Breastfeeding Through Infant Food Allergies
Having a baby is such a joyful and heart-exploding experience. You and your loved ones finally get to hold them after a long 9 months of waiting. Suddenly nothing else in the world is more important than the health and happiness of your little bundle.
You’d do anything to keep them from harm and give them the best that this world has to offer.
Then you find out you’ll have to drastically change your diet because your baby has infant food allergies or intolerances. At first, you go back to that mentality of, “I’ll do anything to help my baby.”
Then you start reading labels...
Your kitchen is now empty and you're breastfeeding, so of course, you’re hungry all the time. Now on top of having a baby, maybe other kids too, you’re also dealing with a major diet overhaul.
So, you turn to every new parent's best friend: Google. You want the research and science-based facts on what to do to give you and your baby some relief.
This is how Free to Feed was found.
Dr. Trill, a molecular biologist, has two daughters that had severe infant food allergies. By the time she had her second, she was extremely disappointed to find that this issue wasn’t being researched. So she took it upon herself to create a space filled with accurate information and empathy for those breastfeeding infants with food allergies.
Free to Feed's mission runs on three main principles: Educate, Inspire, & Empower Food Allergy Families!
From the lack of research, resources, and support, to the fast-food world we live in – what we’re doing matters and we’re glad you’re here with us.
1. There Is a Lack of Research on Infant Food Allergies or Intolerances
If you’ve been to the pediatrician’s office again and again only to get the same wishy-washy answers – then you know how frustrating it is to find answers for you and your baby.
If you’ve already had a baby then you know the lack of research on this topic. If this is your first baby then you’re likely struggling to find solid answers for all your questions.
Does my baby need to see a pediatric GI specialist?
Do I take them to see an allergist?
Does this cause long-term damage to my baby?
Why do infant food allergies or intolerances happen?
Even in specialty areas for infants, it can be challenging to find the right food triggers and answers for your baby.
This is one reason why Free to Feed’s mission is so essential. There is not enough medical research about infant food intolerances or allergies.
But Free to Feed is changing that.
We’re happy to say Dr. Trill is currently conducting the first study looking at cow’s milk and soy protein at different doses in breastmilk!
This is exciting on so many levels. These studies will give her information on how long both, dairy and soy proteins are lasting in breastmilk. It’s also helping her develop the first-ever Freedom strips for breastfeeding mothers with babies that have food allergies or intolerances. Freedom strips will allow mothers to test their breastmilk in real-time for certain proteins present!
Have you ever seen the alcohol breastmilk strips where you can test your milk to be sure it’s safe after having a drink or two? It works similarly but with proteins found in the breastmilk that could be causing your baby symptoms. Freedom strips will be more valuable as time goes on since the number of infant allergies is growing.
2. The Number of Infant Allergies Is on the Rise
Free to Feed is taking on a serious, important mission to help mothers breastfeeding infants with food allergies or intolerances. There are two main types of infant allergies: IgE and non-IgE. Read more on the difference on our blog What You Need to Know About Infant Food Allergies.
The amount of infant IgE-mediated food allergies has followed a significant increase in recent decades. This particular study only mentions IgE-mediated allergies, which is not as common as non-IgE.
In a study with almost 3000 infants, it was found that more than 10% of 1-year old infants had challenge proven IgE-mediated food allergies to one of the most common foods infants are allergic to. Challenge proven means these infants were part of an oral food challenge after a skink-prick test showed a sensitivity of a protein.  So, they ate certain food proteins, and a reaction was noted – proving an allergic reaction to those food proteins.
The most common infant IgE-mediated allergies are from:
Cow’s Milk Protein
Issues of food allergies continue to grow. More mothers and babies are affected by this every day. Considering the lack of research in this area, the growing number of IgE-mediated allergies is concerning.
Moms want answers.
Dads want answers.
Families need answers.
We need to eat!
We understand and we’re determined to find more answers for you. We know what it’s like to have your heart set on breastfeeding and the thought of cutting that early can hurt your heart.
3. The Benefits of Breastfeeding Your Baby
There’s a reason why mothers who have babies with food allergies or intolerances do what we do. We could easily switch to the expensive formulas and call it a day. But we believe in the benefits of breastfeeding and are determined to continue breastfeeding – even if we feel like a milk machine the first few months.
Human milk contains hundreds to thousands of distinct molecules that protect against  :
Contribute to immune maturation
Healthy microbial colonization
The benefits of breastfeeding have been studied time and time again. And they continue to show it’s the best choice for infants. It’s fascinating that breast milk is unique to the infants nutritional composition and healthy development of the baby.  Breast milk changes with every feeding and caters to your baby – pretty neat!
Free to Feed knows the challenges families face when trying to nurse through allergies or intolerances and our mission is to help you!
We’re also here for families who don’t have the option of breastfeeding and we support everyone on their feeding journey. The last thing we need in this world is more guilt.
4. Postpartum Depression Is a Serious Mental Health Issue
Having a baby is tough work but some may say taking care of a newborn is even harder. Add in a food allergy or intolerances and the stress piles up. Postpartum depression (PPD) is a serious health issue.
Some studies suggest that PPD is diagnosed between 10-20% of postpartum parents. But it’s also been found to be an undiagnosed/underdiagnosed medical issue, with some estimations that over 50% of PPD goes undiagnosed. 
You’re trying your best to take care of your precious baby – but it’s hard. Breastfeeding alone is hard work. Then add changing your whole diet, having to cook the majority of your food at home, and having to read every single label. It’s downright stressful.
Numerous factors come into play with PPD, such as medical history and support systems. One way that we hope to help with here at Free to Feed is support. We want to support you on your journey breastfeeding your infant with food allergies or intolerances, so you are Free to Feed.
While we hope to help you to be Free to Feed, you still might not be able to eat that cheeseburger and fries like you want to.
5. Our Fast-Food Paced World Doesn’t Help Your Family
Remember when you could just order a pizza or have your husband pick up take-out on the way home? Those days don’t exist when you have an infant with food allergies or intolerances.
You’re reading every label.
You’re cooking at home.
You’re special ordering products, so you can attempt to make something close to alfredo.
Eating is different.
The world we live in has been go go go for a while now. But if you want to look at a silver lining dealing with this issue: you’re definitely eating healthier.
Fast-food consumption and out-of-home eating is a main risk factor for  :
Lower quality diet
High Fat intake
Lower macronutrient density foods
And if you’re eating healthier, your baby is eating healthier.
While it’s a struggle to change so many of your eating habits, it can be better for the whole family. And remember, this doesn’t last forever in the majority of cases. You’ll be able to order pizza again someday.
Check out our page on helpful substitution foods here.
Our Mission at Free to Feed Supports You
Free to Feed is a medical technology company dedicated to finding solutions for families with food reactivity in their infants. We’re here to support you and help you during this difficult and confusing season of your family’s lives.
We know the struggles and heartache this can bring and we want you to know you’re not alone. We’re building something special here and we’re glad you're on this journey with us. Check out our services to support your next steps here.