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Q's and A's:
BABIES SENSITIVE TO WHAT MOM IS EATING?
How common is it for babies to be sensitive to what mom is eating?
Also, what is the usual time frame for a baby to get gassy after
mom has eaten something "wrong?" I am trying to figure out what
my 2 week old daughter is reacting to, if in fact it is something
I have eaten. Thanks so much :) Heather
from the foods you eat can appear in your milk anywhere from 1-24
hours after ingestion, with the average being 4-6 hours, depending
on a number of factors. These include the type of food, the amount
ingested, your individual metabolism, how often your baby is nursing,
The good news is that chances are that you don't need to worry
about it anyway. The main food known to appear in breastmilk and
cause problems for babies is the cow's milk protein in dairy products,
and then it's only in babies who are allergic to dairy already.
It is estimated that between 2-7 % of babies have a sensitivity
to dairy products. These babies often have a family history of
allergies, and they are still much better off on breastmilk than
on formula. The solution for these sensitive babies is for the
mother to reduce or eliminate dairy products rather than switch
to formula, because at least half of the babies who are sensitive
to cow's milk are also allergic to soy based formulas. If you
have a problem with dairy, for instance, the foreign proteins
from cow's milk present in your own milk can cause problems for
your baby. But there's a good chance your baby will not be sensitive
to these foods later in life if the baby is breastfed.
are no special dietary rules to follow during lactation. If your
eating habits are fairly healthy, there is no reason to change
them while you are nursing. There are no special foods to avoid,
or certain foods that you need to eat in order to produce a plentiful
supply of nutritious breastmilk. With rare exceptions, nursing
mothers can eat pretty much anything they want to eat - including
chocolate, broccoli, pizza, and diet soda - in moderation.
dietitians and lactation experts feel that one advantage to breastfeeding
may be that the milk is flavored by the foods the mother eats,
so the baby becomes used to a variety of taste sensations, and
tends to have fewer feeding problems as he gets older.
probably heard that eating "gassy" foods like cabbage, beans,
or broccoli will make your baby gassy. I believe that this is
one of many "old wives tales," because gas is produced when bacteria
in the intestine interact with the intestinal fiber. Neither gas
nor fiber can pass into breastmilk, even when you have gas.
it is possible for a baby to be sensitive to a food in his mother's
diet, he is much more likely to react to a food given to him directly.
I suspect that most mothers who swear that they can't eat (pizza,
Mexican food, broccoli, cabbage, beans, chocolate, etc.) while
they are nursing are actually overreacting to their baby's normal
behavior on any given day. There is a natural tendency for nursing
mothers to attribute every little thing their babies do to nursing.
ALL babies (whether breast or bottle-fed) have days when they
are gassy, fussy, and spit up. Some babies have sensitive digestive
systems, and no matter what you feed them, they will experience
bouts of intestinal upsets. When you are nursing, you start to
think "…he's so gassy today…must be something I ate…yep, I had
pizza for dinner last night…that must be it. I can't eat pizza
from now on." When taken to extremes, this sort of thinking can
lead to a diet of nothing but boiled chicken and rice. The one
thing you can be sure of is that there is nothing you can put
into a sensitive infant's stomach that will be easier to digest
majority of two-week old babies will have a certain amount of
gas just because they are newborns and their digestive systems
are not very mature. All babies are gassy sometimes, and they
all outgrow it. It's a stage that many babies go through, and
gets better with time. If you feel that the gas is excessive and
is causing problems, here are some suggestions you may want to
- Some moms
swear by "peppermint water." Dissolve a peppermint lifesaver
in a couple of ounces of water and offer a few drops when she's
fussy. Peppermint has been used to "settle the stomach" for
many years, and I can't imagine that that tiny amount would
do any harm.
- Make sure
that she finishes one breast (usually 15-20 minutes) before
switching to the other side. You want to make sure she gets
enough of the fatty hindmilk, and not too much of the foremilk
(that's the milk that comes out at the beginning of the feeding
- it has less fat and more sugar, and can make the baby gassy).
If you have tons and tons of milk, try nursing on one breast
at a time instead of offering both. If she wants to nurse again
in less than an hour or two, put her back on the same breast.
Try burping him often. Breastfed babies don't swallow as much
air as bottle-fed babies, but it is still important to try to
get her to burp.
- Try these
soothing techniques: fold her legs up to his stomach in a bicycle
motion; lay her face down on your forearm with her head held
in the crook of your hand, and use your free hand to rub and
pat her back; take a warm bath with her; put a hot water bottle
filled with warm water or a heating pad set on low under her
tummy while you lay her down on your lap and rub her back.
- Some studies
have shown that simethicone (the active ingredient in Mylicon
drops) is no more effective than a placebo in treating colic,
even though pediatricians have recommended it for years to relieve
gassiness in colicky babies. The medication is harmless, relatively
inexpensive, and available over-the-counter, so it may be worth
trying - but if it seems to help, it may be due to the placebo
effect: the babies improve because the parents think the medicine
will work, and not because of the treatment itself.
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- Yes? No?
I think that you can have a cup of coffee of a coke without thinking
twice about it. Studies have shown that very little of the caffeine
ingested by nursing mothers appeared in their milk, and the tiny
bit that did appear didn't have any apparent effect on the baby's
heart rate or sleep patterns.
What do you think about caffeine (cup of coffee or a coke) getting
into milk? If it does affect the baby, how long after my drinking
it would that be? (My baby nurses frequently and is 9 weeks old.)
approved by the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) for use by
nursing mothers. The average cup of coffee contains 100-150 mg
of caffeine, so if you drink 5 cups of coffee or less each day,
your baby will get less than 3 mg per kg a day. The caffeine peaks
in your milk about an hour after you drink the beverage, but the
levels are so low that they rarely cause any problems.
babies and newborns eliminate caffeine and other substances from
their milk more slowly than older babies, so mothers of tiny babies
may want to limit their intake accordingly.
baby is nine weeks old and healthy, then I would advise you to
enjoy your soda and coffee and cross caffeine off your list of
things to worry about.
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