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Diet, Breast-Feeding, and Colic

Topic Overview

Some breast-feeding mothers claim that certain foods cause colic in their babies. Colic, by definition, is extreme crying that is not related to physical discomfort or digestive problems. But it is possible that some foods affect breast milk and contribute to intestinal gas or other digestive problems, which may make crying episodes worse. More research is needed to investigate this relationship.

Foods commonly associated with affecting a mother's breast milk in this way include:

  • Garlic, onions, cabbage, turnips, broccoli, and beans.
  • Apricots, rhubarb, prunes, melons, peaches, and other fresh fruits.
  • Cow's milk. Talk with your doctor about not drinking milk for 1 week. If there is a family history of allergy or milk sugar intolerance, you may need to avoid dairy products while breast-feeding.
  • Caffeine.

If you suspect that your baby's crying becomes worse after feeding with breast milk, keep a record of what you eat and how your baby acts, especially when crying episodes occur.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
Last Revised May 10, 2011

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