BABY FORMULA
  • Baby Food
  • What Foods Help to Avoid Gas When Breastfeeding?

    by Agustina Fernandez May 27, 2024 9 min read

    What Foods to Avoid When Breastfeeding for Gas | Organics Best

    There are various foods breastfeeding mothers may be recommended to avoid while nursing, including spicy food, dairy, soy, citrus fruits, and more. Some of these foods are known to aggravate babies' digestion, and that's why it can be helpful to pay close attention to what you eat.

    Often, removing certain foods from your diet can make a big difference for your little one when they're experiencing increased gassiness and discomfort.

    To help you navigate the nuances of healthy eating for breastfeeding moms, we'll look at the most common foods to avoid while breastfeeding to prevent gas and explain how they may affect your baby's overall comfort and digestion.

    So, keep reading to discover what you can do to make breastfeeding a more positive experience for both you and your baby and what foods to avoid while breastfeeding to prevent gas!

    Signs Your Breastfed Baby is Gassy

    As a parent, you probably have a keen eye for recognizing when your baby is not acting like themselves. Behaviors outside of your baby's norm can, in some cases, indicate an underlying problem or condition that should be addressed with your pediatrician.

    While babies passing gas is completely normal and expected, especially when adjusting to dietary changes, excessive amounts and prolonged discomforts should be addressed and managed.

    Understanding the link between your diet and breast milk can help you spot signs that your little one is experiencing gas related to nursing.

    When it comes to gassiness, there are a few signs and symptoms to look out for that may indicate discomfort. Here are some of them:

    Signs Your Breastfed Baby is Gassy  | Organic's Best
    • Squirminess or pulling legs up to the chest

    • Consistent crying, often for an hour or more

    • Reduced appetite

    • Appearing to be unhappy or fussy often

    • Unable to sleep

    • Swollen belly

     

    Foods That May Cause Gas in Breastfed Babies

    Many new mothers decide to practice an elimination diet as a way to ease their baby's symptoms. This does not work in every case but can be worth a try if you suspect your baby's gassiness is linked to your diet.

    There are certain foods that are more likely to cause gassiness in babies, such as:

    Foods That May Cause Gas in Breastfed Babies | Organic's Best 

    1) Dairy products 🧀

    While dairy is safe for breastfeeding mothers to consume, some breastfed babies have sensitivities to cow's milk proteins (or may even experience an allergic reaction to them). Naturally, when nursing moms consume dairy, some of those proteins transfer into their breast milk supply, causing gas and other symptoms in their sensitive little ones.

    If you're a self-proclaimed cheese lover or you need a splash of milk in your daily cuppa, you'll be glad to know that only around 3% of exclusively breastfed babies experience this sensitivity. Nonetheless, it doesn't hurt to be on the safe side and watch out for telltale signs of a problem.

    Contact your pediatrician if you notice any allergy symptoms like excessive fussiness after feedings, colic, gas, diarrhea, mucus or blood in your baby's stool, wheezing, vomiting, firm or swollen belly, or skin rash.

    2) Soy 🫘

    If your breastfed baby is allergic or sensitive to soy protein, they may experience increased gassiness when you consume it. This is one of the less likely culprits on our list, as only around 0.25% of babies are allergic to soy.

    However, if you suspect a soy allergy, pay close attention to how your baby's digestive system reacts when you eat foods with soy protein. The symptoms would be similar to those of a milk protein allergy, which we mentioned above. If you notice any signs of allergy in your breastfed baby, try to avoid foods containing soy for a while to see if the symptoms disappear and seek out the guidance of your pediatrician.

    3) Spicy foods 🔥

    Spicy foods can be a healthy part of a varied diet if consumed in moderation, but unsurprisingly, they can change the flavour of your breast milk. That means chowing down on a load of hot wings can add a kick to your milk that makes it less appealing to your baby. And just like adults, for some babies, spice may cause gas, diarrhea, increased irritability due to digestive discomfort, and rash.

    Now, this doesn't mean that spicy food is your enemy. Just remember to eat a little bit at a time to make sure your baby still enjoys your milk. But if your baby is particularly sensitive to spice, it's best to eliminate spicy foods from your breastfeeding diet altogether, at least for some time.

