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Your Nutrition: Breastfeeding Babies with Food Allergies

You've decided to cut out some or all the top 12 infant food allergies to continue breastfeeding. Your baby will have the nutrients they need to thrive while not being exposed to foods that cause an immune response and the horrible symptoms all parents dread.


But what about you? What about your nutrition?


It goes back to the old motto about putting your oxygen mask on before helping others on a plane. It’s impossible to properly care for your children if you’re not taking care of yourself. It’s realistic and even likely, that removing entire subsets of food from your diet may leave you depleted of proper nutrients.



Here at Free to Feed, we want to explore the possible downsides of removing each of the top twelve infant food allergies and what you can do nutritionally to make up for it. ​


The Number One Baby Food Allergy: Dairy aka Cow’s Milk Protein


Dairy is also known as cow’s milk protein in the infant food allergy world. And all the products created from it are a staple in most women’s diets for calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, D, and B12. Unfortunately, cow’s milk protein can also be incredibly hard for infants to digest, typically making it the first suspect of baby food allergies when symptoms arise.


Many milk alternatives are now available which offer several of the same benefits, including those from pea protein, oats, almonds, and coconut.


The best dietary sources of calcium are:

  • Seeds (chia, sesame, poppy)

  • Beans

  • Dark leafy greens

  • Figs

  • Almonds

Plus, foods such as sweet potatoes, white beans, beets, spinach, and bananas can be great substitutes for obtaining many of the nutrients found in milk.


Soy

Soybeans are high in protein, vitamin C, folate, iron, and magnesium. Unfortunately, these nutrients can be significantly reduced depending on how the plant is processed. The best alternative to find these vitamins and minerals (plus more!) is avocado. This funny fruit contains vitamins C, E, K, and B6 in addition to folate, magnesium, and potassium. While it does not contain high levels of protein, it’s a great source of healthy fats.


Eggs

Interestingly, eggs are one of the few foods which naturally contain vitamin D. Lutein and zeaxanthin are also found in eggs and these carotenoids are essential for eye health.


Top foods with these three nutrients consist of:

  • Kale

  • Spinach

  • Swiss chard

  • Green peas


Wheat

If you look specifically at whole wheat, you will find that it provides selenium, manganese, phosphorus, copper, and more important nutrients for breastfeeding parents.


Let’s dig into selenium since we haven’t covered it yet. This mineral is vital to a healthy metabolism and thyroid function as well as containing protective properties from oxidative stress.

Other ways to get selenium in your diet while breastfeeding your baby with food allergies or intolerances are from meat sources.


Meats high in selenium include:

  • Pork

  • Beef

  • Turkey

  • Chicken



Corn

Corn is considered a cereal grain and vegetable. Corn is often refined and put in other products like tortillas, chips, cornflour, and oil. Refined corn changes the nutrients and vitamin components when processed.


Whole grain corn is rich in fiber, carbohydrates, and contains many vitamins and nutrients including:

  • Fiber

  • Magnesium

  • Zinc

  • Vitamin B6