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Can diet in pregnancy / breastfeeding affect the baby having problems?

(26 Posts)
PregnantGrrrl Sat 08-Sep-07 10:09:35

It looks like DS may have a dairy intolerance, and possibly asthma. As i'm pregnant, and planning to breastfeed again, would there be any benefit to the new baby if i avoid dairy?

Might be a daft question,i don't know. Can anyone offer any info?

Chandra Sat 08-Sep-07 19:13:36

I have no idea TBH, I suppose it depends in how sensitive to dairy the new baby shows to be.

The other day I was reading that although many foods can be calcium rich, our bodies can absorb it more easily from some of them than others (ie. easier from dairy than from some vegetables). Would it be a good idea to delay the introduction to dairy into your new baby's diet as much as possible but keep it in yours unless the baby shows any problem?

PregnantGrrrl Sun 09-Sep-07 02:45:05

from what i'm finding on the net, it might help if i keep off dairy while breastfeeding, to ensure baby gets no cow's milk proteins in their system before 6 mths. think i'll try that- will be worth it if it may help the next one avoid it.

twentypence Sun 09-Sep-07 05:07:21

My friend (who has a son with a very serious dairy allergy) was told no dairy for last trimester and whilst breastfeeding.

Apparently the exposure (which causes the allergy) is in utero.

PregnantGrrrl Sun 09-Sep-07 09:22:39

oh dear. i'm already 34 wks

fishie Sun 09-Sep-07 09:27:49

i don't see how on earth it could get into your milk. and last trimester thing sounds a bit odd too, how does it differ to the first two? not sure how it could get through blood either. pg if i were you would check this out really thoroughly before doing anything drastic with diet.

twentypence Sun 09-Sep-07 10:02:48

She had all the studies etc. to back up what the doctor said - and she did it and her dd was fine - but then there was a large chance that she would have been anyway.

Was it obvious that your ds was reacting to the milk protein in your milk (at the time or looking back). Did you introduce milk into his diet earlier than 6 months?

If I did it again then I wouldn't give up dairy in pg (as ds is allergic to around 10 things and some are obscure - how would you ever pick) but I would give up at the first sign of trouble to see if it helped things.

I would be far more likely to take probiotics as adding to the diet is easier than taking away and there are at least 2 robust studies to support doing this.

catesmum Sun 09-Sep-07 13:48:30

if your new baby has a dairy intolerance or allergy, then you will have to go dairy free whilst you're breastfeeding as it does get into the milk (it took me a a good month to realise this as our dietician didn't tell me straight away, and then our dd2 did get better). But don't do it before then. We were told that intolerances weren't hereditary. I have three children, only one has problems

tatt Sun 09-Sep-07 14:10:17

I'd also go with adding probiotics to your diet, and dairy free probiotics to your aby's diet when they are born. There is research evidence to show that helps.

Apart from that I'd be reluctant to take an inportant food out of your diet.

Elasticwoman Sun 09-Sep-07 22:13:41

Very few babies are allergic to their own mother's milk, whatever her diet. Many many babies are intolerant or allergic to cow's milk. What is formula made from? Cow's milk.

To minimise risk of allergy in a baby, breastfeed exclusively and put off solids for as long as you can (WHO recommends 6 months).

Personally, I kept my dc away from dairy products till they were 1 year old, as they were still breastfeeding. I ate a normal diet in pregnancy (except for avoiding raw egg and runny cheese, as was the advice then) and ate whatever I liked while bf. My dc do not have any allergies and are healthy.

Isababel Sun 09-Sep-07 23:03:57

PG. I know a woman who was advised by GP to remove dairy from her diet while she was breastfeeding. As far as I'm aware that advise is not unusual at all and aparently many mums have seen a difference in their DC's eczema after stoping using milk in their own diets.

Having said that, the woman I know has a child so sensitive to dairy that even now, that the child is 2 years old, if you touch a cheese dorito and a good hour later you touch the child the poor thing gets a very puffed face and starts vomiting.

