Many parents struggle in their breastfeeding journey. We know breast milk an amazing option for our babies – yet the support and guidance are lacking significantly. Another huge issue is the amount of misinformation regarding breastfeeding and newborn babies.
Why does society make it even harder on families by sharing misinformation?
This is more prevalent when infant food allergies are involved. The journey of parenthood is hard enough. Throw in baby food reactivity and your world just turned upside down.
Free to Feed is here to educate and support you. Below we’ll debunk common lies breastfeeding parents are told. We will flip the script to empower everyone through their breastfeeding journey!
1) MYTH: The Food You Eat Does Not Transfer to Your Breast Milk
FACT: Many scientific publications, dating back before the 70s, show that this is false. Maternal food proteins can and do transfer to breast milk. This myth leads to parents assuming that it must be their breast milk eliciting a response and they unnecessarily stop nursing.
When we stop nursing it can interfere with breastmilk supply and the baby returning to the breast. Your baby is not allergic to your breast milk! Reactivity to breast milk in incredibly rare and caught at the hospital immediately after birth due to the mass amounts of complications it creates. Instead, your baby is reacting to a specific type or types of protein source that is transferring to your breast milk.
Check out our IG post on this topic for a list of publications showing that specific portions of what we eat CAN and DO transfer to our breast through the circulatory system! This post also gives helpful information on how professionals can discuss this with families in a way that is supportive and empowering.
2) MYTH: Ingested Food Proteins Stay in Your Breast Milk for Weeks
FACT: Research shows that a serving of peanut, cow’s milk, wheat, egg, and more all peak around 2-4 hours post-ingestion and steadily decrease after that. This results in breast milk that is typically clear of reactivity-inducing protein concentrations after 24 hours.
This myth leads to the end of breastfeeding for many because their milk will “poison” their baby for weeks and any accidental exposures are incredibly stressful. It’s hard to know what to do because even some medical providers recommend women to stop breastfeeding to “clear” their system of food proteins.
This means, those who want to continue breastfeeding their baby with food allergies switch to formula and continue to pump to not lose their supply. Talk about adding a lot more to the parent's plate – and for no reason!
We believe in science-based facts and this myth honestly drives us crazy because we know the truth. This lead to unnecessary stress on families who are trying to help their babies.
Read more on our blog, What is the Truth About How Long Proteins Last In Your Breast Milk here.
Or for all the super sciencey research on this topic with published references visit our page True/False here.
3) MYTH: Colic is Normal in Breastfeeding Babies
FACT: While some crying is normal for infants, continuous crying is a red flag that there is often an underlying issue.
Colic is generally defined as crying for 3 or more hours per day, at least 3 days a week, for at least 3 weeks. Many parents are told colic improves around 3-4 months of age.
But we’re breaking out of that outdated theory. Because we believe you know if something is wrong with your baby!
There is no definitive answer for why colic occurs in some babies and not others but the top possible contributing factors include:
Lip or Tongue-tie
Undeveloped digestive tract
Infant food reactivity
Imbalance of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract
Baby food allergies or intolerances made the list, yet many parents struggle to get answers or solutions for their babies with food allergies. You’ll also notice the trend of digestive issues behind colic. If you aren't sure whether your baby's stool is normal, definitely check out our popular Diaper Decipher resource!
We’re grateful for experts like Dr. Maryanne Tranter who specializes in helping families with babies suffering from colic. Watch our Instagram Live where we dive in all about colic.
Colic is commonly not a diagnosis, but a symptom that should be investigated. This leads to infants being in unnecessary pain, leaving families exhausted and confused.
4) MYTH: Probiotics Are the Answer to Your Baby’s Gastrointestinal Issues
FACT: While probiotics can be powerful tools, they can often cause more problems than they solve for babies with food intolerances or allergies. There are many “unknowns” when it comes to probiotics.
First, as supplements, they’re not regulated as strictly as food or medication which can lead to an increased possibility of hidden allergens such as cow’s milk protein (dairy) and soy. Not all babies react to “hidden” allergens (those from derivatives less likely to be clearly labeled) but for the ones that do – this can make your hard work of eliminating the food out of your diet go to waste.
Second, probiotics may mask actual food reactivity symptoms. Masking symptoms can lead to continued exposure to the trigger food when the best course of action is avoidance. You don’t want to put a bandaid on your breastfeeding baby with food allergies, you want to solve the problem.
Read more about the benefits and possible downsides of probiotics here.
5) MYTH: Formula Is the Only Option When Your Baby Has Food Allergies
FACT: Thousands continue to breastfeed through infant food allergies. Determining the trigger and continuing to breastfeed by eliminating that food is a viable option. It can be hard thinking your breastmilk is hurting your baby but you have to remember all – and we mean ALL the benefits of breastfeeding.
For many, formula is not an option. Babies may react to elemental formula, reject either bottles or the formula outright when trying to quickly switch from breast milk. Learn more about finding the right hypoallergenic formula in our blog!
Read about how parents can navigate elimination diets here.
Trust Free to Feed™ To Provide You With The Information You Need to Continue Breastfeeding Your Baby With Food Allergies
Surely, we can all do better to empower parents to continue breastfeeding through infant food allergies. While there are always instances where formula is best for maternal and infant well-being, we encourage that it should be done with full disclosure of helpful and realistic facts.
This is why we are pushing breast milk and infant reactivity research forward! Free to Feed has created the first-ever test strip to detect allergens in breast milk at home. Join the waitlist for the product WE wish we had while breastfeeding through food allergies!
Giving parents the knowledge they need to make educated decisions should always be the goal. Free to Feed is here to help you on your journey breastfeeding your baby with food allergies or intolerances. If you would like personalized and loving support through navigating food reactivity, schedule a one on one with our food allergy experts here. You are not alone and you are doing an AMAZING job!
Join our email list to keep up-to-date with all things baby food allergy!