Breastfeeding & Food Allergies

The Beginning

My son, Bubby, was born in March 2010. When he was about two weeks old he started exhibiting the early signs of colic. It got worse. And worse. When he was about six weeks old I started to eliminate dairy. I wasn't careful about ingredients; I just eliminated the obvious milk, cheese, yogurt, ice-cream, etc. We started noticing a difference in his fussiness. At his two-month well check his pediatrician suggested really cutting it all out and seeing if we noticed even more improvement. She told us that a  good percentage of infants who are intolerant to dairy are also intolerant to soy, so to think about that as well. She gave me a handout on dairy and soy allergies, mostly for my reference as it had good lists of what foods to avoid. At first we decided to avoid all dairy and soy proteins, since my reading showed that most who reacted to soy were reacting to the proteins, not the soy oils.

Bubby was showing improvement, but would go back and forth. He seemed better, but not great. Just shy of his three month "birthday" he was having an especially rough time and very yucky diapers. I went to change his diaper one day and saw just what I didn't want to see -- a streak of blood. Up until then his diapers had been watery and only sometimes a tad mucousy. I hadn't worried much about the non-textbook breastmilk poops because Beanie's never had been the mustardy, curdy poos you read about. But, Beanie was happy and not in pain. There was obviously something else going on with Bubby. The bloody streak confirmed by suspicions.

The Big Elimination

That day, after some hemming and hawing, I decided to eliminate all the top eight allergens from my diet. It was obvious something was bothering Bubby. I had a feeling it was dairy plus something else, as he was showing signs of improvement with me being dairy-free. I figured there was no sense in going willy nilly with it and it would be easiest (in the long run) to eliminate the top eight and see where we went from there. I eliminated:

Tree Nuts

I had a feeling there were some things it likely wasn't, like fish or tree nuts. I didn't really eat enough of those (I thought) for them to be causing Bubby so much pain. I didn't eat anything containing the top eight for two weeks. Then I reintroduced each allergen one at a time.

Wheat was the first "biggie" in my mind. I really hoped that it wasn't wheat that Bubby was reacting to; I really like bread and carbs. Unfortunately, it was painfully obvious within about two days that Bubby was intolerant to wheat. He was groaning and grunting, fussy and in pain, and his diapers were mucousy and blood streaked.

I reintroduced the other allergens with no issue until we got to dairy. I had saved dairy for last because I always had the suspicion that Bubby was intolerant to dairy and something else. When the time came, I didn't even want to reintroduce the dairy at all, that's how sure I was that he was going to have an issue with it. But, the only way to really know for sure was to try it out; there was the possibility that his intolerance was only to wheat. But, again, it was very obvious quite early on that he had a problem with dairy. Within two days, he had blood in his diaper.

We thought we had it all figured out -- Bubby was intolerant to dairy and wheat. He was doing better. Then, things started to go downhill again. He was grunting, groaning and obviously having a lot of pain in his stomach. His diapers were mucousy. He was getting hives (we're not entirely sure if this was purely coincidental -- I hope so as the rest of his symptoms were gastrointestinal and more indicative of an intolerance and not an actual allergy. Autoimmune reactions could point towards the possibility of an actual allergy.) Since he had been doing so well during the big elimination, I assumed that he was reacting to something I had previously eliminated from my diet. I figured the most logical step was to re-eliminate soy since A significant percentage of infants intolerant to dairy are also intolerant to soy (Kellymom). I hadn't been consuming much, if any, soy protein, but I wondered if Bubby was in the group who reacted to soybean oils. Sure enough, Bubby showed marked improvement after I re-eliminated soy.

Living Gluten-, dairy- and soy-free

People commented about how hard it must be to be gluten-, dairy- and soy-free and how they "couldn't do it." But, I assure you, you could. And you would the instant you saw how much happier and pain-free your child was.

And, really, it isn't that hard at all. Some days it seems hard, but it really comes down to cooking for yourself and eating whole foods. As a family we explored new foods and tried new recipes. I am always excited to find new goodies that I can have. There are a few local bakeries that make absolutely delicious items. I became quite good at adapting recipes.

Right when I started the big elimination, I met someone who was also dairy- and soy-free and she told me that she tried to look at it as an opportunity to explore new foods, not a time where she couldn't have this or that. I've always tried to look at it that way. I'll admit sometimes I slip and think about what I can't have, but the truth of the matter is there are so many things I can have. I've even found some new favorite foods.

I feel healthier eating this way. I am not sure which restriction is making me feel so much better. I have my suspicions it is the lack of dairy in my diet as I noticed a difference in myself very shortly after eliminating that. I'm not sure I will ever go back to eating exactly how I did before.

It's been a journey, that's for sure. An adventure. Difficult at times, but always worth it. Our journey isn't over yet; I will make sure and update this page when we do reintroduce the wheat, dairy & soy into my diet and, subsequently, into Bubby's.

If you'd like to read more about the big elimination in detail, click here

Click here to see my list of favorite foods during the elimination diet


  1. Wow, you've been through a lot trying to figure out what's making your little boy uncomfortable. I commend you for sticking it out! Moms are amazing.


  2. Hi there--just found you through the NaBloPoMo blogroll.

    I went through such a similar experience with my son, and while I'm back on dairy now (his dairy allergy seems to be resolving at the age of two, and he breastfeeds only minimally), I find myself wishing I weren't back on the "sauce" so to speak. There really was a purifying quality to not eating dairy anymore--and I too found it to be a great opportunity to explore new foods--not to mention it was well worth it to see an end to those horrible diapers.

    Anyway, I'm glad to see others writing about this, and I'm thinking I need to do something similar, as it was so hard to find useful information during that phase of my son's life.


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