I would say that if the intolerance is not severe, there is no particular need to avoid it. Perhaps, if you feel a bit more comfortable with it, you may eat goat cheeses, yoghurts, etc instead of cows milk products. But don't remove dairy totally from your diet unless the child really needs it and if you have good dietary advice on how to keep your calcium intake within a healthy level.

Elasticwoman Mon 10-Sep-07 08:32:47

As both my and Isababel's posts are anecdotal, it would be useful if any one knew any research evidence about dairy in bf mother's diet affecting exclusively bf baby.

Isababel Mon 10-Sep-07 09:14:34

Elasticwoman the weaning guidelines and advice for atopic children vary considerably from that given for children without an allergic family background.

PregnantGrrrl. I had a look around and I found this in the "Complete Guide to Food Alergy and intolerance" (it seems to be like the Bible for many atopic families, so there are good chances that there is one in the library)

Anyways, there is a table on page 262 with preventive measures during pregnancy, for this case the relevant ones, I think, are:
"Don't eat too much of any one food while pregnant. It may also be worthwile avoiding foods that are potent allergens (listed below), but there is no firm evidence this is of benefit during pregnancy. Restricting your diet during breastfeeding is much more important for the baby"


"While BF avoid eating foods that are likely to cause allergic reactions: milk, eggs, peanuts, fish, citrus fruits, wheat, beef and chicken. To this list, add any food to which a previous child is allergic."

IMO, this seems a a bit extreme to me. Following such a restricted diet, particularly without the adequate advice on how to get the nutrients from other sources, may be quite tricky, nutritionally speaking. However, DS is allergic to most things in that list so I wonder if it would have been helpful for me to find this reference before DS was born!... the dubious benefits of hindsight!)

There is also a comment on pages 263-264 that strikes a cord:

"Even a baby that is never bottlefed is not entirely safe. Proteins from the mother's food can be absorbed intact from her gut and pass into her breastmilk. Although the quantities involved are small, there is little doubt that these can sensitize an atopic child. In fact, the most violent reactions to cows milk are seen in children who have been sensitized via breast milk, rather than those that have been bottlefeed from birth. This might seem like a good argument for bottlefeeding, on the face of it, but bear in mind that these violent reactions are rare, whereas the less severe but very troublesome symptoms that may result from bottlefeeding are far more widespread."

So... I guess that after all, it is a good idea to avoid dairy in your diet from the time being. But as I said in my previous post, if DS1 only has a slight intolerance, perhaps so many food restrictions have no point. Now, if he had the full catalogue of allergies and in a serious form, I would be telling you to restrict your diet and follow the advice to the letter.

Hope that is of help.

PregnantGrrrl Tue 11-Sep-07 06:38:22

thanks for that. as soon as we have some kind of confirmation from specialist that that's what it is, i'll almost certainly cut out cow's milk while i breastfeed. although he doesn't have a full allergy, he is thoroughly miserable, itchy and coughing- don't think it's worth the new baby having the same if there's a chance.

i can substitute the calcium in fortified soya / rice milk stuff, or take a supplement instead.

fishie Tue 11-Sep-07 09:07:07

pg i wonder if it is worth contacting the breastfeeding network, i know they advise on which drugs can/can't be taken when bf.

the thing that troubles me is that allergy specialists may not know how bf works, i am having difficulty believing that proteins can get intact from the mother's gut into milk. and i do not like the quoted comment that babies are sensitized to cows milk by breastfeeding. how can that be? surely they are having a violent reaction because they haven't had cows milk before, not because they have had had breastmilk.

although perhaps it is quoted out of context. i am not even slightly expert on this subject, just cynical.

fishie Tue 11-Sep-07 09:13:33

well i am wrongetty wrong wrong wrong!

hope this helps smile

canmummy Tue 11-Sep-07 09:21:35

Fishie - I'm a bit sceptical about this theory too. My dd3 had an allergic reaction to cows milk when I gave her some aged 6 1/2 months. Before then I happily breastfed without cutting out dairy. I am now facing a long wait to get results of tests and to see a dietician but in the meantime I'm carrying on with dairy as it seems to give her no ill-effects. Am following threads like these with interest

canmummy Tue 11-Sep-07 09:25:32

Oh dear! Just read that link. Really confused now as to what to do

Isababel Tue 11-Sep-07 18:42:37

Did anybody noticed the word rare in my post?

