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How do you breastfeed when your baby is allergic to something you are eating?

Finding out that your baby is allergic to something in your breast milk is incredibly stressful and difficult. Having to eliminate yummy foods from your diet to try to figure out which food is the culprit and thinking something you are ingesting could be causing your little one discomfort is just awful. Its especially frustrating when you know you are doing the very BEST thing for your baby by breastfeeding, yet, you see your LO squirming in pain.


We as mamas want to do everything we can to make our babies thrive and feel comfortable. The good news is that once you’ve figured out that it’s food that’s causing all these issues, it can be an enormous relief, you can make changes to fix it, and it can help you feel empowered as a mama again.

Please keep in mind that this topic is deep and complex, with allergies often being misdiagnosed because symptoms are varied. A fussy baby can be mistaken for having a food allergy because everyone needs an answer to why the baby wont stop crying. The truth is, its super unlikely that something you are eating is the culprit. “In fact, only two or three out of every one hundred babies who are exclusively breastfed demonstrate an allergic reaction—and that’s most often to the cow’s milk in their mother’s diet.”

However, if your child IS diagnosed, here’s what you need to know about allergies and breastfeeding:

1. Allergies occur when your body perceives a potentially harmless substance as an invader. A newborn who has never had anything but his mother’s breast milk can still show signs of allergy because of the foods you are eating.

2. Common signs and symptoms of an allergy include:

  • Eczema (or other skin reactions like a rash or cradle cap or hives)
  • Stools that are loose, watery, green*, more frequent, or contain blood.
  • Cramping, constipation, bloating, gas, heartburn, reflux, vomiting.
  • Nasal congestion
  • Persistent ear infections
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Slow or stalled weight gain (from malabsorption of nutrients)
  • Excessive crying
  • Frequent interruption of sleep
  • Fussy, “colic-y”, and miserable little babe

*Please note: green-mucousy poops can also been seen from over-supply, from too much lactose from foremilk. The signs/symptoms listed above will be consistent, dramatic, and in combination.

3. There has never been a documented case of a baby being allergic to his own mother’s milk. What the baby is actually allergic to is a protein that passes through her milk from the food she ingests.

4. Allergies typically show up at around 6 weeks of the baby’s life

5. Magical antibodies are found in your breastmilk: Secretory IgA is produced in very large amounts in your colostrum. This antibody binds with and prevents transport of dietary allergens until the infant gut is less permeable and they start producing SigA on their own.

6. If you are concerned about a possible allergy being the culprit of your fussy kiddo, start by reaching out to your pediatrician, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and an allergist. These professionals can help guide you. You should also check in with an a nutritionist if you have to remove a major food/food group from your diet for replacement of the nutrients.

7. Top food allergens:

  • Dairy (cows milk protein)
  • Egg
  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts
  • Fish and shellfish

Although these are the top foods to watch out for, with a child with food sensitivities, the list can seem like it’s endless. And I hate to say it but coffee and chocolate in large amounts can cause irritability and wakefulness in your little one. (eek!)

Processed and genetically modified foods can also cause reactions so avoiding these will make you feel better and help your little one.

Any food may cause an allergic reaction (which is why this is so tricky) but 90% of them in children are caused by the food groups listed above (minus the fish and shellfish, which is more common for adults).

8. Some infants are so vulnerable to an allergy, you may see symptoms when they just come in contact with the food, and/or immediately after you ingest the food. However, a reaction usually occurs within 4-24 hours, and the food you ingest is in your babe’s system within 4-6 hours.

9. Dairy is the most common allergen. Melinda Wenner Moyer writes that “Somewhere between 2-8% are allergic to cows’ milk, but among babies who have only ever been fed breast milk, the risk is only about 0.5%.”

Even if you are not allergic to dairy yourself, your baby may be. If you eliminate dairy from your diet, you should see improvement within days and up to 2 weeks. However, it can take up to 6 weeks for dairy to be completely out of your system. Make sure you look at all labels—watch for casein and whey.

Breastfed babies who are sensitive to dairy in your diet are reacting to the cows’ milk antibodies in the form of proteins, NOT to lactose. (So what this means is your baby is not lactose intolerant. Trying lactose-free dairy products will not help your babe.)

10. What you may think is an allergy may actually only be a reaction, intolerance, or sensitivity to a food. A true allergy will most likely hang around for life, but a reaction or sensitivity can be outgrown as the digestive system matures—typically by 3 years old.

