I see a lot of stuff floating around the internet these days about Elimination Diets. I recently posted a beautiful infographic about a specific Elimination Diet on Professional Breastfeeding Support’s Facebook page. The thing is, despite this being a beautiful and professional looking infographic, it is not substantiated by science at all. (I have a much more frank comment about it on my FB page)
I worry about moms being exposed to this type of infographic, and how they will think of themselves. We get so many messages as breastfeeding moms- about eating perfect diets, and living clean lifestyles, and how that will yield the best milk for our babies. The thing is, that we can eat pretty crappy diets, and still make great breastmilk, that is much healthier for our babies than the best formulas out there. Yes! You just read that. Go forth, eat your pizza, French fries, chocolate, and be happy. Of course, you know that stuff is not good for your body in the end, but if that is what is getting you through the long days of parenting, go for it. There is plenty of time for organic fruits and veggies later. Whole Foods will wait for you, I promise.
By the way, the most common allergy that we see in babies is a milk protein allergy. If you think that your baby is having a reaction to a food that you are eating, try eliminating all dairy in your diet. You should see improvement in 3 or 4 days. If you don’t, bust out the cheese, because you are a free woman! Babies can have allergies to other foods as well, but this is pretty rare. If you think that a certain food is causing a problem, eliminate it from your diet for a few days, and see what happens. If you start to suspect multiple problem-causing foods, you need to get in touch with your baby’s Primary Care Provider, an Allergist, and also a Registered Dietitian. You want to make sure that the baby has a thorough evaluation to rule out other health problems, and also to make sure that you are eating a healthy balance of food. I have heard way too many stories of breastfeeding moms on radical elimination diets that see little to no improvement in the baby, and starve themselves in the process. What’s funny to me, is that when a formula fed baby has the same problem as a breastfed baby, no one ever questions what the cow ate (referring to milk-based formula, of course).