Every parent seems to know someone who “eliminated” gas in their infant by stopping garlic, cabbage, chili peppers, onions, cauliflower or strawberries. This myth makes about as much sense as saying that if a mom eats chocolate, that she will produce chocolate breast milk. The body does not work this way-if a food gives a mom indigestion, it will not necessarily give the baby gas. Babies tend to get gas from swallowing air which is a normal phenomenon associated with their sucking and swallowing during feeding. By this same token, many formula fed babies have gas too!
Although the myth persists regarding “gassy” foods, there is also a phenomenon called “cow milk protein allergy” (this is different from lactose intolerance). Breastfeeding moms that eliminate dairy products from their diet can help their babies who have this allergy. There is also some evidence to show that moms that eliminate cow’s milk, soy, peanuts, wheat and fish may see some lessening of the symptoms of colic. However, mothers who suspect either colic or milk protein allergy in their infant should consult their pediatrician prior to eliminating foods in their own diets. Eliminating foods unnecessarily in the mother’s diet, without consulting a pediatrician, can have negative consequences for the infant.
-Dan Weissbluth of WP
For more parenting myths, grab our free iPhone Myth App
Hill, DJ. N Roy, RG Heine, CS Hosking “Effect of a low-allergen maternal diet on colic among breastfed infants: a randomized, controlled trial.” Pediatrics. 2005