11. Allergic disease has a strong hereditary basis. If you are in a high-risk allergic family, or have a strong family history of allergies, you may want to avoid potent allergens (like peanuts or dairy products) during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

12. Unfortunately, allergy testing in young infants is not considered reliable and can give false negative results so the best way to figure out what is causing your baby problems is through an elimination diet. If you eliminate one allergen at a time, you should wait a minimum of two weeks and up to four weeks.

Elimination diets: 3 ways to do them (with the guidance of your doctor)

  1. You can try eliminating one allergen/food group at a time
  2. Try a low allergen diet
  3. Try a total elimination diet from the beginning

When you do an elimination diet, make sure you:

  • Keep a journal of all the foods you eat and your baby’s reaction/symptoms
  • Space the re-introduction of any food out by 4-5 days

You should see improvement within 2-7 days and up to three or even four weeks as the newborn’s intestines and stomach lining become less inflamed and irritated.

Total elimination diet

  • Step 1: When you begin, you need to cut back all the way to the bare bones: fruits and veggies (and nothing too acidic, so no citrus!). You should see improvement in a few days in your babes poop: No more diarrhea? No more blood? Green poop no longer green? Eczema will take more time to clear up but does it look less inflamed?
  • Step 2: Introduce beans, one kind at a time.
  • Step 3: Introduce grain. Try rice first.
  • Step 4: Once you have eliminated all possible allergens, you can try your food challenge by introducing one of these types of foods at a time. Go slowly, wait sufficient time, and know that some babies are fine with small amounts of the allergen but will not tolerate it anymore when it reaches a certain level.

You may opt-out of doing a food challenge altogether if by eliminating possible allergens, you now have a happy and comfortable baby. The re-introduction can seem really scary and daunting. You may want to try waiting a year (when many food sensitivities are outgrown) before reintroducing the foods back in your diet.

13. Rotation diet

This will allow you to eat troublesome foods in a rotating schedule, so each food is out of your system for 5-7 days before you reintroduce it. This can prevent allergic symptoms to develop. This kind of diet can help identify the culprit without disrupting your own diet too much, although some believe the foods are not eliminated for a long enough time.

Most importantly: Please try not to blame yourself for this, mama. Talk to your doctor, IBCLC, allergist and nutritionist about what would be best for you and your babe. It is normal for our babies to cry and you may just be the ‘lucky’ one who has an intense, needy and sensitive baby who cries a lot. However, if there is a true allergy or sensitivity, you do not need to wean your baby from the breast. If you change your diet, you and your baby can continue to enjoy breastfeeding for as long as mutually desired.

Be patient, be gentle on yourself, and take it one day at a time.

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Starting your child on solids can be a daunting process. Between the mixed advice that seems to come from every angle ("Thanks, Grandma, but pretty sure one dessert is enough…") to the at-times picky palates of our little ones, it can be tough on a mama trying to raise a kid with a sophisticated palate.

But raising an adventurous eater doesn't have to be a chore. In partnership with our friends at Raised Real, here are eight tips to naturally encourage your child to nibble and taste with courage.

1. Keep an open mind. 

As the parent, you set the tone for every bite. So stay positive! Raised Real makes it easy to work new and exciting ingredients into every meal, so you'll have plenty of opportunities to practice modeling open-minded eating. Instead of saying, "You might not like this" or "It's okay if you don't like it" from the start, keep your tone upbeat—or simply serve new dishes without any fanfare at all. (Toddlers can smell a tough sell from a mile away.) Either way, let your child decide for themselves how they feel about new dishes.

2. Show mealtime some respect. 

Spend less time in the kitchen and more time together at the table with Raised Real meals, which come prepped and ready to steam and blend. They're even delivered to your door—because they know how busy you are, mama. Think about it: Do you enjoy a meal you've had to rush through? Keep meals relaxed and let your child savor and taste one bite at a time to take any potential anxiety out of the equation. (This may mean you need to set aside more time than you think for dinner.)

3. Serve the same (vibrant) dish to the whole family.

Don't fall into the "short-order cook" trap. Instead of cooking a different meal for every family member, serve one dish that everyone can enjoy. Seeing his parents eating a dish can be a simple way to encourage your little one to take a bite, even if he's never tried it before. Since Raised Real meals are made with real, whole ingredients, they can be the perfect inspiration for a meal you serve to the whole family.

4. Get kids involved in prepping the meal.

Raised Real's ingredients are simple to prepare, meaning even little hands can help with steaming and blending. When children help you cook, they feel more ownership over the food—and less like they're being forced into eating something unfamiliar. As they grow, have your children help with washing and stirring, while bigger kids can peel, season, and even chop with supervision. Oftentimes, they'll be so proud of what they've made they won't be able to wait to try it.

