Is my baby reacting to amines through my breast milk?
Updated: Jan 23
Protein in foods such as dairy and soy are often the main triggers causing issues for breast-fed babies who are food sensitive. What most people are not aware of, is for some babies shown to be food sensitive, other components in foods can potentially be a problem, specifically- salicylates, amines, glutamates and some food additives.
If there is a history of food sensitivity in the family - such as reactions to mono sodium glutamate, specific fruit and vegetables such as tomato and oranges and reactions to wines or chocolate , and your baby continues to have what looks like food related issues despite exclusion of main allergens such as dairy and soy and other allergens, then food chemical sensitivity may be worth exploring with a professional.
This article looks at red flags for amine issues, but keep in mind, if amines are an issue, then also glutamates and salicylates may be worth looking at.
Let's look at red flags that suggest amines in mum's diet could be causing an issue for your baby:
"My baby seems to have issues (eg colic, uncomfortable, wakeful, green/mucous stools) after I eat pork."
Test this out to see if there is a connection- amines in the pork, especially if the pork is used as a left over meal, and if slow cooked. Pork is very high in amines and an amine sensitive baby will commonly have issues with the amines in pork.
This issue can commonly be seen during the xmas period when there is lots of pork (and ham) and other high amine foods such as turkey and salmon and a lot of left overs.
Aged meat, slow cooked meat or left over meat
"My baby is fine with meat from the supermarket but not when I have it as left overs." OR "my baby seems unsettled when I have beef and lamb but seems fine with chicken."
Fresh chicken, lamb and beef are low in amines but if not super fresh (for example half price as close to the expiry date) then they have already developed amines.
Time is the important factor here. Chicken is often fresher than lamb which in turn is often fresher than beef which is usually hung so it is aged and thus will have the highest level of amines. Buying very fresh chicken, lamb and beef is recommended to reduce amine content of these meats.
Meat also over browned, used as left overs or cooked for long periods of time also increase in the amine content.
"Chocolate, especially dark chocolate seems to exacerbate issues. I noticed this when I over dosed on chocolate and my baby had a terrible night."
Chocolate is known as having very high sources of amines, and in fact, along with very ripe bananas is used as the official amine challenge (as per The Royal Prince Alfred Hospital). A big red flag that amine sensitivity is in play.
"When I trialled probiotics directly (or indirectly via breast milk) my baby had a definite reaction."
All probiotics are a known source of amines as probiotics are fermented, and it is not uncommon to see an amine sensitive baby reacting to probiotics.
"I love having kombucha but I think my baby's symptoms seem worse the days I have kombucha."
All fermented foods result in the production of amines which can cause issues with amine sensitive breast fed babies. Kombucha will often cause issues in a baby sensitive to amines.
Other Red Flags
Other indicators that point to a food chemical sensitivity in a breast fed baby is causing issues
reaction to liquid panadol (known to be strong in flavour and contain preservatives)
family history for example mother or father or grandparents/uncles/aunties react to msg or other additives or to red wine/chocolate (such a big red flag is worth mentioning twice!)
other foods react to include corn, coconut yoghurt and coconut products, tomato, spicy foods (lots herbs + spices): these foods also can contain salicylates and glutamates.
If this resonates with you- take note of the other amine flags and try and confirm your observations. Reproducibility adds further weight to this being a possibility.
Getting professional help for these sensitivities, especially if other food restrictions in place, to avoid having a diet that does not meet your nutritional needs.
Guidance in appropriate foods, bringing in foods where possible and working within guidelines of allergen exposure in the first year of life, where possible, are all really important factors to carefully consider.
Empowering you with knowledge.