Meal Plan for Allergen Free Eating while Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding a baby with allergies
Food allergies among children have been on the rise over the last few decades and it is estimated that now between 5 and 8% of children under 5 years have a food allergy.910 While some studies indicate that exclusive breastfeeding may moderate an infant’s risk of developing allergies, some breastfed babies may still be diagnosed with a food allergy.1112
The good news is that as long as the allergen(s) can be taken out of the diet, most people do not have to stop breastfeeding if their baby develops a food allergy.234
Keep reading to learn how to cut the top allergens out of your eating pattern if your little one has been diagnosed with a food allergy.
Do I have to cut out all food allergens if I’m breastfeeding?
Unless your infant is diagnosed with a food allergy, research indicates there’s no reason to avoid certain foods.5 In fact, a wide variety of foods should be consumed to help continue building your child’s food preferences for the future.
Read about: Picky Eating: Taste Imprinting during Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Understand where food allergens may be found
The primary goal is to be your own detective, read labels, and make inquiries at restaurants or other events involving food. Allergens can be hidden in coatings, thickeners, spices, natural flavors, and other ingredients found in fresh, frozen, refrigerated, and shelf-stable foods.6
If you are ever in doubt, ask! Calling food manufacturers can give you great insight into a product’s allergen information.
Preparing meals and snacks at home can help you maintain control over food sources and help prevent cross-contamination and cross-contact.
Read more: Am I Able to Reduce the Risk of Allergies for my Baby While I’m Pregnant or Breastfeeding?
Top 8 allergens on food labels
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires all manufactures to label foods with the top 8 allergens: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans.7 Sesame will be added to this labeling requirement as the ninth top allergen starting in January 2023.8
This FDA regulation applies to all packaged foods sold in the United States after 2006, regardless of where the food was originally manufactured.7
The regulation does NOT apply to labels on meat, poultry, and certain egg products.7
This meal plan takes out the top 8 allergens and is created for women who are truly allergic, or who are breastfeeding and need to undergo an elimination diet to determine what foods their infant may have an intolerance or allergy to.
Taking these foods out during pregnancy or breastfeeding, if not warranted, may actually be detrimental to your overall nutrient intake.5 Be sure to always get the support of a registered dietitian if you will be eliminating all allergens to ensure your diet still has all the necessary nutrients.
If you are breastfeeding and your infant is showing symptoms of allergy or intolerance, and you have discussed the issue with your and/or your infant’s healthcare provider, this meal plan may be used to help eliminate the major allergens.
Allergen Free Meal Plan during Breastfeeding
This diet can be tricky. Make sure to work closely with your HCP as they know what is best for you and your baby. To determine which foods were not tolerated by your baby, your HCP may have you add these foods back into your diet one at a time after they have been eliminated for 2-4 weeks, or until your infant stops having symptoms.
Choosing meals and snacks from the below listed options will help eliminate the top 8 major allergens (dairy, soy, eggs, fish, shellfish, wheat, tree nuts, and peanuts) while helping you maintain an adequate nutrient intake.
Option 1: Gluten free oatmeal made with water, banana, and sunflower seed butter
Option 2: Plant-based yogurt alternative, berries, and chia seeds
Option 3: Smoothie: Banana, berries, baby spinach, unsweetened plant-based milk alternative, ground flax seeds, and hemp seeds
Option 4: Millet made with water and apple juice, mixed with unsweetened coconut flakes, dried fruit, pumpkin seeds
Option 5: Gluten-free vegan pancakes with sliced banana, sunflower seeds, and a drizzle of maple syrup.
Option 1: Massaged kale salad with shredded carrots, garbanzo beans, and brown rice
Option 2: Shredded chicken mixed with olive oil, chopped veggies of choice, salt and pepper; Wrapped up in corn tortillas with a hummus spread and a spinach salad on the side
Option 3: Salad with colorful vegetables, sunflower seeds, grilled chicken, olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Option 4: Spiced black beans and quinoa in bell pepper cups
Option 5: Gluten free pasta tossed with olive-oil roasted veggies (such as tomatoes, yellow squash, and bell pepper) and chicken
Option 1: Grilled chicken, broccoli, seasoned potato salad made with olive oil
Option 2: Roasted sweet potato topped with seasoned black beans, cilantro, and avocado
Option 3: Corn tortillas, seasoned ground beef or ground turkey, corn and tomato salad, and asparagus
Option 4: Stir fry chicken and vegetables with quinoa. Be sure to use a gluten-free soy sauce.
Option 5: Spaghetti Squash topped with pasta sauce made with ground chicken
Option 1: Corn chips with black-bean salsa
Option 2: Bell pepper or other veggies with hummus
Option 3: Pumpkin or sunflower seeds and dried fruit
Option 4: Apple or pear with sunflower seed butter
Option 5: Gluten-free high-fiber cereal, unsweetened plant-based milk alternative, berries
We know parenting often means sleepless nights, stressful days, and countless questions and confusion, and we want to support you in your feeding journey and beyond.
Our Happy Baby Experts are a team of lactation consultants and registered dietitians certified in infant and maternal nutrition – and they’re all moms, too, which means they’ve been there and seen that. They’re here to help on our free, live chat platform Monday - Friday 8am - 6pm (ET). Chat Now!
Read more about the experts that help write our content!
For more on this topic, check out the following articles:
Introducing Major Allergens to your Infants
Does my Child have a Food Allergy or a Food Intolerance?
Guidance when Raising a Child with Food Allergies
Our meal plans offer recipe and meal suggestions. They are not designed to replace your doctor’s recommendations, nor do they take into account special nutritional needs, except in this case for the removal of the top 8 allergens. The meal plans suggest serving sizes that may or may not be appropriate for you. Please consult your doctor to determine what is best for you and your child.