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The Slippery Slope of Food Elimination When Trying To Get To Baseline

Free to Feed has conducted thousands of interviews with parents who have experienced infant food intolerances or allergies while breastfeeding. These personal accounts indicate several commonalities. Misdiagnosis is common at this stage due to the inability to effectively test allergies in children under one year and the wide range of symptoms.

Typically, the child will present with one or more symptoms such as:

  • Colic

  • Failure to Thrive

  • Eczema

  • Gastrointestinal Complication

  • Reflux (which is not originally attributed to food allergies)

  • & More…

As symptoms increase in severity, pediatricians and/or parents may suggest potential food allergy or intolerance. This is typically followed by a hypoallergenic formula recommendation. Medical professionals are unable to give parents specific culprits to avoid in order to continue breastfeeding, so switching to a controlled feeding method is a rational decision.

However, human milk has been scientifically proven to be superior to formula when it’s an option. Many parents strongly desire to continue their breastfeeding journey and extend the benefits for both their child and themselves.

Many parents pointed to issues such as bottle aversion, hypoallergenic formula reactions, and formula refusal as additional factors involved in continuing breastfeeding through intolerances.

This journey may not be easy but Free to Feed is here with the resources you need — backed by science! Getting to baseline is important once food intolerances or allergies are suggested. You don’t want to see your baby suffer and we completely understand.

But eliminating foods can be tricky. Let’s shed some light as to why.

What’s Happening Behind the Scenes When Removing Foods?

Parents who decide to continue breastfeeding begin the burdensome task of removing food groups that could be eliciting a response, also known as an elimination diet. The only solution for these parents is an attempted food diary. This is meant to closely examine food intake and can quickly spiral until we are only consuming a few items.

Several parents mention eating foods and waiting for reactions with the hopes of narrowing down potential culprits. This is torture and not the best way to get to baseline because not all dietary proteins enter human milk.

In one study, only 11 of 23 lactating women who consumed 50 grams of roasted peanuts had detectable levels of the major peanut allergens Ara h 1 and Ara h 2. [1] Scientists also found that in 16 lactating participants given an egg-containing muffin once daily, 25% of them did not excrete ovalbumin at any time point through the 23-day study. [2] Similarly, 54 of 80 human milk samples contained gliadin following the ingestion of a test meal with 20 grams of gluten. [3]

These findings support the frustrating dietary journaling process which is fraught with false negatives when you ingest a protein that does not cause a reaction one time and does the next.

After years of helping families, one of the first properties was to make a user-friendly app for parents to track their diet as well as their baby’s symptoms. Check out our app here to make your journey easier.

Total Elimination Diets: As Severe as it Sounds

Incredibly strict maternal consumption is also referred to as a total elimination diet (TED) by the food allergy community. Many parents have reduced their intake down to as few as 5 foods. A common example (and not one we recommend!) is chicken, mangos, coconut oil, spinach, and sweet potatoes on rotation every day, all day. Extreme dieting while chasing adverse infant reactions affects maternal nutritional and mental health — which should be a larger talking point in this space.

Since working with food allergy families, we’ve found that dietary logs are inadequate due to hidden allergens. Often, when digging deeper into intake, we discover a culprit found in a seemingly benign supplement, beverage, or seasoning.

Not eating enough while breastfeeding can lead to supply trouble. The food you eat does impact your supply, so you don’t want another thing to stress about. Usually, it’s all about the baby and we totally understand – but you need support on this journey too, from nutrition to mental health.

Without a method to directly test human milk, we will often continue to methodically cut out whole food groups without realizing that the true problem is going undetected. Answering the question of what is contained in human milk can help zero in on where it originates.

Free to Feed: The Biotechnology Company Fighting For Food Allergies

When Dr. Trill’s second daughter had food allergies and little had changed in terms of resources for parents who wished to continue breastfeeding – she did something about it. Free to Feed is on a mission to help families like you.

We understand how hard and tedious this process is and are determined to support you the best way we know how — with science.

Dr. Trill holds the first patent to pinpoint food allergies using breastmilk!

The test strips will allow parents to test for allergies in their breastmilk in the comfort of their home or office. You’ll be able to feed your baby with confidence your milk doesn’t contain one of your baby’s food triggers.

​With our app and test strips – we hope to change the infant food allergy world and make everyone’s journey easier with more support!


  1. Vadas, Peter, et al. "Detection of peanut allergens in breast milk of lactating women." Jama 285.13 (2001): 1746-1748.

  2. Palmer, D. J., M. S. Gold, and M. Makrides. "Effect of maternal egg consumption on breast milk ovalbumin concentration." Clinical & Experimental Allergy 38.7 (2008): 1186-1191.

  3. Troncone, R., et al. "Passage of Gliadin Into Human Breast Milk." Pediatric Research 20.7 (1986): 696.

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