Maternal Dairy Consumption and Hematochezia in Exclusively Breastfed Infants

Farrah B. Lazare, Donald A. Brand, Melissa J. Fazzari, Asif Noor, Fredric Daum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: When an exclusively breastfed infant develops hematochezia, the pediatrician may recommend elimination of dairy and soy products from a mother’s diet, but there is limited scientific evidence to indicate that altering the maternal diet will lead to resolution of the problem. Research aim: To estimate the likelihood that maternal dairy and soy avoidance will resolve rectal bleeding in an exclusively breastfed infant. Methods: This was a prospective, longitudinal, one-group pre/post study involving mothers of exclusively breastfed infants at least 2 weeks but less than 6 months of age with a positive stool guaiac test in the absence of an intestinal lesion or other explanation for the blood. Participants agreed to follow a dairy and soy elimination/rechallenge protocol, maintain a food diary, and have their infant re-tested at 3-week intervals to determine the outcome of the dietary changes. One participant was lost to follow-up, leaving a final sample size of N = 19. Results: All infants continued to test positive for blood in the stool after their mothers eliminated foods containing dairy or soy. Therefore, 0% (0/19) of infants responded to their mother’s restricted diet, 95% confidence interval (one-sided [0%, 15%]). Conclusion: Given these results, we must call into question the rationale for advising breastfeeding mothers to eliminate dairy and soy from their diet in response to their infant’s unexplained rectal bleeding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-172
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Human Lactation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • breastfeeding
  • exclusive breastfeeding
  • human milk
  • milk composition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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