|Posted by Stacy on January 3, 2011 at 3:05 AM|
Breastfeeding, as we all have heard and read, is the best for your baby. I don't want to make this post about another "breast is best" lecture. I want to debunk a myth. You have to avoid gassy foods, so baby isn't gassy. I'm referencing an article I recently discovered on medicinenet.com.
On the fourth page of the article under the heading "Should certain foods be avoided when breastfedding?", I thought I would find some useful information. I know...it's the internet, so you have to take a lot of what comes from places with a grain of salt. I am really going try to back up my sources with solid information, so you can find the information yourselves. I find this article just really is lacking in current information on food sensitivities.
As to their first point about baby becoming gassy to certain foods. The article states:
"A baby may become fussy, may have trouble sleeping, or may develop gas after the mother eats certain types of foods with strong flavors. Some of the most common triggers of fussiness in
babies include chocolate, spices, citrus fruits, and gas-causing vegetables like cauliflower,
cabbage, and broccoli. However, not all babies will have a reaction to particular foods." (1)
There are several things portrayed in the statement that are false. One, many babies thrive on milk with stronger, spiced flavors. Many studies have shown that fetus continually "drink" their amniotic fluid. This fluid will taste like what the mother is eating. Babies, after birth, will want and search for the same smells because it means survival, my momma's milk.
“What an expectant mother chooses to eat and drink has long-term effects –
for better or worse – on her child’s sensory anatomy as well his or her odor memory and
food preferences in the future,” (2)
Some babies will react to certain flavors. If you do latch the baby and he nurses for a short period and refuses, it doesn't mean that he is gassy. If you notice that every time you eat, for example, garlic foods and he is fussing at the breast, don't eat garlic anymore. It is not that it garlic is making him gassy; he is asserting his taste preference for no garlic. To continue to latch him on and make him frustrated will increase the chance of him crying which will increase him bringing in more air which will cause the gas to build up for him. (3)
Kellymom also describes how foods that cause the mother to have gass (beans, broccoli, etc.) do not pass directly to your milk. Your body will be breaking down the main elements of these foods. The gas causing agent, so to say, has left the building. It stays with mother, and baby reaps all the benefit of a great well balanced meal produced by mom. (3) Dr. Sears describes the raw broccoli and cabbage it be the main culprit, however.
Going back to the original article, there is also a lack of information for food allergies and what you should do. Milk allergies in infants is very common. Moms will discovered that their babies are truly fussy and difficult to settle. I am only discussing milk because it is so common. These babies have a difficult time digesting all milk proteins (casein and whey) and many have a difficult time with soy. I recall with my daughter, nursing was difficult because of her milk sensitivity.
When she was 4 months old, I was in for a well baby check and told our doctor how I was really tired because she woke every hour. His reply was to shut the door and walk away. I had been readying more and more about attachment parenting and found Dr. Sears' The Breastfeeding Book to be the best help for me. In chapter 4, he discusses milk sensitivity. When I read this chapter, I realized instantly it was my daughter.
In order to discover what offended my daughter, I eliminated the common offending things. For me, I knew what I ate a lot of: milk, chocolate, corn, coffee, soy, and peanuts. I took those foods from my diet completely. I then made a log of her sleeping patterns and moods in the afternoon. I still have these logs and run into them from time to time. Once I notice she was calmer, I added in milk. And withing 2 days, she was back to the cranky, up all night baby. I felt awful for her. I soon learned too that casein and whey were offenders for her, too.
There is a bright side though. As the baby matures, so does her digestive track. Around 9 months old, my daughter was able to digest milk products and loved (still does) yogurt and cheese. To this day, she cannot drink plain cows milk. In her words, "It makes my tummy feel funny, Mom."
In the end, she will be 9 this month. She still doesn't like milk but loves cheese and yogurt and dark chocolate. I have to say, seeing her change from that cranky little thing to a calm relaxed baby was joyous. If I had read this article medicine net article when she was a baby, I would have been frustrated beyond belief.
Please, search out good sources for breastfeeding help if you suspect a food sensitivity. Take the time to make a diet log along with her nursings and behavior patterns. It will help you see exactly what is causing the gassy or fussy nature in your baby.
Stacy Lewis, B.A. Ed., AAHCC, LE
childbirth educator and lactation educator
I will be better at noting articles with a better bibliography. I am little tired to night. Also, I am not sure how to link into this blog format, so you will have to cut and paste the articles to find the information.
(3)Kellymom.com (see resources on main site)
(4)Dr. Sears' The Breastfeeding Book