Only 2 or 3 out of 100 exclusively breast fed babies will exhibit an allergic reaction to foods, and that is most often to the cow’s milk in the mother’s diet. My sister breastfed her twins but noticed an immediate and significant reaction when she supplemented her son with formula. He broke out in a severe rash and hives, screamed with stomach cramps and after a trip to the ER and following up with her pediatrician and an allergist; she excluded all dairy from her diet.
Breastfeeding infants do not typically develop an allergy to human breast milk, but mothers frequently worry that baby may have an allergy to something the mother has eaten and passed to baby via breast milk.
The baby may develop physical symptoms such as a skin rash (eczema), hives, abdominal discomfort, colic, diarrhea with blood streaks noted, vomiting or even difficulty breathing. Though rare, especially in breast fed babies, milk allergies can be severe or fatal, so contact your pediatrician right away if you notice any of these symptoms. Fortunately, most babies outgrow cow’s milk allergies.
Exclusive breast feeding for 6 months has shown to significantly decrease the risk and severity of food allergies. There is no evidence that avoiding certain foods while breastfeeding will help prevent your baby from developing food allergies.
Food sensitivities are different from food allergies, as the symptoms are less severe. Some mothers report baby cries or is fussy after the mother eats “gassy or spicy” foods, but no rashes or difficulty breathing develop. If baby reacts every time you eat a particular food and this upsets you, you can avoid this type of food temporarily. If your baby continues to show daily symptoms, this might be a sign of colic, not food sensitivities. Discuss the possibilities and options with your pediatrician.