Getting the diagnosis of baby food allergies or intolerances can feel overwhelming. There are so many questions and unfortunately – so many unknowns. You can’t help but speculate about reasons why this happened – even though medical professionals can’t pin-point it.
Scientific evidence is lacking in understanding baby food allergies and intolerances. There’s some interesting data on delivery method playing a role in how they react to food.
There is evidence that babies born by C-section have a higher chance of health issues. But Free to Feed is here to help breastfeeding parents who have babies with food allergies or intolerances.
So today, we’re giving you the science on what we know about C-sections and baby food sensitivities. We’ll be going over three main topics including, the baby’s gut, immune system, and the parent's age at birth.
Weird Ways That C-Sections Can Change Your Baby’s Gut
It’s a little strange to think that how your baby comes into the world can change their gut– but it’s true. The two ways babies come out are very different.
During a natural birth, the baby’s traveling through the birth canal. Sharing more bodily fluids – we’re talking vaginal and fecal fluids here people.
You’d think the baby is at more risk of coming into contact with certain bacteria but this is good for them.
This “good” bacteria transfers to the newborn and travels to their gastrointestinal tract and stimulates their immune system.  Stimulating the immune system is a healthy normal reaction. This allows your newborn baby, now in the outside world, to build immunities and collect beneficial microbes for their tiny little bellies. This helps them with digestion and other intestinal processes.
Science shows that babies delivered by C-section have a delayed reaction in gut colonization compared to babies born naturally. Gut colonization means creating a healthy environment inside their little bellies so everything works properly. C-sections decrease the variety of bacteria that are necessary for proper gut development, which may cause food sensitivity. 
When you think about the different births, a C-section is in a much more sterile environment – since they mainly take place in an operating room. The baby doesn’t go down the birth canal and isn’t exposed to all the good bacteria when he or she is surgically removed.
A lot of women don’t plan on having C-sections, especially the first time around. But sometimes it’s necessary for the health of the baby or parent. And if you’re dealing with food allergies or intolerances now, it’s best to keep moving forward instead of getting stuck in the past.
Mama, don’t read this the wrong way. YOU are an amazing, life-giving, loving, nurturing, goddess – no matter how you gave birth. Don’t let anyone tell you differently!
There are ways to improve your baby’s gut health and one of those ways is breastfeeding. This is one reason Free to Feed is helping nursing families with babies who have food allergies. Read more from us about why our mission is important here.
Just like a baby’s belly is important for their digestion, their immune system is critical to their health. Let’s take a look at how the immune system changes in C-section babies.
How Your Baby’s Gut Plays an Important Role in Their Immune System
If you ended up needing a C-section now you know your baby has different bacteria in their gut. Their gut also plays a role in their immune system. The immune system is complex and helps our bodies fight off infections, viruses, and environmental hazards. Data shows that babies born by C-section have increased risks of certain health issues, related to the immune system.
Babies born by C-section have an increased risk of: 
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
One thought on why this occurs is that the baby experiences different stress levels with the different types of birth. Not only is the baby missing out on parent's good bacteria coming out naturally, but the stress levels of a C-section can affect the baby.
During a vaginal delivery, contractions and fetal responses cause an increase in cortisol which signals for the immune system to mature. 
Cortisol is a steroid hormone that helps us in times of stress. Maybe you’ve heard the term fight or flight? That’s cortisol.
Vaginal births allow slow increases of stress as contractions get stronger during labor. Whereas a C-section causes immediate stress to the baby. These two different birth types change how a baby’s immune system matures right from the start.
So your tiny baby’s little immune system is affected by their birth route. And we know breastfeeding improves their immune health, which is why Free to Feed is here for you. Another way babies are changing is they’re being born to older mamas.
Your Age Can Increase Chances of Allergies or Intolerances
It’s been shown that women are having children later in life. Women giving birth over the age of 30 have increased but decreased in women under 30 in recent years.  There’s evidence that a parent's age has an impact on baby food allergies or intolerances.
One study showed that families of food-allergic children had approximately 3 times higher odds if the parent was 30 or older at the time of delivery. 
Interestingly, those of us who have babies over 30 are more likely to have a C-section than younger parents. It makes you scratch your head.
Was it my C-section that caused food allergies in my baby?
Was it my age at birth?
Neither or Both?
Regardless of what caused your baby’s allergies or intolerances – Free to Feed is here to support you on your nursing journey. We know it isn’t easy to change your diet and have the patience to see results in your little one. We’re on our way to give you products to help this time of your life.
Main Points About C-Sections and Baby Allergies
Whether you had an emergency C-section or a planned one makes a big difference for your little one’s health.
There is no shame in any birth story. The most important part is that you and your baby are healthy.
The more knowledge we have on how C-sections may impact babies with food sensitivities, the more we can find ways to help families and babies. And we know, breastfeeding can help your baby – adding more good bacteria to your baby’s belly from your breastmilk. Ahhh yes, the liquid gold.
We want you to know we’re here to help you on your breastfeeding journey. Dr. Trill and the Free to Feed team is working hard at finding solutions and products to help families during this stage of life.
Schedule a one-on-one consultation today to learn more about how we can help your family.