Dear Diary,

When I was pregnant, I read a ton of books on pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. Breastfeeding was one of my top priorities as a new mother, because I knew it was the healthiest thing I could give our child. And besides, it was free! But nothing I read in books or magazines prepared me for breastfeeding a baby with food allergies. Here’s how we figured out our son A.J. had multiple food allergies and how I adjusted my diet.

Discovering Food Allergies

At first, I thought the red swollen bumps on our son’s face were symptoms of baby acne. After three months, it didn’t cleared up on its own. He also had eczema and dry skin, which runs in my husband’s family. So each night, we bathed and lotioned him up to keep him comfortable.

One afternoon on a quick run to our neighborhood CVS, I heard our three-month-old son screaming in the back seat. When I pulled over at the store, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. He’d scratched his face raw and blood was running down his cheeks. That’s how uncomfortable and irritated he was. I immediately called the pediatrician and was told to come right in.

I don’t like needles or shots, so I was pretty anxious when the pediatrician suggested running blood tests to see if the food allergies she assumed was making him uncomfortable were really the culprit for his symptoms. Amazingly, he didn’t cry when the nurses took a blood sample, although I was pretty petrified. Minutes later the test confirmed he had milk and peanut allergies.


Changing Diet

His pediatrician explained that I’d have to change my diet. Everything I ate went into his breast milk. That meant no milk or cheese—major parts of my diet. No more peanut butter sandwiches, which I love. As much as I live for pizza and cream in my coffee, I had to purge those things from my diet.

A.J’s skin cleared right up, and he was a happy camper. My only slip up happened on his first Thanksgiving when we flew home to my parents’ home in New York. I had to have my mom’s famous lasagna. For a glorious 21 months, I nursed him on mommy milk, skipping the foods he’s allergic to and had a great experience.

Recently, A.J. celebrated his fourth birthday. That’s when we discovered his list of food allergies has expanded to include soy, seafood, chocolate and all tree nuts. One of the easiest ways we keep him safe now is to keep Mabel’s Labels Allergy Alert Labels on his cups and containers.

Food Allergies

Seeking Advice 

If you suspect your child may have food allergies, listen to your instincts.

  • Pay attention to your child’s demeanor and skin shortly after you breastfeed your baby.
  • Ask your pediatrician to run allergy tests.
  • Keep a food diary of what you’re eating. Start by eliminating milk, cheese, eggs, nuts and seafood to see if you     notice any differences in the baby’s behavior.
  • Don’t stop breastfeeding! This may be the hardest thing to do if you suspect your child has food allergies.           You don’t want to compromise your milk supply by cutting down on feedings.
  • Last and definitely not least, consider hypoallergenic formula. My cousin turned to it for her son because           she’d have to eliminate so many allergens from her diet that she’d barely have enough nutrition to produce      milk.

Hey DFTM Fam—Why do you think more children are suffering from food allergies? Do you know a mom who breastfeed a baby with food allergies?

Tune it to fellow TV mom Joyce Brewer on Mommy Talk Show. The Emmy award-winning TV journalist lives in Atlanta with her husband and son while blogging about family-friendly brands. You can follow her on Twitter @MommyTalkShow

About The Author

#Chocolate Milk

Throughout August, in celebration of National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, Diary of a First Time Mom will publish a new nursing story each day, written by 31+ black mom bloggers. DFTM Creator Heather Hopson asked each blogger to submit a personal breastfeeding story, and they immediately emailed their experiences—both good and bad. They wrote about everything from allergies and ignorance to pumping and working. Heather curated this collection to educate other African-American women about breastfeeding. That way, they will be armed with information to make a decision. Heather hopes you will join the movement on Twitter. Follow @dearmomdiary and the participants. You can check the #ChocolateMilk blogger ambassador list! Be sure to tweet using #ChocolateMilk. And don’t forget to share your story by clicking on Breastfeeding→ Lactation Nation on the menu bar above. Meanwhile, let us know in the comment box below why you nursed—or didn’t.

2 Responses

  1. Joyce Brewer

    I hope my journey helps more moms who may not even have considered that food allergies may be making their infant uncomfortable or irritated.

  2. Lesly::Mamas Guide

    I discovered my daughter’s dairy allergy at about 6 months old, when she had a day of diarrhea that eventually got bad enough we had to go to the emergency room when blood appeared in her diaper. I’d been at a reception the night before and had a good time with the cheese platter! The doctor was relatively sure that was the culprit and a two-week elimination diet confirmed it. I had to cut all dairy out of my diet, which continues now that she’s 18 months and still nursing. There are so many great dairy alternatives out there today its been relatively easy to maintain for both of us, and our pediatrician said that most kids will outgrow this type of allergy, so we test again every six months.


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