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So much changes after your newest little bundle of joy enters the world. It is not just usual life changes such as new sleeping patterns or different daily routines. For some women, another change that they may have developed is postpartum food allergies. According to reports from the New York Times, it isn’t uncommon for women’s immune systems to be compromised postpartum, therefore causing allergies after giving birth. Also, a new baby may also have allergies of their own even if they haven’t had anything other than the mother’s breast milk.
Why Do Postpartum Food Allergies Happen?
During pregnancy, the immune system is slightly suppressed so that it recognizes the fetus and doesn’t reject it. According to the New York Times, “being exposed to an allergen when your immune system is suppressed can trigger the development of a new allergy.” This means that those who develop allergies in adulthood may have experienced an allergic reaction during their childhood and only later in life does it return. Then there is another theory that the onset of adult allergies could be because they were not exposed to the allergen enough during their childhood. With pregnant women, this same exposure can occur during pregnancy when their immune system is suppressed.
Once a woman has given birth to her baby, her immune system begins builidng back up to ‘normal’, and may begin reacting to outside allergens more severely or at least differently than in the past. This is why some women will notice they have postpartum food allergies. Not only might postpartum women notice new food allergies, but also seasonal allergies as well as a serious skin condition known as PUPP. The likely cause of the new postpartum food allergies is the immune system being out of balance and the gut response. So much of the immune system is located in the gut and when there is an imbalance, this leads to food intolerances or sensitivity to other allergens.
There could also be taxation on the adrenal system which mitigates stress. Because of this, women may react because their adrenal glands aren’t working properly in order to respond to their stress. This causes inflammatory elements to get into the gut and cause allergic reactions or responses.
On the bright side, in most cases when it comes to postpartum food allergies, they tend to clear up on their own within a short few months. If women want to speed up the recovery time from these allergies, they can seek naturopathic remedies. One way to help is through taking probiotics as it is good for restoring gut health. The probiotics help balance the T Helper Cells which in turn can reverse those allergies.
Newborn Food Allergies and Breastfeeding
Unfortunately, some babies are born with allergies even though they have never had anything other than breastmilk. Mothers who breastfeed may even wonder if they can continue to feed their baby and what to do next. The answer is yes, mothers can continue to breastfeed, but they may need to eliminate the foods that are irritating their little ones.
Common food allergies for newborns include dairy, eggs, nuts, peanuts, soy, and wheat. The biggest challenge is working out which of these foods the baby is allergic too. It is best to keep a food log of what the mother has eaten daily as well as the baby’s symptoms. Patterns may arise when the baby has a reaction or not and by keeping track of foods eaten and reactions of the baby, a mother can pinpoint which of the foods is causing it.
What Should a Breastfeeding Mother Eat?
A mother should eat a well-balanced diet during the time she is breastfeeding. The first step to figuring out the allergen bothering her or her new baby is to cut out dairy as this is usually the main culprit. There are other forms of calcium fortified options like soy milk (if not allergic to soy), almond milk, rice milk, hemp milk, and coconut milk. Even orange juice can supply a mother with the daily recommended dose of calcium.
For the protein aspect, there is plenty of protein found in chicken, fish, beef, eggs, nuts, and beans (given the baby isn’t allergic to any of these). They should keep in mind though that babies can be allergic to more than one thing, so it is best to stay on the strict diet until the baby is about 1 year old where most times they outgrow their allergies.
Mothers should also continue to take their multivitamins. Prenatal vitamins are great to continue taking after the baby arrives. The labels though always need to be checked as there can be hidden allergens in the ingredients. Vitamins help the mother keep up with the necessary nutrients for keeping her and baby healthy during the time she is breastfeeding especially if she is cutting out certain foods from her diet.
It can take a month or so for a mother to learn what her baby is allergic to, but sometimes it may take longer. If the baby shows no sign of improvement after removing dairy, she may need to remove other food allergens such as eggs, wheat, etc. If all else fails, it may be best to be seen by a professional to dig deeper into what it is exactly the baby is allergic too.
Postpartum food allergies can occur in either the mother, baby or both. Hopefully, for both mother and baby, learning which allergens are problematic will help so that mothers can enjoy a healthy diet while breastfeeding. Fortunately for both mother and baby, postpartum food allergies usually go away on their own and are short-lived.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on POSTPARTUM ISSUES NO ONE TALKS ABOUT.
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Sources: This is why you May Get Allergies After Pregnancy
The Onset of Allergies After Giving Birth
Breastfeeding a Baby with Allergies
Photo Credits: Pixabay, Natural Womenhood, NHS, Today’s Parent