It does NOT say anywhere that the problem is due to breastfeeding, it only says that a minute quantity of children, with certain characteristics, can get sensitized via intact cows milk protein getting into breastmilk. And it also says that the chances of a child developing more allergies are more likely if being bottlefeed.

I do really wish that all allergies could be avoided by the simple act of breastfeeding, but unfortunately, as many of us can testify, that is not the case. Some children have been breastfeed well after they are 2 yrs old and still are severely allergic.

The advice is just for those mums who have themselves, or their children, a history of food allergy.

As I said in my first post, and the second time I reapeat it, you only need to this lengths if the problem is serious. It is very common for breastfeeding mums with children with severe eczema to experiment removing dairy from their diet for a couple of weeks to see if the problem improves. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't.

The only person I know who was given that advice, saw an improvement in her child. BUT this is an extremely sensitive child.

andiem Tue 11-Sep-07 18:50:44

to add something else into the mix they are currently undertaking a research study at KCL which looks at if exposure to the allergen actually prevents you being allergic they are doing it with peanut allergic children. There is now some evidence to suggest that exposure prevents allergy rather than the other way around there is a link to the news story here

tatt Wed 12-Sep-07 22:06:22

article in the Times today suggesting breast feeding makes no difference to allergies. Read it here

Bubblesmum Thu 13-Sep-07 05:01:46

My experience. My first child has multiple serious food allergies (milk / egg initially, now peanut & tree nut too), she also is astmatic. I consumed vasts amount of dairy & egg whilst pregnant with her. V. little if ANY nuts. She couldn't tolerate my bmilk but I didn't realize it could have been my diet.

When pregnant with my second I had the same questions about avoiding all her allergens while pregnant to try to avoid a similar problem with second baby. I was advised (by Allergist) to NOT avoid milk / eggs etc... but YES to avoid nuts (just in case) and exp in last trimester. Also I was told to vary up my diet considerably which I did.
I also breast fed my son for 16 months. He has no allergies at this point (almost 3) but also we haven't dared try him with nuts of any sort and won't either. I did not eat any nuts until I had weaned him. THe allergist advised me while allergies do run in families, there is no hi probability that one child would have the same allergies as the next so avoiding the first childs allergens is not a great plan.

I don't know if it was luck or down to being strict with diet by consuming a broader range of foods but I was glad I tried.

Bubblesmum Thu 13-Sep-07 05:08:07

Oh... just to add, I also went dairy & egg free once the baby was born for first 4 weeks, no colic was evident, thriving baby on my milk but I was v. sad with my restricted diet (and starving hungry to boot) so on advice from LC in hospital, I introduced dairy slowly (e.g. just in tea).. then just on cereal. All seemed well so introduced egg products again... etc.

I thought it was worth it to try this than to throw caution to the wind and live with potential allergies for x years.

I guess I was one of the lucky ones from reading some of the replies!

Good luck PregnantGrrl, hope it all works out for you.

PregnantGrrrl Thu 13-Sep-07 08:18:24

thanks for all your replies guys. i have even less of a clue now! i'm hoping that when i take DS to the specialist, they can offer some advice too. But, DS2 is due in 5 wks time, and i don't know if we'll have had an appointment by then.

hobnob57 Thu 13-Sep-07 13:31:52

This is a question I've thought about too. My BF daughter is sensitive to dairy and gluten in my diet, so I've had to cut them out. They give her nasty nappies, stomach cramps, reflux and hiccups.

When I was pg with her, I HAD to have a pot of Ambrosia rice pudding every evening, and in the 3rd trimester she pretty much had hiccups at bedtime every night. I've often wondered if there's a link...

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