5. Minimize snacking and calorie-laden drinks before meals. 

Serving a new ingredient? Skip the snacks. Hungry kids are less picky kids, so make sure they're not coming to the table full when you're introducing a new flavor. It's also a good idea to serve in courses and start with the unfamiliar food when they're hungriest to temper any potential resistance.

6. Don’t be afraid to introduce seasoning!  

Raised Real meals come with fresh seasonings already added in so you can easily turn up the flavor. Cinnamon, basil, turmeric, and cumin are all great flavors to pique the palate from an early age, and adding a dash or two to your recipes can spice up an otherwise simple dish.

7. Make “just one bite” the goal. 

Don't stress if your toddler isn't cleaning their plate—if he's hungry, he'll eat. Raised Real meals are designed to train the palate, so even a bite or two can get the job done. Right now the most important thing is to broaden their horizons with new flavors.

8. Try and try and try again. 

Kids won't always like things the first time. (It can take up to 20 tries!) If your child turns up her nose at tikka masala the first time, that doesn't mean she'll never care for Indian food. So don't worry. And be sure to try every ingredient again another day—or the next time you get it in your Raised Real meal box!

Still not sure where to start? Raised Real takes the guesswork out of introducing a variety of solids by delivering dietician-designed, professionally prepped ingredients you simply steam, blend, and serve (or skip the blending for toddlers who are ready for finger foods)—that's why they're our favorite healthy meal hack for kids.

Raising an adventurous eating just got a whole lot simpler, mama.

This article is sponsored by Raised Real. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I wasn't supposed to be a stay-at-home mom.

Or, to put it another way, I wasn't supposed to be a year-round, stay-at-home mom. My husband and I live in Los Angeles, and our rent and monthly bills require two paychecks.

By the time our son Ryan was born, I had been teaching for seven years. And there was no question that I'd continue to teach. Other teacher-moms told me that teaching was the "perfect" career for parents.

"Once he starts school, you and your son will have the same hours each day."

"You'll always be available when he's got a random day off from school."

"You'll spend vacations together."

"You know what your schedule is year-round. It's not like other jobs, where your schedule changes on a weekly basis."

Like my husband's schedule. Paul's retail career didn't provide the same consistent schedule, week after week, that my teaching career did. While Paul's schedule could be erratic, I would provide Ryan with a reliable, fixed routine.

And my colleagues were right.

Aside from a few exceptions, such as Parent-Teacher Conferences and Back-to-School Night, Ryan and I would have dinner together each night. I imagined us doing "homework" together each afternoon—Ryan doing actual homework, me grading my students' homework.

Because there are 180 school days, theoretically, that means that the other half of the year, I'd spend with Ryan. But again, there were some exceptions. I usually spent quite a bit of time each summer attending conferences, workshops, and professional developments. I always returned to my classroom several days before the start of the new school year to get everything ready.

Still, teaching would continue to provide our family with a needed second income, feed my passion for teaching, and allow me the opportunity to spend considerable time with my son each day, all year long.

If Ryan attended the same small, local elementary school where I taught, I'd never have to choose between my students and my son. We'd come and go to school together, I'd watch him walk with his class in our school's Halloween Parade, and he'd watch me walk with mine. I'd hear him and his class sing holiday songs during our winter performance, and he'd hear my class.

That was the plan.

But while Ryan was a preschooler, the plan changed.

I got sick with a "mystery illness" that took doctors almost a year and a half to diagnose. Eventually, my rheumatologist determined I suffered from Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease, an autoimmune disease. I tried to pretend that my disease didn't impact my life or require any major lifestyle changes. But I couldn't keep up the pretense. So, in 2013, after a 12-year teaching career, I retired due to a disability.

I wasn't merely forced to give up my career. I had to give up my passion. I was now thrust into the role of year-round, stay-at-home mom, and I wasn't completely sure how to do it.

Thankfully, my disability check would continue to provide us with some income and the matching schedules Ryan had grown accustomed to would continue as well. But there were a lot of changes.

I had never before been the person to take Ryan to preschool. That job had always fallen to either our nanny or Paul. Now, I had to learn the timetable for breakfast, and the morning routine of getting washed, dressed, and out of the house.

I also had to figure out what to do after preschool. When I was teaching, I came home in the late afternoon. Ryan and I had some play time and shortly after that, we would begin our nightly evening routine. Now, with preschool ending at two o'clock each afternoon, we would have hours together before it was time for dinner.