    4) Fiber-rich foods 🫛

    While fiber can't directly pass into breast milk, there are anecdotal reports of increased gassiness in breastfed infants when breastfeeding moms eat fibrous foods. However, there's no scientific evidence confirming that eating fiber-rich foods can cause gas in a breastfed baby.

    Additionally, fiber is an essential part of a healthy diet, so if your baby is dealing with extra gassiness and fussiness and you suspect it's connected to high-fiber foods, it's best to consult with your healthcare provider before making an elimination. 

    5) Caffeine or carbonated beverages ☕

    No sleep-deprived breastfeeding mother with a million things to do wants to hear that they should reduce their caffeine intake, but hear us out on this one. The caffeine found in coffee, tea, and many carbonated beverages generally belongs to safe breastfeeding foods because, thankfully, the trace amounts of caffeine are typically too small to have any effect on your little one.

    Of course, there's always a "but." Some infants can be more sensitive to caffeine, causing them to experience unpleasant digestive issues (like, you guessed it, gas). If that's the case, you'll want to limit your caffeine consumption or even ditch it altogether.

    Younger babies tend to be the most sensitive to it, so it's best to avoid caffeinated beverages while nursing a newborn. But if your baby is older and isn't showing any sensitivity signs, up to 3 cups of coffee per day is considered safe for breastfeeding mothers!

    6) Acidic Foods 🍋

    Acidic foods are often among the breastfeeding foods many moms avoid. They are believed to cause discomfort, gas, and even rash in some babies.

    However, research shows that certain foods with high acidity, like citrus fruits or tomatoes, do not change the pH of maternal plasma, which, in layman's terms, just means they can't affect your milk that much.

    Then again, you may have to add acidic foods to the list of foods to avoid them if your little one is naturally more sensitive to them. Look out for the usual signs of sensitivities to particular foods like gas, fussiness after feedings, excessive crying, diarrhea, and rash.

    7) Cruciferous Vegetables 🥬

    You might want to add cruciferous veggies, AKA foods belonging to the cabbage family, like Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, to your list of foods to avoid.

    Research suggests that when a breastfeeding mom's diet contains an increased amount of cruciferous vegetables, it could make their baby gassy. Some studies also show that eating more than one type of these vegetables may increase the chance of colic in your little one.

    If you notice a change in your baby's digestion, you can try reducing your intake of cruciferous vegetables and see how your baby reacts.

     

    Should You Eliminate Gassy Food While Breastfeeding?

    Should You Eliminate Gassy Food While Breastfeeding?  | Organic's Best

    It's not necessary for nursing mothers to eliminate foods unless they have reason to believe that their diet is causing their breastfed infants' gas. This may come as a relief as many mothers experience an increased appetite while breastfeeding and having a list of foods to avoid can be frustrating to deal with.

    Even though diet and breast milk are linked, in many cases, the foods you eat won't affect your baby, especially if you eat a healthy, balanced diet. There's a lot you can eat while breastfeeding, and if you're ever unsure about what works for your baby and what doesn't, a medical professional can offer you guidance!

     

    How Long Do Gassy Foods Stay in Breast Milk?

    Studies show that it can take up to a couple of weeks for certain proteins to no longer be detectable in breast milk. If you are going to attempt an elimination diet, try avoiding gas-inducing foods for a few weeks to see if this helps your baby. If the problem persists, there might be another issue at the root of their gassiness.

     

    Gassy Baby: Other Causes

    Infant gas can be caused by several factors outside of a breastfeeding mother's diet. These causes can include:

    Gassy Baby: Other Causes  | Organic's Best
    • Swallowing too much air when feeding or crying - This is completely normal among newborns and is a common culprit of a baby's gas issues.

    • An underdeveloped digestive system - In young infants, food can pass through their digestive system without breaking down completely, thus causing gas.

    • Allergy to foods in their breastfeeding mother's diet - In rare cases, gassiness can indicate a possible food allergy, such as a cow's milk protein allergy.

     

    How to Relieve a Gassy Baby

    If your baby is experiencing gas, here are a few home remedies that may offer them some relief.

    • Change or adjust feeding positions - If you ever bottle-feed your baby breast milk, it may be beneficial to tip the bottle up slightly or switch to a slower-flow nipple to reduce air bubbles. Additionally, feeding your baby in an upright position can reduce the amount of air they swallow.

