The Ins and Outs of Breastfeeding a Baby With Food Allergies
New parents often worry about many things in regards to their babies, including food allergies. Understanding the genetics of food allergies is hard, and knowing if your baby will inherit food allergies is even harder. Read our article on babies and food allergies to know if your baby may be at risk for allergies. When it comes to finding out how to breastfeed your baby with allergies, always contact your doctor to find the best way to feed your baby, as they will be able to more personally assist you.
Allergens and Breast milk
A study by Boston’s Children Hospital found breast milk when you eat allergenic foods could protect your baby from food allergies. While that may be good for babies without allergies, it is highly advised to avoid your baby’s allergen while breastfeeding. Elimination diets are generally safer than to temporarily stop eating the allergen and producing milk. Typically, symptoms will improve within a few days up to two weeks.
Boosting your babies tolerance to food allergies is easier than your might think. Catherine Field, a nutrition professor in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences, recommends that nursing mothers eat salmon, tuna, and fish oil. Breast milk has low levels of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that is believed to boost immune system development. Salmon, tuna, and fish oil all can give mother's breast milk a boost of DHA, multiplying the quantity of it by three times.
If you cannot breast feed, there are plenty of good alternatives for babies with food allergies. Please note, that is highly recommended that you breastfeed if you are able as if provides your baby with more nutrients. Some babies may struggle with eating formula before six months of age. Formula should be introduced slowly when you start feeding your baby formula. If your baby has anything besides milk allergies, you should be able to use any formula you and your doctor decide is best.
If your baby has milk allergies, there are some great alternatives out there. Soy formula is a good alternative, but eight to fourteen percent of babies with milk allergies can react to soy. Animo acid based formula is a good alternative as well. Partially Hydrolyzed formulas are easier to digest than most formulas. It may still trigger milk and soy allergies so always talk to your doctor about formulas. Keep in mind that the more hydrolyzed the formula, the less tasty it is for babies.
If your baby is starting to show signs of allergies, contact your doctor. Always talk to your doctor about food allergy concerns.
Are you an expecting mother or have breast fed a baby with food allergies? Comment below and share your stories and tips with us!