Children’s Health – Food Intolerance

Question: “My breastfed daughter is displaying signs of food intolerances. I have already cut out soya, dairy and all dairy derivatives from my diet, along with the usual suspects; chocolate, brassic veg, alcohol, caffeine, tomatoes etc. What else can I do before resorting to formula?”


Firstly, it’s really admirable that you have taken so many ‘goodies’ out of your diet- for some babies this works a treat. During these early months baby’s digestive system is still developing and has low levels of stomach acid. Breast milk requires virtually no digestion so is easy for baby to cope with. Babies are born with a sterile gut and breast feeding is the one and only opportunity we have in our lives to populate the entire surface of their gut with a healthy mixture of bacteria to assist in future health. Bottle fed babies have a completely different combination of bacteria in their gut and swapping to formula doesn’t remedy the situation. Supplementing your diet with probiotic-rich foods/capsules can help correct your gut flora and pass on the benefits to baby. Making coconut milk kefir is one way to do this, or adding sauerkraut to all of your meals. I like the website for more information on this.


Gluten is a protein present in Barley, Rye, Oats and Wheat (think BROW!) and Casein is a milk protein present in cow, goat, sheep and human milk- both have the ability to pass part-digested into Mother’s milk. Some mums have reported good success when eliminating these foods from their diet until baby’s digestion has matured somewhat, and instead introducing nourishing broths/soups, good quality protein and non-starchy vegetables. Improving your own gut health will pass the benefits to your baby, see


You don’t mention what the symptoms of food intolerance are, but if your little girl is fussing or colicky perhaps also consider a visit to a cranial osteopath, who will be able to detect any visceral tension around the digestive organs. I know this can be a tough time, seeing your little one in distress. The lack of sleep for mum and baby carries its own difficulties, but there is light at the end of the tunnel- colic really does pass, and 4-6 months seems to be the turning point. Perhaps attend your local baby massage class to learn techniques to help ease any discomfort. Your local La Leche League breast feeding counsellor will be able to assess latching, foremilk/hindmilk imbalance and rule out other causes.


For great breast-feeding tips see


Other useful websites:


The advice is not intended to diagnose or treat, and any health concerns or dietary changes should be first discussed with your GP or Health Visitor.


Gabi Heyes, Naturopath, Herbalist and Iridologist practicing at Natural Practices Clinic.
Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 1HG 01625 54 9000