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Keeping both you and your baby healthy while breastfeeding requires a proper meal plan and some guidance. If you would like a step-by-step program to help you lose weight safely, check out all our courses, programs, challenges, & recipe book.
One of the biggest concerns for breastfeeding mamas with a healthy diet is a gassy baby. Many mamas seem to believe that the healthy foods they are eating are causing their babies to be super gassy and fussy. My middle child was the fussiest baby, and every night I had to hold him for hours, or he would just cry. There are many reasons that newborn babies are gassy, and food isn’t necessarily the main culprit, though allergies can play a role.
If you are trying to eat a healthy diet and consuming lots of fruits, veggies, oatmeal and other potentially gassy foods, you could be thinking that is the cause of your baby’s gas and upset tummy.
Let’s look into what is proven to cause a gassy and fussy newborn baby:
First, there is no actual research that foods eaten by the mother get into breast milk and then cause a gassy baby. Nutrients and vitamins can pass into breast milk, but not fiber, the main cause of gas. Now, there is a mother’s intuition, but often times perceptions are skewed in desperation to find a reason for the incessant crying.
One of the leading causes of fussiness and gas in newborn babies is their still-developing intestinal system. Gas pains are usually most common in the first few weeks, while the baby’s intestines are still maturing. Combine that with a large eater, and you can have a fussy little one. I personally found that my boys ate a lot as little newborns, lost no weight from eating so much, yet also had crying fits in the evening. It was one of the hardest times for me as a new mom because nothing seemed to help. No change in my diet, and no gas drops, massage or pacifier soothed them. The only thing that worked was standing and holding/rocking/bouncing. I was so exhausted. But, in a month or two, they seemed to mature and grow out of what I called, “The Fuss Period.”
Because this is a significant factor in your baby’s gassiness, it leaves you the freedom to eat your healthy diet, nourish your body and lose the baby’s weight.
Proteins and Allergens Can Pass Through To Breast milk:
Proteins passing into breast milk are different than fiber. Proteins will come from animals, dairy and plants. There was an interesting study done in 1984 by Killshaw and Cant. They were published in the International Archives of Allergy and Applied Immunology in 1984, and they did a very thorough study. They took 29 women who are breastfeeding. They took samples of their blood and their breast milk and then gave them an egg and half a pint of cow’s milk to drink. Then they took samples of both of those blood and breast milk samples again, at various intervals afterward. They measured the levels of these proteins and they used various measures to see whether the proteins were coming through into the breast milk. And they found that after the mother ate those things, they could pick up the egg and the milk proteins intact in her bloodstream between 1 and 2 hours later and it peaked in breast milk 4 and 6 hours later.
So, your gassy baby could have an intolerance to proteins, rather than fibrous foods. Dairy and eggs are common allergies, so eliminating those two items can be a big help. In my breastfeeding diet and program, I advise no dairy except for some cheese if your baby isn’t sensitive, as well as very few eggs if any at all. The emphasis is on protein smoothies in the morning, and I recommend some safe protein powders free of allergens. Unfortunately, eggs are a great source of protein, but your newborn may not be mature enough to digest the protein matter. It is worth a try to eliminate dairy and eggs to ease the gas pains and give you a break!
Protein, however, is still super important for you, so I recommend this lactation protein powder, which will also boost your milk supply and give you some essential vitamins and minerals. I also have Milk Dust launching this Spring, which is specifically formulated to curb sugar cravings while boosting your milk supply and giving you sufficient protein support!
What about Gluten Intolerance Causing Gas In Your Baby?
Yep, gluten can be a culprit too. In my program, we don’t do much gluten at all. There are a few recipes I suggest if you have no sensitivities, but I also suggest alternatives. Gluten is also a protein, so as I just discussed, proteins can get into breast milk. Here are two studies that prove this:
First Study: researchers fed 53 women a total of 20 grams of gluten (the equivalent of about six-and-a-half slices of wheat bread) and then analyzed samples of their breast milk. They found gluten in 54 out of 80 samples, and levels of gluten were highest in the samples taken between two and four hours after the women ate the gluten.
Second Study: researchers tested women following a normal, gluten-containing diet. They found the gluten protein in all 64 milk samples they tested, in levels that varied pretty widely between 0.01 parts per million and 18 parts per million.
What we can conclude is that if you are eating a fiber-rich diet of fruits and veggies, in addition to eggs, dairy or gluten, then it most likely is the proteins causing the gas, not the fiber.
Fiber is not actually absorbed into the digestive tract. It stays there, helping push waste through. It doesn’t enter the bloodstream or your breast milk.
Although fiber is important for nursing mothers, it has little effect, if any, on breast milk. Breast milk is made from the compounds in the blood, so as long as the mother has an adequate diet, the composition of breast milk is unlikely to undergo big changes. Because fiber isn’t absorbed by the digestive tract, it is even less likely to affect the makeup of breast milk and the infant’s health. Source
How to eat healthy while breastfeeding a gassy baby:
It may seem like eating a healthy diet while breastfeeding is impossible because of your baby’s gas. Getting a clean protein for protein shakes, eliminating dairy, gluten and eggs and focusing on sweet potatoes, veggies, salads, and lean protein like chicken and turkey is a great diet to start with. My free 10-day reset is a great place to start because it helps guide you on eliminating most allergens. I do suggest eggs are a good source of protein for mamas and babies with no allergies, which of course you can substitute with ground turkey, chicken or other healthy proteins. A clean and safe protein powder is super helpful, and keeping a food diary will also be very beneficial.
But, if you have a mother’s intuition that food is bothering your baby, then of course eliminate that food. Just because science hasn’t proved it, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. However, many ideas and assumptions quickly come to our minds as tired and frantic mommies, when the reality of what is going on is different. Try eliminating allergens first, then any specific foods you think are causing the gas. Just note that many moms jump to the foods that cause adults gas, assuming they are causing a baby’s gas, when in actuality, fiber can’t pass through to breast milk.
I really hope this helps guide you in your breastfeeding diet, healing and nourishing your body. I believe health for the mama is so important, which is why I’ve created my own product, Milk Dust.
This is a lactation-boosting protein powder that will also help alleviate sugar cravings while breastfeeding. By providing adequate protein with specific minerals and herbs to balance blood sugar, you can have a lactation-boosting protein shake that curbs sugar cravings. It also has energy-boosting vitamins and ingredients like B12 and spirulina to help alleviate some of the exhaustion that happens while breastfeeding. I encourage you to check it out and sign up for the email list, so you can get a discount when it is available this spring. The full ingredient list will also be available soon. It contains no allergens and is organic and vegan.
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