Learning to Take Care of You While Making Allergy-Free Breastmilk for Your Baby
If you or your loved one is breastfeeding a baby with food allergies, you already know how important it is to find the culprit that’s making your little one ill. Elimination diets give us insight really quickly. Rather than cutting one food at a time and waiting for the effect, you stop eating all top 12 infant food allergies to get results fast.
While it’s hard to eliminate so many foods at once, finding the trigger food fast can be worth it. And once you know it doesn’t take weeks for proteins to leave your breastmilk, it seems doable. Anything for your sweet babe, right?
If you go this route, you know you’re producing allergen-friendly breastmilk because you’re only eating a handful of different foods — ones that aren’t among those pesky top 12 infant food allergies. And you’ve got noticeable improvement in your baby – yay!
But now, it’s time to start adding foods back into your diet. Cue the anxiety and scary music. Many struggle with this aspect of their baby’s food allergy journey because once you notice improvement or reach a baseline, fear of causing a reaction again rears up.
That’s quite literally the last thing you want to do. You’ve worked hard and significantly limited your diet for your baby. We have plenty of other reasons to have guilt, so let’s not add another one to the list!
Dr. Trill, with years of experience helping parents like you, understands the struggle of adding foods back in after elimination diets. Dr. Trill herself was on a very strict diet — for way too long — for the same reason: Fear.
Here at Free to Feed, we want to empower you on your journey and help you reach your breastfeeding goals. It IS possible to breastfeed through your baby’s food allergies or intolerances. And adding foods back into your diet supports your success. We’ll break down a few common misconceptions and show you why.
#1: Eating Enough Calories For Your Breastmilk Supply
You're breastfeeding, so your body’s working hard to continuously provide nutrients for your baby through your breastmilk. That’s why you’re hungry all the time.
To successfully feed your baby AND yourself, you need to eat enough calories for your body to produce nutrient-dense breastmilk. (Assuming your baby latches fine and doesn’t have any other health issues going on).
During an elimination diet or directly after, the task of fueling up on calories is challenging, to say the least. Sufficient calorie intake is the first reason to begin adding foods back into your diet once your baby’s at baseline or improving. Look at every new food as a chance to get more healthy calories in — not a daunting threat that might cause a reaction in your baby.
We know it’s scary to think of your baby hurting again. But you also have to think of yourself, Mama. Taking care of yourself IS taking care of your baby.
Studies show that the average woman needs an extra 450-500 calories when breastfeeding. You need more calories while breastfeeding, but your baby has food allergies. So rather than eating more, you’re eating less with an elimination diet.
It’s imperative to keep striving to reintroduce foods back into your diet. Every food that your baby doesn’t have a sensitivity to is a food that provides you both with nutrients. Calories are the first reason to add foods back in, and nutrients are the second!
#2: Getting the Right Nutrients in Your Diet While Breastfeeding
Maybe you’re okay only eating a handful of different foods or food groups. But we care enough to tell you: continuing to live like that isn’t healthy — for you or your baby. The top 12 infant food allergies cut out a lot of great nutrient sources for a healthy parent and baby.
Studies link what we eat when breastfeeding and the number of nutrients passing into breastmilk. When you lack specific nutrients like vitamin B (not folate), vitamin A, selenium, or iodine, it strongly affects the nutrients your baby gets from your breastmilk.
We’re doing all this for our babies, right? Well, if you want to take better care of your baby, the best place to start is to take better care of yourself! Elimination diets aren’t sustainable for long periods, and it’s not healthy for you, a breastfeeding individual — to continue restricting your diet so heavily.
Read more from us on the importance of your nutrition here. You’ll receive more guidance on how to get nutrients you may be lacking during an elimination diet. Don’t get confused though! We want you to eat more food after an elimination diet helps you find your baby’s trigger foods.
Key Nutrients You Miss with Elimination Diets:
Vitamins A, B, C, D, and E
We’ll stop now...
Do you see how elimination diets can leave your body depleted of key nutrients? It’s one more thing you have to think about... we know. We’re here to help and we understand.
Do the elimination diet if that’s what’s recommended. But make sure you start to gradually add essential nutrients back into your diet the easy way – through the foods you can eat!
Elimination diets solve a problem fast and get results. Once you’ve identified the trigger allergens, it’s time to move past the fear and eat the food. If your baby reacts, it’s okay — it gives you further information on what foods you do need to continue to avoid.
#3: You Need to Know What Foods Your Baby Reacts To
Food allergies in breastfed babies are no walk in the park. Allowing more foods in your diet, you can begin to understand which trigger foods your baby is sensitive to.
Studies show that early introduction of certain foods can decrease the chance of your baby developing true IgE-mediated allergies later in life. Around twenty years ago peanuts were not recommended for babies until they were around 3 years of age. Now evidence shows introducing peanuts before 12 months of age could possibly reduce the risk of peanut allergy.
Other studies find that introducing a heated egg between 6-8 months of age may reduce the risk of egg allergy. So, you need the foods back in your diet to understand what your baby reacts to and how serious it is. While it feels scary, you get more information to work with — and potentially less to worry about.
Science is great and all, but sometimes it’s confusing. Other studies show early introduction doesn’t change anything! More research needs to be done for conclusive standards, and when it is, we’ll let you know!
In the meantime, we strongly recommend reintroducing food, gently and methodically, after an elimination diet — and we’re here to give you individual care if you want it.
If You Feel Overwhelmed, Free to Feed Is Here For YOU
Our mission is to empower families to continue breastfeeding through their infant’s food allergies or intolerances. Elimination diets don’t work for everyone. But for those who choose this route – you need to add foods back in; it’s as simple as that.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or lost, we understand. Free to Feed offers knowledgeable and individualized care for families just like yours. Our personal journeys and professional passion make us an incredible resource. So consider a one-on-one consult.
Free to Feed offers a MasterClass to help families with all things baby food allergy and elimination diet-related. The MasterClass provides experts in the field and helpful information on elimination diets and reintroducing foods to you and your baby. You can complete it at your own pace!
Hang in there! You really ARE doing great! Now go eat food you haven’t in a while, and enjoy it! You’re taking care of yourself and your precious little one.