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Breast Milk Allergy In Babies

6 min read

We were often told that breast milk is a free-flowing food resource and, ultimately, the best source of nutrition for a newly born. Breast milk gives your child a healthy start that will last for his lifetime. The proteins in the breast milk will easily get digested than the proteins in the formula or the cow’s milk. Doctors around the world undeniably always insist on breastfeeding the child.
breastfeed
But, a mother can get worried and feel anxious when her child starts to fuss and be cranky during the nursing sessions. As the child solely depends on his mother’s milk, it is essential to know and understand the child’s indifference towards the nursing.

My Baby Is Acting Fussy After Nursing. Does He Have Did Breast Milk Allergy?

No. Fussiness exhibit by babies after feeding can have many underlying reasons other than allergy. For example, if they don’t suckle properly, they might gulp more gas along with milk. This gas formation also shows the same symptoms of breast milk allergy.

Is My Child Allergic To Breast Milk?

Mostly, a baby cannot develop an allergy towards breast milk. The allergic symptoms that the baby shows during nursing could be allergic reactions to the components that get into the mother’s milk from her diet.
However, in some rare cases, the baby is found to develop an allergy towards breast milk due to the inability to digest some components of the mother’s milk.

Does Mother’s Diet Influence Breast Milk Allergy In Infants?

Do the grownups in your household warn you against eating some type of food items during your breastfeeding period? This is because the mother’s food is able to influence the quality of breast milk.
Generally, it is recommended that you can eat whatever you like except if when you notice a significant reaction in your baby. There is no rundown of “nourishment that each nursing mother ought to stay away from” in light of the fact that sensitivity shown by an infant to a particular food may not bother another baby. Thus, different foods have different degrees of allergic effects on different babies.
The most well-known problem food behind the infant’s sensitivity towards nursing is the cow’s milk protein ingested by the mother.

What Is Breast Milk Allergy?

Breast milk allergy occurs when the immune system of a child detects an allergy-causing element in the breast milk (in most cases, cow’s milk protein from the mother’s diet which gets filtrate into the breast milk) as the foreign substance. To get rid of this substance from the system, the child’s body releases histamine and other chemicals, causing an allergic reaction in the child’s body. The symptoms of breast milk allergy include:

  1. Inconsolable crying for long periods and showing irritability as a result of abdominal pain especially after feeding
  2. Vomiting
  3. Spitting up frequently
  4. Hives (an allergic skin reaction causing localized redness, swelling, and itching)
  5. Coughing, wheezing, and difficulty in breathing like asthma
  6. Cold-like symptoms
  7. Lack of weight gain
  8. Green stool with mucus or blood
  9. Intestinal problems
  10. Itchy bumps on the skin

The severity of the child’s allergic symptoms is related to his sensitivity to the amount of problem food that mom ate. More the food, the higher will be the severity. Even though the reaction happens within minutes the baby is fed, the symptoms may show up only between four to twenty-four hours after feeding.
Feeding baby
Keeping a food diary with a record of foods eaten and the child’s health with the time of day for each can help you when trying to pinpoint a problem food. Eliminating the offending food from the mother’s diet can help to relieve the child from allergic symptoms. If the mother has to eliminate dairy products from her diet, she should make sure that she has a sufficient intake of calcium.

How Can I Identify Allergic Food In My Breast Milk?

You have to eliminate food at least for a month to confirm whether it is the food troubling your child. Because some food, for example, cow’s milk protein, can persist in a mother’s body for about two weeks after discontinuing the intake. Similarly, it will take another 1 ½ weeks to eliminate entirely from the infant’s system. The baby shows signs of improvement within a week after stopping the problematic food.
Once you think you have identified the problematic food, then, after waiting for a period of time, reintroduce the food to your diet. If the child doesn’t react in the same way before, the food may not be that much sense to him. But if he shows the same reaction, then you should eliminate that food from your diet for good until your child has weaned.

What Is Breast Milk Intolerance?

