensitive reaction in your baby, she'll probably react within 3 to 6 hours after your meal. If your baby is sensitive to citrus, it may take 1 to 4 hours for the citrus allergen to show up in your milk and only one day for the allergen to build to a level she finds intolerable."

Author Claire Martin goes on to write, "The dietary culprits that provoke sensitive reactions include milk and diary products, soy, eggs, peanuts, wheat, fish, corn, and citrus........Babies also can be sensitive, but not allergic, to other foods: Broccoli, onions, cabbage, carbonated soft drinks, and caffeinated sodas or coffee can make a sensitive baby gassy."

To find out what your baby might be reacting to, start avoiding certain foods that might make you gassy. If that doesn't help the baby, then you eliminate others foods one at a time (for 10 days to a week) until you find what foods are causing the upset in your baby. Author Claire Martin suggests a food journal of everything you eat in a day to help you findthe food culprit.

The author states, "You don't need to follow a drastic elimiation diet. Instead, cut out the most likely suspects, such as diary, wheat, and peanuts. Because certain allergen-provoking foods remain in your system and can enter your milk several days after you've consumed them, you must strictly follow elimination diets for at least 10 days." Once the baby grows out of being sensitive to certain foods you can slowly reintroduce the foods back into your diet slowly, one food at a time.

I remeber with my first baby I had to eliminate all dairy and I didn't eat broccoli, beans, peanut butter and any other foods that would make me gassy for the first year of her life. I hated seeing her in pain, arching her back and crying all of the time. I was willing to do what I had to do to help her. With my second child, I had to get off just dairy products, mainly milk because he was allergic to it. I remember at his two week or month check up the doctor said his "poop" was a different color (I remember his "poop" being a green color and having alot of mucus in it) and ran a test to see if he had blood in his "poop". There was blood in his "poop" and the doctor said that he wasn't accepting the diary and that it would take him a good year for his body to handle diary. So I had to stop drinking my chocolate milk and once I did I noticed a big difference in how he was acting and in his diapers.

She (Claire Martin, author) has a good example of a food journal in her book. You can find the book at or I am sure at your local library. It has wonderful questions and answers to anything you might want to know about breastfeeding. (Martin, pg 22-24)

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