8 Foods That Could Be Making Your Breastfed Baby Fussy 

We’ll say it over and over again: breastfeeding is one of the best things that you can do for baby. Breastmilk contains essential nutrients that help to nourish a growing baby and provides unbeatable immunity support. The benefits of breastmilk are far and wide, plus it’s free and provides a wonderful bonding experience. Yet all good things come with some problems every now and then. While breastmilk is the best thing for your baby, it can make your baby fussy. When this happens, it’s understandable to get confused and even a little bit worried—but don’t worry. Often times the reason that your breastfed baby is getting fussy is because of something you’ve eaten that puts strain on your baby’s digestive tract. In this article, we’ll explore eight of the most common foods that could be making your breastfed baby fussy.

Common Foods that Make Breastfeeding Babies Fussy

Gas is completely normal for both babies and adults. It’s a byproduct of your gastrointestinal system and isn’t cause for concern. However, as we all know, sometimes gas can be uncomfortable. When it happens to adults, we can take an over the counter medication to help ease discomfort but when it happens to babies, it’s a little different.

Babies can’t directly tell you what’s wrong. The way they communicate is through crying or getting fussy. If you notice a trend where your baby gets fussy after breastfeeding, it’s likely because something you’re eating is upsetting their stomach. Here are some common foods that make breastfeeding babies fussy:

  1. Diary

    Diary is the most likely culprit behind fussiness. Cow’s milk is much harder for underdeveloped bodies to digest and can cause excess gas or discomfort in babies. When you drink milk caseins, the proteins found in diary, pass through your blood and into your breast milk.2 Newborns and young babies cannot digest caseins, so they become fussy and gassy.2 If your baby is a little older and they’re still getting fussy from diary, it could be because of an allergy. Try eliminating all forms of processed diary and see if it makes a difference.  

  2. Soy

    Soy is another common allergen that babies react to.2 Many mothers equate fussiness with their soy intake, so if you’re diary-free and using soy alternatives, you’ll need to consider a different alternative.

  3. Wheat and Corn

    In addition to diary and soy, wheat and corn have been known to cause allergic responses and have subsequently been found as the source of a breastfed baby’s fussiness. If you think that you might be sensitive to wheat or corn, of if you have a family history of allergies in any of these areas, you should consider eliminating them from your diet. This is more difficult than eliminating dairy products, as wheat, corn, and even soy are found in many different processed foods.2 Make sure that you read the labels and talk to your doctor about alternatives that are safe for breastfeeding.

  4. Caffeine

    Caffeine gives you a much-needed energy boost during motherhood, but it can actually contribute to problems. A lot of babies are sensitive to caffeine, which causes fussiness.3 Your caffeine is transmitted through breastmilk, so try to limit your intake to one cup of coffee or tea in the morning.

  5. Spicy Foods

    If you love spicy foods, you’ll probably need to dial it back while you’re breastfeeding. The spices can upset your baby’s stomach and tends to change the way your breastmilk smells and tastes, which could lead to a refusal to eat altogether. The main spicy foods to avoid are garlic, curry, chili pepper, and cinnamon as these are known to cause higher levels of indigestion.2

  6. High-Fiber Foods

    While eating a diet that’s high in fiber is good for mom, it can cause fussiness in your baby.3 The high fiber content in a baby’s diet can contribute to uncomfortable gas and indigestion, so you’ll want to dial it back a little bit. You can still eat a diet that gives you fiber but try to avoid certain vegetables while you’re breastfeeding such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and cabbage.3

  7. Chocolate

    Some women notice that their breastfed baby gets fussy when they eat chocolate. This is completely normal. A lot of times, it’s more-so due to the amount of chocolate that’s eaten, not the chocolate itself.2 If you like to indulge, try limiting yourself to one square of chocolate at a time to help ease your baby’s fussiness.

  8. Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits can cause discomfort in newborn and infant digestive tracks, so it’s best to limit them in your diet until your baby’s older. The acidity of the fruits cause irritation to their digestive tract, which in turn leads to fussiness.2 Other fruits that may cause fussiness include pineapples, strawberries, kiwis, cherries, and prunes.2

While these are the eight most common foods that tend to make breastfeeding babies fussy, there are still other foods that can cause discomfort. To minimize this, don’t overdo it on any one food group. Try to spread out your nutrition and eat a balanced diet filled with a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein. When you saturate your diet with one food, it can cause digestion difficulty for your baby. They’re digestive tracts are still developing and the best way to help avoid fuss is to keep a balanced diet. For more information on the best foods to eat while breastfeeding, check out this article.

How to Determine Which Foods are Making Your Breastfed Baby Fussy

The hardest part about eliminating the food from your diet that’s making your baby fussy is knowing exactly what it is. Luckily, by following an elimination diet, you can get a better understanding on your baby’s sensitivities. There are three primary steps to determining which foods are making your breastfed baby fussy: getting organized, eliminating different foods, and testing for confirmation.

  • Step One: Get Organized

    The first step requires you to get a little bit organized. You’ll need to track what you’re eating each day and record how your baby is reacting. Some women go as far as tracking everything they eat while others only focus on the foods that are most likely to create problems listed above. Whatever you decide to do, just be consistent. It’s going to take a few weeks for this process to work, so you’ll need to stay organized and committed. In addition to recording your baby’s fussiness, keep notes on whether they’re crying or colicky, are bloated or suffering from constipation, are gassy, experiencing diarrhea, or have a red ring around the anus.1

  • Step Two: Eliminate Foods

    Next, you’ll need to go on an elimination diet for a few weeks. Start by eliminating one of the main foods that cause irritation and fussiness—diary. Diary is one of the most common foods that cause babies to get fussy. Abstain from eating any diary (or at the very least any cow’s milk) for at least 10 to 14 days.1 Keep an eye on your baby to see if they are still fussy or if they start to calm down and the symptoms go away. If your baby is still fussy, move on to the next food listed above and repeat the process. You’ll need to continue working down the most common foods that cause irritability until your baby’s symptoms go away. When they do, move on to step three.

  • Step Three: Test Your Results

After you’ve pinpointed the trigger food, it’s time to do a little home experiment to confirm. If all of your baby’s symptoms have subsided, reintroduce the food that you suspect as the cause of fussiness. If your baby starts showing symptoms of discomfort or fussiness within 24 hours of breastfeeding, that food was the culprit and you should remove it from your diet for now.1 As your baby grows and develops, their stomach will get stronger and adapt to a wider variety of foods. If you have any questions about this process, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor first.  

Conclusion

Breastfeeding your baby is an excellent way to bond, but it means that whatever you consume, your baby consumes. To make sure they’re comfortable, you’ll need to make some adjustments to your diet. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned or have any questions about allergens. If you need a breast pump for your newborn, don’t forget that the Affordable Care Act means that expectant mothers are eligible to receive an electric breast pump covered by their insurance provider! Just head over to our home page and browse our selection.

If you’ve had a fussy baby and tried any form of an elimination diet to pinpoint the source, head over to our Facebook page today and let us know what food was the culprit!

 

Sources:

1 https://www.askdrsears.com/topics/feeding-eating/breastfeeding/common-problems/colic-causing-foods-breastfeeding

2 https://www.hellomotherhood.com/article/34344-foods-avoid-breastfeeding-gassy-newborns/

3 https://www.baby-chick.com/foods-that-make-breastfeeding-babies-fussy/