Is an elimination diet breastfeeding safe? These days, elimination diets are getting press as a means of curing a variety of ailments, like headaches, pain and inflammation, gut health issues, heartburn, fatigue, and more.
So what is an elimination diet and when do you need to follow one?
What is an Elimination Diet – Breastfeeding Friendly?
An elimination diet is a way of eating that eliminates foods that cause symptoms of allergies or intolerance.
The point is to figure out what food is causing you problems. Once you’ve identified an offending food, the next step is to eliminate it so that it no longer causes you problems. When you get rid of the food, the symptoms should subside.
This isn’t a diet for losing weight. It’s simply a way to reduce and eliminate foods that are causing symptoms of intolerance.
If you’re breastfeeding and notice something’s bothering you, it could be bothering Baby and eliminating the offending food could result in both of you feeling relief from symptoms.
When is an Elimination Diet Right for Me?
The time for trying an elimination diet is when you think certain foods might be causing an allergic reaction. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can range from mild to severe.
Mild to Moderate Symptoms:
- Hives (red, swollen, itchy skin rash)
- Eczema flare (a dry, itchy rash)
- Redness of the skin, particularly around the mouth or eyes
- Itchy mouth or ear canal
- Nausea or vomiting
- Stomach pain
- Nasal congestion or a runny nose
- Slight, dry cough
- Odd taste in mouth
- Swelling of the mouth and/or throat that blocks breathing
- Trouble swallowing
- Shortness of breath or wheezing
- Turning blue
- Drop in blood pressure (feeling faint, confused, weak, passing out)
- Loss of consciousness
- Chest pain
- A weak or “thready” pulse
Any combination of these symptoms may be signs of life-threatening anaphylaxis, which should be treated immediately. For more information, see Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction to Food
You’re probably here looking for information about food intolerance as opposed to how to manage severe allergic reactions, so I’ll be addressing that here.
If You’re Experiencing Symptoms of Food Intolerance
If you’re experiencing signs and symptoms of food intolerance, there are things you can do to start making changes.
Here I talk a little more about what (if any) foods to avoid while breastfeeding and, in a nutshell, it’s simply best to avoid herbs that are known to dry up milk supply and foods that consistently cause the symptoms listed above.
But if you’re at the point where you’re only suspecting you might have an allergy, where do you begin?
Of course, if you think you have a food allergy that’s causing severe problems, please see your doctor.
And even if you’re experiencing milder symptoms, seeing your doctor could provide peace of mind.
Until then, you could immediately begin keeping track of your food with a food journal. Track what you eat, how much, and when. Then make a note of how you feel after eating. Read over the symptoms above and if it helps, use that list as a reference when you’re making a note of what you’re experiencing.
If you notice a pattern or if you find that certain foods consistently make you feel bad, you can start an elimination diet breastfeeding as you go along.
How to Implement an Elimination Diet Breastfeeding Baby
As long as you’re still eating enough food and getting your vitamins and nutrients, you can safely eliminate foods and still breastfeed Baby.
I want to note here and an elimination diet is not The Elimination Diet.
A general elimination diet is a slow and steady way of eliminating foods to see if you’re sensitive to them and, if you are, you can remove them from your diet permanently.
The Elimination Diet is a diet book sharing a 3-phase plan for discovering foods that cause problems so you can safely eliminate them.
Implementing an elimination diet breastfeeding a baby can be overwhelming. Rather than be too restrictive, you might be better off starting with an easy elimination diet for food intolerance.
As with any diet for breastfeeding moms, it’s best to run this and any other diet by your doctor before starting.