How would I fill that time?

I knew how to lesson plan for a class of 30-plus students. I knew how to fill school days with a mix of whole-group instruction, independent work, and cooperative group work. I had a pacing plan to adhere to, standards and concepts that I was mandated to teach on a

timetable to prepare my students for periodic assessments and yearly standardized testing. But how would I organize a single day that involved just Ryan and me?

Many colleagues told me to find the silver lining. I had a disability, but I had also been given a gift—the opportunity to be a full-time, stay-at-home mom. While that was true, it came at a price.

I felt confused because I wasn't accepting my new role with complete enthusiasm and pure delight. I alternated between feelings of guilt, anger, and frustration because it wasn't my choice. My doctor and the state of California told me I could no longer teach. And when someone tells you that you can or cannot do something, it means something entirely different than when the choice is your own.

While I love my son and am honored to be his mother, I didn't know how to reconcile the fact that mothering had now become my primary job every day. I wasn't sure how to accept and make sense of my new identity. Disabled woman. Former Teacher. Stay-at-home mom.

I've slowly come to realize that I'm still a teacher, but now my student roster consists of one, my son, and my classroom isn't always a room. Sometimes it's the library. Sometimes it's our kitchen. Sometimes it's our backyard.

Sometimes it's enough. Sometimes it isn't. But it is always an adventure.

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In the moments after we give birth, we desperately want to hear our baby cry. In the middle of the night a few months later it's no longer exactly music to our ears, but those cries aren't just telling us that baby needs a night feeding: They're also giving us a hint at what our children may sound like as kindergarteners, and adults.

New research published in the journal Biology Letters suggests the pitch of a 4-month-old's cry predicts the pitch they'll use to ask for more cookies at age five and maybe even later on as adults.

The study saw 2 to 5-month olds recorded while crying. Five years later, the researchers hit record again and chatted with the now speaking children. Their findings, combined with previous work on the subject, suggest it's possible to figure out what a baby's voice will sound like later in life, and that the pitch of our adult voices may be traceable back to the time we spend in utero. Further studies are needed, but scientists are very interested in how factors before birth can impact decades later.

"In utero, you have a lot of different things that can alter and impact your life — not only as a baby, but also at an adult stage," one of the authors of the study, Nicolas Mathevon, told the New York Times.

The New York Times also spoke with Carolyn Hodges, an assistant professor of anthropology at Boston University who was not involved in the study. According to Hodges, while voice pitch may not seem like a big deal, it impacts how we perceive people in very real ways.

Voice pitch is a factor in how attractive we think people are, how trustworthy. But why we find certain pitches more or less appealing isn't known. "There aren't many studies that address these questions, so that makes this research especially intriguing," Hodges said, adding that it "suggests that individual differences in voice pitch may have their origins very, very early in development."

So the pitch of that midnight cry may have been determined months ago, and it may determine part of your child's future, too. There are still so many things we don't know, but as parents we do know one thing: Our babies cries (as much as we don't want to hear them all the time) really are something special.

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Jessica Simpson will soon join the mom of three club! The singer-turned-fashion mogul announced on Instagram today that she is expecting a baby girl.

"This little baby girl will make us a family of five," said Simpson, who shares 6-year-old Maxwell and 5-year-old Ace with husband Eric Johnson. "We couldn't be happier to announce this precious blessing of life."

The news may come as a surprise to Simpson's fans, considering she's been pretty vocal about feeling as though her family was complete. "I have two beautiful children, and I'm not having a third," she told Ellen DeGeneres in 2017. "They're too cute. You can't top that."

Earlier this year, Simpson revealed to Entertainment Tonight she had developed a case of baby fever, but said it would "definitely have to be a miracle" to have a third baby. Today's joyful announcement is proof that plans can change and that's part of the fun of life. All that really matters is that Simpson's family—including the two big siblings—certainly seem excited.

Besides, the designer of a line for Motherhood Maternity shouldn't have any problem with being just as fashionable as ever through her third pregnancy. 😉

Congrats to the growing family!

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Pumpkin spice lattes are here and the weather is getting chillier. That can only mean one thing—Halloween is near! Whether you're a fan of the holiday or not, there's simply nothing more precious than dressing up your baby or toddler in an adorable costume.

Today only, Target has up to 40% off Halloween costumes for the entire family. We rounded up the cutest picks from the baby + toddler departments—check 'em out. 😍

Toddler Halloween Costumes: Shark

Shark costume, $15.00 (was $25.00)

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