Your baby’s symptoms continue and you’ve cut a lot of foods out of your diet. What now? You’re at your wit’s end.
You’re ready to cut out everything and anything to find out what’s causing discomfort for your sweet baby. For a lot of food allergy parents determined to breastfeed, the next step is an elimination diet or total elimination diet (TED).
Elimination diets are when you remove anything from your diet, like cow’s milk or soy. TED’s are when you remove literally everything except a handful of foods from your diet.
Imagine eating a limited combo like lamb, olive oil, potatoes, bananas, lettuce, and green peppers. Only. For days…
The things parents do for their little ones will never cease to amaze us. But we don’t recommend doing a TED for a long period.
Elimination diets work wonderfully for certain types of families and babies, depending on the specific food sensitivities and needs of the family. Elimination diets are also extremely rough on your mental, emotional, and physical health. It’s difficult to ensure breastfeeding parents get the proper nutrients they need.
Free to Feed understands the frustration and confusion surrounding infant food allergies. We’re here to guide your family during this time with education, community, and resources to succeed!
Today, let’s look at Elimination Diets in more detail, looking at the pros and cons of this strategy to help your food allergy baby.
What's the Biggest Reason for Elimination Diets? Fast Results!
Fast results are the most appealing aspect of elimination diets for food allergy parents. You’ve tried removing dairy, soy, wheat, and still notice reactions on and off in your baby. You’re tired of seeing your little one in pain or suffering with a horrible rash, so you’re ready to cut all the foods.
Since we know food proteins don’t last weeks in your breastmilk, elimination diets can be great for babies who have multiple food allergies or for parents who are simply over the guessing game.
Limiting your diet so severely is extremely difficult — but may give you the result you’re looking for quickly. Making these sacrifices for your baby is something we admire at Free to Feed, and we want to help you succeed without so much guesswork.
While it’s so boring (and honestly, so sad) eating the same thing for days, noticing your baby’s improvement makes it all worth it. When you want to produce allergy-free breastmilk fast, elimination diets — with the right support and guidance — can get you there.
Elimination Diets Pinpoint Triggers so You Avoid Unnecessary Food Restriction
You’re not meant to follow an elimination diet forever. And you shouldn’t be doing a total elimination diet long-term either!
TED’s and elimination diets get us producing allergy-friendly breastmilk fast. When you remove all trigger food proteins from your breastmilk, your baby’s symptoms should improve.
Since most breastmilk is clear of food allergens within 24 hours, you should see improvement in your baby’s symptoms after 5 days in an elimination diet or TED. If you’ve effectively cut the right foods at the same time that are causing an issue for your baby.
When Lauren removed soy from her diet, her daughter Penelope went from 4 mucousy, bloody poops a day to ‘peanut butter poops’ every few days in about 5-7 days. We know food allergy parents love a good poop story!
But peanut butter poops aren’t baseline for every baby, read more on those precious poops here.
After the success of your TED or elimination diet, it’s time to start adding foods back in. This part feels scary because eventually you’ll find your baby’s trigger food and get a reaction. But when you find out which exact foods your baby reacts to, you find that knowledge diamond. That makes feeling pressed and confined by the elimination process worth it!
Knowing the foods you both can eat is powerful information for your food allergy journey.
After you reach baseline with your baby (don’t worry, we’ll help you get there!), reintroducing foods back into your diet is critical! Restricting your diet long-term isn’t sustainable or healthy — and you need to be healthy for your baby too.
Reintroducing foods back into your diet gives you information on what your baby can tolerate at this time. If your baby doesn’t react to chicken, then goodness, eat chicken! Elimination diets give you valuable information fast so you can move on and get back to more safe foods.
Even though your heart breaks to see a reaction in your baby, TED and elimination diets help you learn how to best feed both of you. You stop the guessing game and feel more prepared and confident. When you’re diligent in finding out exactly what you can’t eat (for now), you can continue breastfeeding successfully. And that’s the prize we’re after.
Elimination Diets May Not Be Right for Your Family or Baby
Please don’t go out and cut all 12 foods for weeks on end, or without guidance from one of our amazing team members. Our one-on-one consults inform and educate you on the different strategies to get your answers for your food allergy baby.
Elimination Diets Are Hard
Elimination diets literally eliminate nutrients from your diet! Important nutrients you, as a lactating parent, need to be healthy and feed your baby. Read more about all the nutrients found in the top 12 infant food allergies here — and make sure you’re getting what you need from other sources.
Elimination diets are tough and don’t work for every family. Personal factors range from having multiple children, job demands, other dietary restrictions, various health concerns, and on. Your mental health matters during this difficult time and it’s absolutely okay if an elimination diet isn’t the best choice for you.
Our educated, skilled team takes all of this into account when it’s time to come up with a game plan for your family and food allergy journey.
Elimination Diets Can Lead to More Anxiety
Sometimes parents find that once their baby feels better, they’re afraid to risk causing any harm or a new reaction — so they continue with TED or elimination diets. We do not recommend this for the health and safety of the parent and baby.
We know that having a food allergy baby can cause PTSD. All of this is scary stuff, from the bloody diapers to the constant throw-up. But it’s so important to reintroduce foods back into your diet. Read our popular blog on the 3 biggest reasons here.
Free to Feed Is Your Family’s Food Allergy Baby Resource
Our mission here at Free to Feed is to educate, inspire, and empower families on their food allergy journey.
Our subscription plans were created with you in mind!
As parents, you’re already dealing with sleepless nights, new schedules, and general anxieties. Navigating your baby’s food allergies doesn’t have to be so stressful when you join our community of other parents just like you. Having support during this time is so important, and you’re not alone.
You get the education you need to continue to feel empowered on your journey. Explore infant food allergy education modules and expert deep dives with outstanding masters in the field of babies.
Our valuable one-on-one consults (included in the premium subscription plan!) will give you confidence during the multiple steps in your food allergy journey. From elimination diets to reintroducing food allergies back in, Free to Feed’s got you covered. Check out our subscription plans and let us know if you’re ready for personalized support from us.