Can babies be allergic to a mother’s breast milk?


Can babies be allergic to a mother’s breast milk?

It is not really possible for the breast milk to cause baby allergies. But  the baby can be allergic to the proteins in the breast milk, coming from the mother’s diet. The most common allergen is cow’s milk. It can cause gassy and colic reactions or can go to even such severe allergy symptoms as bloody diapers.

Baby allergic to protein in the breast milk

If the baby is sensitive to cow’s milk protein in the breast milk, the only way to confirm this is by eliminating all dairy products from the breastfeeding mother’s diet for at least two weeks, or longer, to allow time for the bowels to heal and all dairy traces from the system to disappear. Eliminating dairy products means avoiding milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream and packaged products that contain casein or whey protein. Occasionally babies are sensitive to other foods in mom’s diet, but again, the best way to confirm this is by a two-week ‘no-dairy diet’. If there is no results of ‘no-dairy’ diet, the breastfeeding mother should consider a more severe diet, called ‘elimination diet’. It consists of eliminating everything that could be the allergen for the system and start with only four products considered the least allergic: rice, pear, squash and turkey. Then, add a new food every four days. And observe.

Quality of breast milk

If the diet is severely restricted and there are no results the baby is probably not sensitive to the foods in breastfeeding mom’s diet. There may be other concerns, such as breast milk oversupply, which can sometimes cause bowel problems and occasionally even blood in baby’s diaper. Babies of breastfeeding mothers with oversupply frequently have bowel problems because the breasts produce excessive amount of milk and the baby gets often too much of the  foremilk (first milk with lower fat) than hindmilk. Hindmilk is the higher fat milk that comes later in the feeding. Because the fat in the milk helps to slow digestion, the baby who receives more foremilk than hindmilk may experience very rapid digestion. This would allow some of the lactose, a milk sugar, into the bowel undigested. Once in the bowel, lactose creates irritation that often leads to gassiness and explosive, sometimes green bowel movements. Irritation also further disorders the bowel’s ability to manage the lactose, creating a situation that often gets progressively worse. This bowel irritation sometimes becomes so severe it can cause bloody stools. Whatever the cause of the baby’s bloody stools, breast milk is usually the best choice for most babies experiencing a digestive problems. Always breast milk is better tolerated and easier to digest than artificial baby formula.

Consulting the specialist

To be appropriately evaluated for intolerance  to  foods in mother’s milk, breast milk oversupply, or any breastfeeding concerns, you should always consult a board certified lactation consultant and pediatrician. They can provide a complete evaluation and offer solutions.


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