At some point in those early months of motherhood, your seemingly happy baby might morph into an inconsolable, fidgety, downright miserable person on a sleeping strike. What the heck happened? Is it teething? Colic? A permanent personality quirk that will never, ever end? Please, please tell me what to do, you’ll mutter to your non-verbal infant, who wails right back. And so you’ll do what any modern mom does: Take your weary self to the nearest Facebook group, where you’ll inevitably hear this advice: “It’s an allergy. Go on a breastfeeding elimination diet.”
Now, maybe that’s true. If your baby’s fussiness (which is normal and could be caused by a slew of reasons) is also accompanied by projectile spit-up, vomit, a rash, or congestion, then it might be allergy related. But not likely.
“Food sensitivities in breastfed babies are not nearly as common as many breastfeeding mothers have been led to think,” Kelly Bonyata, the board-certified lactation consultant behind the popular breastfeeding resource KellyMom.com, wrote on her site. “Research tells us that the quality of a mother’s diet has little influence on her milk. Nature is very forgiving — mother’s milk is designed to provide for and protect even in times of hardship and famine. A poor diet is more likely to affect the mother than her breastfed baby.” Bonyata said there isn’t a strict list of no-no nursing foods because “most nursing mothers can eat anything they want, and because the babies who are sensitive to certain foods are each unique — what bothers one may not bother another.”
And yet Dr. Sears, a popular pediatric guru with a devoted following of parents, has a strict breastfeeding elimination diet designed for babies whose colic might be triggered by something their mom’s eating. (It consists of a generally bland and restricted diet — heavy on rice-based products and spice-less foods — and lasts for at least two weeks). Even Bonyata and the experts at La Leche League agree that in some rare cases, your baby might be allergic to something you’re eating. If that’s the case, here are some basic tips to start a breastfeeding elimination diet.