    • Time feedings correctly - It is important not to wait until your baby is having a meltdown to feed them (although this can be unpredictable, especially in newborns). So, make sure to look out for hunger cues ahead of time because the more your baby cries, the more air they will swallow.

    • Move your baby's legs in a circle - Baby bicycle is a simple exercise that can help your baby release gas. All you have to do is lay your baby on their back and delicately cycle their legs in a bicycle motion toward their tummy to manually help squeeze out any trapped gas.

    • Tummy time - There are many benefits to tummy time, from strengthening back and neck muscles to preparing them for crawling and walking and helping with baby gas relief due to the slight pressure it puts on their tummy.

    • Baby massage - In some cases, helping your baby's body relax with a gentle massage can be enough to help with gassiness. All you have to do is gently massage your baby's stomach in a clockwise motion.

    • Baby Burps - To help prevent a buildup of gas, burp your baby by gently patting their back more than once during feedings.

    • Switch formulas - If none of the above methods have worked, and your baby is combo-fed, it could be that your baby's formula is causing the upset. With the guidance of your pediatrician, you may wish to consider switching formulas. Thankfully, there are several formulas available that accommodate a range of dietary needs, such as anti-reflux and hypoallergenic formula options, which you can discuss with your pediatrician.

    Learn more: Switching Baby Formula: Guidelines on How Not to Harm Your Infant

     

    Talk To Your Pediatrician About Probiotics

    Talk To Your Pediatrician About Probiotics for Breastfed Baby Gas | Organic's Best

     

    Probiotics are live microorganisms which can be found in popular foods like kimchi and yogurt and are known to improve the gut microbiome. They can be a great tool for your baby's digestive health, as research has found that they can reduce gassiness.

    Some HiPP baby formulas include probiotics, which are great for infants with tummy troubles. While probiotics are generally considered safe, make sure you talk to your pediatrician before giving your baby any product containing them.

     

    Conclusion

    Gassiness is quite common in many babies, so there's no need to panic. Keeping a close eye on which particular food makes your little one more fussy or gassy can help you understand what foods to avoid while breastfeeding to prevent gas.

    Many moms find success with the simple tools outlined above and by eliminating certain foods from their maternal diet. It could take some trial and error to find the best fit for your little one; in the meantime, remember to watch your baby's reactions to track how their digestion improves.

    And if the issue persists or you start noticing new symptoms, reach out to your healthcare provider. Your baby's pediatrician can assess the situation and help you find the best solution. Good luck to all the breastfeeding moms out there!

     

    Disclaimer:

    Please be aware that this information is based on general trends in babies, and it is not medical advice. Your doctor should be your first source of information and advice when considering any changes to your child's formula and when choosing your child's formula. Always consult your pediatrician before making any decisions about your child's diet or if you notice any changes in your child.

    Breastfeeding is the best nutrition for your baby because breast milk provides your child with all the essential nutrients they need for growth and development. Please consult your pediatrician if your child requires supplemental feeding.

    Agustina Fernandez
    Agustina Fernandez

    Dr. Agustina Fernandez earned her medical degree from the prestigious Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina. With a deep-rooted passion for pediatrics, Dr. Fernandez is currently on the path to specializing in children's healthcare. Recently, she has delved into the vital field of infant nutrition. Her research interests include breastfeeding, infant formula, and baby food in little ones’ formative years. Dr. Fernandez's commitment to this area of study underscores her dedication to ensuring the health and well-being of children from their earliest days.

    Leave a comment

    Comments will be approved before showing up.


    Also in Organic Infant Nutrition and Health Blog

    Can you mix formulas | Organic's Best
    Can You Mix Formulas Together?

    by Agustina Fernandez May 28, 2024 7 min read

    Read More
    How long is baby formula good for?
    Formula Storage: How Long is Formula Good For?

    by Agustina Fernandez May 15, 2024 7 min read

    Read More
    Toxic Baby Formula Ingredients to Watch Out For
    Toxic Baby Formula Ingredients to Watch Out For

    by Agustina Fernandez May 13, 2024 8 min read

    Read More
    Trustpilot
    Scroll Up