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What Foods Cause Gas While Breastfeeding?

by
author image April Sanders
April Sanders is a writer, teacher and the mother of three boys. Raised on an organic farm, she is an avid gardener and believes that good growth starts with a rich, supportive foundation -- a philosophy that serves her well in both gardening and teaching. Sanders has written for Nickelodeon, Warner Brothers, Smarted Balanced, PARCC and others.
What Foods Cause Gas While Breastfeeding?
Dairy Photo Credit AlexPro9500/iStock/Getty Images

What goes in, must come out -- and for nursing mothers, this means that what you eat affects your breast milk and, in turn, affects your baby. This is a good thing -- the more variety in your diet, the more likely your baby is to develop a broad palate. Gas is a normal reaction to feeding and is not usually a cause for concern. But if your baby is in pain, eliminating the gas-causing culprits can help.

Dairy Foods

Cow's milk is a common culprit when it comes to causing gas, and it's one reason babies sometimes develop colic, which is signified by inconsolable crying and the passing of large amounts of gas. Babies who have colic also often draw their knees up to the chest in an effort to pass the gas and relieve the pain. Although a baby might not be allergic to cow's milk, she may still be sensitive to it. In fact, dairy is at the top of the list of foods that cause sensitivity issues in babies, according to Dr. Sears, in a Parenting.com article entitled "Ask Dr. Sears: Breastfeeding." Eliminating dairy products from your diet for between five to seven days can help you determine if the milk, cheese and yogurt you are consuming are the culprits. As your baby grows older, gradually reintroduce dairy back into your diet and monitor her reactions.

Oats and Grains

This may seem like a no-brainer, but foods rich in fiber are likely to cause gas in your baby. Anything with bran is a top culprit, along with foods such as whole-wheat pasta, oats, rice, and whole-wheat bread. It takes up to three days for food to leave your system completely, according to Parents.com, so start a food journal and keep track of when your baby's gas issues and other symptoms of food sensitivity -- such as a red rash around the anus and a bloated tummy -- start to subside.

Fruits and Veggies

Broccoli is famous for its gas-producing capabilities, but what many new moms might not know is that apples are just as full of fiber, as are other fruits such as raisins, pears and even raspberries. And broccoli isn't the only vegetable we can blame for gas -- artichokes have almost twice the fiber as broccoli has per serving, and peas, corn and potatoes all have good amounts of fiber, which means they can all cause gas. There's no need to eliminate all of these foods -- most are very healthy and beneficial for you and your baby. Just take a look at which foods you tend to eat the most of, and how frequently, and then go from there.

Other Foods

Avoid the two "Cs": Caffeine and carbonated beverages. The latter are full of air, and anything containing the former can cause gas, including chocolate. If you drink a cup of coffee each morning and then nurse your baby soon after, try waiting until after you nurse to enjoy your java and see if your baby has less gas throughout the morning -- although in some cases it can take up to a week for symptoms to disappear. Legumes such as peanuts -- and by extension, peanut butter -- can also cause gas in babies who breastfeed. Spicy foods, tomatoes and egg whites may be likely culprits as well.

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