Baby boy has a dairy intolerance. His main symptom was colic. After giving up dairy and any product that contains Casein I have noticed a huge difference. It’s much harder to give up dairy then you would think. First off, my diet prior to this was 90% dairy! Giving up cheese was my biggest challenge. Even the “dairy free” Go Veggie cheeses contain Casein. Casein is the milk protein that babies are sensitive to. Luckily I have found some great options at Whole Foods. There’s a lot of other sensitivities that babies can have while breastfeeding but dairy is the main one.
For us to help our colicky baby cutting out dairy, gas drops, probiotics, and reflux medicine has helped a ton. We noticed he had silent reflux a couple weeks ago. He was not spitting up but arching his back while laying flat and also arching off my breast during feedings.
Colic is defined as uncontrollable crying in an otherwise healthy baby. Your baby is considered colicky if he’s younger than 5 months old and cries for more than three hours in a row on three or more days a week for at least three weeks.
Possible signs of food allergy
A small percentage of breastfeeding mothers notice an obvious difference in their baby’s behavior and/or health when they eat certain foods. Cow’s milk products are the most common problem foods and the only foods conclusively linked by research to fussiness/gassiness in babies, but some babies do react to other foods. Food sensitivities in breastfed babies are not nearly as common as many breastfeeding mothers have been led to think, however.
If a breastfed baby is sensitive to a particular food, then he may be fussy after feedings, cry inconsolably for long periods, or sleep little and wake suddenly with obvious discomfort. There may be a family history of allergies. Other signs of a food allergy may include: rash, hives, eczema, sore bottom, dry skin; wheezing or asthma; congestion or cold-like symptoms; red, itchy eyes; ear infections; irritability, fussiness, colic; intestinal upsets, vomiting, constipation and/or diarrhea, or green stools with mucus or blood.
The severity of a food reaction is generally related to the degree of baby’s sensitivity and to the amount of the problem food that mom ate—the more food eaten and the greater baby’s sensitivity, the more severe the reaction. Food reactions may occur within minutes, but symptoms in breastfed babies more commonly show up 4-24 hours after exposure. If baby has an acute reaction to a new food, or to a food that mom ate a large amount of, then he will probably be back to normal within a couple of hours. If baby is sensitive to a food that mom eats frequently, symptoms may be ongoing.
What foods are most likely to be a problem?
Some of the most likely suspects are cow’s milk products, soy, wheat, corn, eggs, and peanuts.
Other suspect foods:
• Any food that a family member is allergic to
• A food that mom recently ate a large amount of
• A new food (if baby’s symptoms are new)
• A food that mom doesn’t like, but is eating while breastfeeding (and/or ate while pregnant) for the benefit of her baby
• A food that mom craves, or feels she has to have after a bad day
Conscious likes and dislikes of foods are signals that your body may be reacting to them in an abnormal way.
Keeping a food journal with a record of foods eaten and baby’s behavior/symptoms, with time of day for each, may be helpful when trying to pinpoint a problem food.
Sensitivity to cow’s milk proteins
Breastfed babies who are sensitive to dairy in mom’s diet are sensitive to specific cow’s milk antibodies, in the form of proteins (not lactose), which pass into the mother’s milk. Cow’s milk (either in the mother’s diet or engineered into formula) is a common source of food sensitivity in babies. Cow’s milk sensitivity or allergy can cause colic-like symptoms, eczema, wheezing, vomiting, diarrhea (including bloody diarrhea), constipation, hives, and/or a stuffy, itchy nose.
If your baby is sensitive to dairy in your diet, it will not help to switch to lactose-free dairy products. The problem is the cow’s milk proteins, not the lactose. Cooking dairy products may reduce but will not eliminate the allergens.
A significant percentage of babies with cow’s milk protein allergy will also react to soy. Most dairy-allergic babies will also react to goat’s milk or sheep’s milk. Some will also react to beef.
If you think that your baby may be sensitive to dairy products in your diet, remember that it can take 10 days to 3 weeks to eliminate cow’s milk protein from your system—allow a full 2-3 weeks of dairy elimination before evaluating the results.
If your baby is only a little sensitive to dairy proteins, you may be able to relieve baby’s symptoms by eliminating only the obvious sources of dairy (milk, cream, yogurt, butter, cheese, sour cream, ice cream, cottage cheese, etc.); you may even be able to eat small amounts of dairy without it affecting baby.
If your baby is highly allergic, it will be necessary to eliminate all sources of dairy proteins, which requires a careful reading of food labels.
If you’ve cut out dairy because your breastfed baby is sensitive to cow’s milk proteins, you may be able to phase it back in after a few months. Many dairy-sensitive babies outgrow their sensitivity by 6-18 months, and most outgrow it by 3 years.
If you reintroduce dairy into your diet and baby reacts, cut out dairy products again for at least another month. If baby’s allergy to cow’s milk protein via breastmilk is severe, it’s best to wait at least 6 months before trying to reintroduce dairy. For allergic babies, avoiding the allergen makes it less likely that baby will develop a lifelong or life threatening allergy.*