Okay, let me preface this by saying that MOST breastfeeding moms can eat absolutely whatever they please and their babies will be JUST FINE and thinking about what foods to avoid when breastfeeding for gas, or colic, or whatever never needs to cross their minds.
However, this isn’t always the case.
Babies digestive systems are super immature, and babies may have trouble digesting certain foods. Even foods that they are getting through their mother’s breast milk.
Check out the best baby products for relieving baby gas.
When my first baby was only a couple weeks old, she had one night where she SCREAMED for about 3 hours straight at bedtime. Just 2 hours after I ate a boatload of broccoli for dinner.
This extreme fussiness had NEVER happened before, and never happened after. I am 100% convinced that it was the broccoli (and you can bet that I didn’t eat it for a long time after this episode).
I later found out that this same child (and my second) had a milk and soy protein intolerance (they couldn’t digest the dairy milk and soy proteins that were being passed through my breast milk).
My suggestion is to read this list, but to more importantly be aware of what you are eating and aware of any strange, out of the ordinary behavior from your baby.
It could just be an indicator that whatever you ate that day is causing your baby some tummy trouble.
For most breastfeeding moms, there are only three things that should be avoided.
- Alcohol- one drink per day is considered safe.
- Fish- Fish is okay in small quantities (no more than 2 servings per week).
- Caffeine- Babies cannot excrete caffeine in the same way that adults can. Limit your coffee intake to 3 cups a day.
Why Should You Alter Your Diet When Breastfeeding?
Well, sometimes it is helpful. Simple as that.
And what’s beautiful about altering your diet while breastfeeding is that
- it is temporary
- it is not negatively affecting your baby
- it could help you to avoid giving your baby medication (gas drops every night, reflux medication, eczema prescriptions, etc)
However, if your baby seems to be extraordinarily gassy, unhappy, colicky, or has acid reflux, the most common cause for all of these things is dairy. While it is not easy to cut dairy from your diet completely, it might just help your baby (and you, because a happy baby= a happy mom).
If you think that your baby might be struggling to digest cow’s milk, make sure to read more about the symptoms of a milk allergy found in babies.
What Foods To Avoid When Breastfeeding For Gas
If you’re wondering what foods to avoid when breastfeeding that cause gas, you first need to be aware that babies are inherently gassy. They have little digestive systems that are not yet fully developed. This can be normal, albeit frustrating.
There are also many other things that could be contributing to your breastfed baby’s gas that have nothing to do with your diet. (Be sure to check out those causes.)
However, in some cases there are foods that cause gas in breastfed babies (source). I talked about my experience with dairy and broccoli above.
- Broccoli, onion, cauliflower, cabbage, peppers, brussel sprouts and cucumber- you know, the vegetables that are gas-causing in adults too because they are high in fiber.
- Garlic, Cumin, Curry and Red Pepper
How To Relieve Baby Gas
Dealing with baby gas can be brutal, I know. I’ve also tried everything to alleviate my baby’s gas. These are my favorite methods:
- extra tummy time
- the Windii- a completely natural (and extremely effective) way to relieve your baby’s gas.
- Baby Probiotics- Probiotics are live bacteria that help to provide a good balance of organisms within our digestive systems. For my babies, I used Biogaia.
- Gripe Water For Gas Or Newborn Gas Drops- For my first baby, Colic Calm was a miracle. It’s super messy, but I didn’t care. It WORKED. As soon as I gave it to her, I audibly heard the gas bubbles moving through her body and then she would pass it. It was seriously amazing.
- A Warm Bath
- Baby Massage For Gas
- Bicycling Baby’s Legs
Foods To Avoid To Prevent Colic
Colic is so frustrating. I mean, who wants to be told that there is no cause or explanation of colic.
Really? No explanation? Certain babies are simply going to cry for hours on end, days on end, for no apparent reason?
Colic is still somewhat of a mystery, but might be the cause of (source):
- Spasms that occur in baby’s growing digestive system
- Food sensitivities
If your baby has colic (cries for more than 3 hours a day, for more than 3 days out of the week for more than 3 weeks), it certainly doesn’t hurt to pay a little more attention to what it is that you are eating.
After my first child was born with a milk allergy, I was extremely aware of what I ate when my second child was born. She was noticeably fussier (and gassier) after I ate meals heavy in dairy.
Anti-colic diet for breastfeeding
Pay attention to your baby’s potential reactions to the following, and while I don’t recommend that you cut all of this food from your diet (you need to eat something!), limiting these foods might be helpful.
- Citrus fruits (Tomatoes, strawberries, oranges and grapefruit)- The acidity in citrus can irritate baby’s bellies, also causing diaper rash, spitting up and fussiness.
- Egg whites
- Gassy vegetables
Foods To Avoid When Breastfeeding A Baby With Acid Reflux
Certain foods can cause heartburn in adults, therefore these same foods can trigger reflux in babies (source).
- Acidic foods- citrus, pineapple, tomato, strawberries and vinegar
- Another indicator that acidic foods might bother your baby is diaper rash.
- Spicy foods
- Carbonated beverages
- Fatty foods
- Fried foods
- Pear, Apple or Prune Juice
Foods To Avoid When Breastfeeding A Baby With Eczema
If not hereditary, eczema is likely the cause of an allergy (which could be temporary and also could be a food allergy or environmental allergy) (source).
If it is a food allergy or sensitivity that is causing your baby’s eczema, it is likely from one of the following common allergenic foods.
- Egg whites
Foods That Decrease Breast Milk Production
There are also a few foods that you should avoid (in large quantities) in order to preserve your milk production. These herbs, again in LARGE quantities, can decrease your milk supply.
- Peppermint- Some mothers drink peppermint tea when they want to start the weaning process.
While I think that knowledge is power and that it is good to know that there is POTENTIAL for these foods to cause problems with your baby, please remember that limiting your diet should only be done when absolutely necessary.
Unnecessarily limiting your diet can lead to increased stress and/or weaning early.