How long does dairy protein take to clear my breast milk?

Trying to figure out if your breastfed baby is sensitive or allergic to the dairy or soy you’re eating? Cow’s milk protein intolerance (CMPI) is an abnormal response by the body’s immune system to protein found in cow’s milk, which damages the stomach and intestines. Cow’s milk protein intolerance is not lactose intolerance. If you were told it takes 2-3 weeks to clear the dairy from YOUR milk and you should switch to formula in that time, you were given extremely inaccurate (and potentially harmful) advice. 

From While more research is still needed, a small study showed lactating mothers who ingested milk prior to being dairy free, found cow’s milk protein peaked at 2 hours post-ingestion and were undetectable at 6 HOURS. While the study was small it was using mass spectrometer ion intensity testing which is incredibly accurate.

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition reports “for an immediate reaction the maternal elimination diet needs to be maintained for only 3 to 6 days. If delayed reactions are suspected (eg, allergic proctocolitis), then the diet should be continued for up to 14 days. If there is no improvement, then it is likely that diagnoses other than CMPA are the cause of the symptoms and the child should be further evaluated.”

So while the protein is cleared from your milk in less than a day, the REACTION and damage in your baby’s GI system can absolutely last longer than the protein is in your or baby’s system. It’s the residual inflammation from the protein exposure, not continual exposure from your milk after 12-24 hours that causes the reaction to last for days to weeks. 

If you’re trying ro figure out if baby is sensitive to dairy or soy, eliminate these from your diet but it is SAFE to CONTINUE to breastfeed through the elimination. That protein has cleared from your milk within hours, not weeks. 

Breastfeeding and Weight Loss

You were probably told breastfeeding would be this incredible biological postpartum weight loss plan. While that may be true for about 1/3 of people, most of us hold on to our weight regardless of how much boob juice we make. When you breastfeed, fat cells stored in your body during pregnancy and calories from your diet fuel milk production. Your body burns about 20 calories for each ounce of milk you make. Which is why you need an extra 300-500 calories a day. After an immediate postpartum weight loss of about 15#, it tends to be gradual — about 1–2 pounds a month for the first six months after childbirth and more slowly after that point. It often takes 6-9 months to lose pregnancy weight.

Why are you not losing the baby weight?

🧁 I don’t know about you, but I was hungrier breastfeeding than pregnant. You’re still eating for two only your second party is bigger now than when they were in your belly. Breastfeeding cravings are real. 

🧁 Lactation cookies? Let’s be honest, a cookie is still a cookie whether or not it helps with your supply. Eating lots of bars, cookies, power drinks and teas with sugar or honey are not going to help with weight. 

😵‍💫Stress: Research has also found that elevated cortisol levels (the stress hormone) have been associated with weight retention in the first 12 months postpartum

😴 Lack of sleep:  Research shows when we don’t get consistent sleep, our hunger hormone (ghrelin) gets triggered and our satiety hormone (leptin) dips, increasing appetite. Scientists at the University of California also found that sleep-deprived people tend to reach for higher-calories foods compared to those who are well-rested.

🩸Hormones: Prolactin, your milk making hormone, is also sometimes called the “fat-storing hormone”. High levels of prolactin can result in weight gain. And they are at their highest while breastfeeding. While more research on prolactin is needed, we hypothesize that our bodies undergo metabolic adaptations to hold onto excess fat as “insurance” for baby. Meaning, if you were to find yourself in a famine, you body has what it needs for baby.

🔑Remember: there is waaaay too much pressure to “bounce back” after having a baby. Your body is epic and lovely and just pushed a tiny human being out. Your body is going through so many changes and there are physiological things at play that can be beyond your control. Trust your body. Trust your baby. Love your body.