• franceswalker@thefoodinto

Is my baby reacting to amines through my breast milk?

While protein in dairy and soy are often the main triggers for breast-fed babies' symptoms, salicylates, amines, glutamates and food additives can also cause issues for some food sensitive babies.

If there is a history of food chemical sensitivity in the family - whether it be salicylates, amines, glutamates and/or preservatives, and your baby continues to have what looks like food related issues despite exclusion of main allergens such as dairy and soy, then food chemical sensitivity looks very suspicious.

Let's look at red flags that suggest amines in mum's diet could be causing an issue for her 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, and often salmon.

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 here.

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, and it is not uncommon to see an amine sensitive baby reacting to probiotics.

Fermented Foods

"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.

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)

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 with nutritional holes. 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 mum's with knowledge.