Wednesday, January 18, 2012

About Gassiness in Breast Milk

Gassiness among infants is quite common. However, excessive gassiness coupled with irritability and crying can cause concern. Breastfed infants may experience gastrointestinal distress from foods consumed by their lactating mothers. The foods consumed by the mother can affect the quality and taste of her breast milk. The lactating mother should consume a nutrient-rich diet and observe adverse reactions in her breastfed infant when introducing foods into her diet.

Allergenic Foods

Consuming allergenic foods can cause cramping, bloating gas and diarrhea. Your breastfed baby may be allergic to the foods you consume. According to a lactation consultant, Jan Barger, dairy products may be the most likely variable in the mother's diet causing gas in her breastfed infant. Milk, yogurt, cheese, sour cream, whey, casein, ice cream or any other dairy product may trigger symptoms of dairy allergies or lactose intolerance. Other common allergenic foods include shellfish, eggs, nuts, soy and wheat.


Caffeine consumption by the lactating mother can cause flatulence, irritability, jitteriness, sleeplessness and restlessness in your infant. Limit or avoid sodas, chocolate and other caffeinated foods to prevent adverse side effects in your infant. The Oregon Health and Science University recommends lactating mothers limit caffeine consumption to two 8-oz. servings per day. If you choose to drink caffeine while breastfeeding, spread out your caffeine consumption throughout the day to decrease the quantity of caffeine in your breast milk.


Common misconceptions exist surrounding the type of foods breastfeeding mothers should avoid. Breastfeeding mothers may try to avoid eating foods that cause them gastrointestinal distress, such as cabbage, broccoli, legumes and beans. According to Drexel University College of Medicine, foods causing gas in breastfeeding mothers do not necessarily cause gas in their nursing infants. Mothers should not avoid eating nutrient-rich foods, unless an allergic reaction is observed.

Feeding Regimen

Foods may not be the only cause for gassiness in your infant. A mother's feeding regimen may contribute to gastrointestinal distress in the infant. Switching breasts frequently during one feeding provides only the foremilk for consumption. The foremilk contains high-sugar content and lower nutritional value when compared to the hindmilk. The hindmilk includes high-fat content and nutrient-rich milk. Additionally, overfeeding or feeding too quickly can cause gas and stomach distension in a breastfed infant.

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