Does dairy affect my breastfeeding baby?

Could dairy be making your breastfeeding baby fussy? Here's what you need to know about lactose intolerance in babies.

Photo: iStockphotos
Photo: iStockphotos

A fussy baby does not mean a nursing mom needs to change what she eats. In fact, lactose intolerance in breastfed babies is very rare. Fussiness is more often related to breastfeeding technique, says Toronto paediatrician Jack Newman.

Even so, when my first baby was hard to settle after a feed, and my midwife ruled out latch and supply issues, she suggested I cut back on dairy—scientific proof aside. I tried it for a few months and noticed a difference. “Cow’s milk protein can be hard to digest,” says Anita Arora, a lactation consultant in Milton, Ont.

Keep a food diary to help you figure out if there’s a pattern. (It can take two weeks to eliminate cow’s milk protein from your system, and note that lactose-free products are not necessarily free of cow’s milk proteins.) You may be able to phase dairy back in after a while—some babies outgrow their sensitivity by six to 18 months.

Read more:
Low milk supply? Tips for boosting your milk production
15 breastfeeding problems and how to solve them
Symptoms and remedies for babies with reflux

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