Breast milk intolerance is due to the digestive disorder in which the infant’s digestive system unable to produce enough lactase to digest the breast milk properly. Generally, breast milk intolerance is found to be a temporary condition. Expressing a mother’s milk and adding the required amount of lactase enzyme before feeding is found a very effective method to treat this condition.
Some of the symptoms of breast milk intolerance include:

  1. Bloated stomach
  2. Infant eczema
  3. Failure to thrive and gain weight
  4. Gas formation
  5. Diarrhea
  6. Crying inconsolably for a longer period
  7. Resistance to being fed

Many of the babies outgrow this intolerance between 6 to 18 months. Most of them will outgrow it when they turn around three years old.

How Can Breast Milk Allergy Be Diagnosed?

Once your child shows symptoms of breast milk allergy, inform your pediatrician immediately. There is no single lab test to diagnose breast milk allergy.

  • Your child’s doctor enquirers about any history of food allergy running in the family
  • Several tests are done to rule out other health problems
  • Sometime, your child’s doctor will go for an allergy skin test. This is done by inserting a small amount of milk protein under the skin surface of the infant with the help of a needle. Once a raised spot (called wheal) emerges, the child is considered to have a milk allergy

Once your child is diagnosed positive for a breast milk allergy test, he will ask you to avoid taking milk and milk products for the time being.
Baby taking breastfeed

What Is Galactosemia?

Galactosemia is an inherited disorder in which the infant cannot tolerate the mother’s milk at all.
Galactosemia is different from both the breast milk allergy (which can be avoided by eliminating the offending food item from the mother’s diet) and the breast milk intolerance (which can be avoided by fortifying the expressed breast milk with required lactase enzyme before feeding). In galactosemia, the baby’s liver will be incapable of breaking down simple sugar galactose. Galactose is another milk sugar, which is also a component of lactose.
Babies with galactosemia cannot consume the milk of any kind. Once an infant with galactosemia drinks breast milk or any other milk, the byproducts of galactose start to build up in the infant’s system. These substances will damage the brain, kidneys, liver, and eyes of the baby. Hence, it is imperative to find an exceptional galactose-free formula for the baby to survive.
Within days of birth, the child with galactosemia experiences:

  • Vomiting
  • Convulsions (shaking uncontrollably)
  • Fail to thrive (that is, not even start to gain the weight)
  • Leathery (lack of energy)
  • Yellow skin and white of the eyes (indicating jaundice)

How Is The Quality Of The Breast Milk Produced Assessed In Ayurveda?

According to Ayurveda, the mother’s diet is blamed for the “vatha–pitha”“Kapha” dosha qualities of the breast milk, which brings out health problems in the children. This is because, as stated in Ayurveda, breast milk is directly influenced by the quality of the food eaten by the mother. In Ayurveda, the quality of breast milk is assessed by a simple method. Take a glass container of water. Let a drop of milk fall into the water. Now examine what is happening to the milk drop.

  • If the milk drop disperses, the breast milk is of good quality
  • If the milk drop sinks down, then the milk droplet is considered to be heavy with “Kapha.” The mother is producing milk with more “Kapha” causes ill health in the children. Hence, the mother has to remove “Kapha” promoting food items from her diet
  • If the milk drop appears to float for a while, then the breast milk is considered to have airy vatha. The child, after feeding breast, can develop gripes (gastric or intestinal pain) and pass gaseous stools. Dasamoolarishta is recommended to minimize the “vatha dosha”
  • If pitta is excess in the breast milk, the milk will be tinged with yellow color. Shatavari (asparagus) is the herb prescribed to minimize the pitta dosha.
    Women with pitta or “Kapha” doshas are suggested to drink two to three cups of pomegranate juice daily to modulate the secretion of breast milk. Women with “vatha dosha” are asked to avoid pomegranate juice since it can increase “vatha dosha.”

Don’t get worried if your child develops breast milk allergy. He will outgrow it eventually. Even as in rare cases if it persists there are a lot of other alternatives that your child can have and could lead a happy life.

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