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Thread: Sodium benzoate = crazy hyperactive baby?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Default Sodium benzoate = crazy hyperactive baby?

    We had the weirdest night last night. I eat a mostly whole foods, avoiding GMO and chemicals, as-much-organic-as-I-can-afford diet, but last night I was super nauseuos and too lazy to make herbal tea, which is what I should have done; instead I grabbed one of my husband's Canada Dry ginger ales from the fridge and drank most of it over the course of an hour or two. My 5-month-old was asleep already, but she doesn't get into a deep sleep until I join her in bed for good, so she nursed a bunch soon after I started drinking it. And after a while, her behaviour became SO strange. She got totally wakeful and wouldn't go back to sleep. She does screech and flail for fun, but she was screeching in this really strange voice; it was like someone replaced her vocal cords, and she was arching her back and flailing her arms as if she couldn't control it, just on and on and on. Her breathing also became really shallow and fast for a long time. Even when she finally went back to sleep (after midnight!!), I was kind of afraid to fall asleep because her breathing was so strange. The noises were just unearthly and I was concerned at how hyperactive her body seemed. Not herself at all.

    Soon after she started acting this way I thought, "It's probably all the white sugar I just drank that she's not used to." But then it occurred to me to read the ingredients, and I saw something I didn't recognize: sodium benzoate. So I looked it up online quickly and found at least one other parent posting that it makes her daughter hyperactive, and that it can exacerbate ADHD symptoms, etc.

    Has anyone ever heard of this?? Obviously it gave me a bit of a scare, and if she's that sensitive I am going to have to be even more careful with what I put in my body than I thought.

    It was also sad to realize that nursing, my go-to for every problem, was just going to make the problem continue until it was through both our systems I did hand-express a bit after I started suspecting the sodium benzoate of causing her odd behaviour.

    Too paranoid? Yes? Thoughts? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    miles from nowhere

    Default Re: Sodium benzoate = crazy hyperactive baby?

    I think you're probably over thinking this. If it happened several times with the same result I'd say maybe it's the drink, but it isn't all that abnormal for a baby to fuss, even quite a bit, and you never know what the cause was. I also wouldn't think it necessary to express milk to get it out of your system. Did you nurse again and have the same problem?
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Sodium benzoate = crazy hyperactive baby?

    I think you're probably being overly paranoid.

    I think one of the most important things a nursing mom can do is to release herself (and her milk) of responsibility for everything her baby does or doesn't do. It can be really tempting to draw one-to-one correspondences about something you did or ate and the baby's weird behavior. But correlation isn't causality. I wouldn't conclude that something you ate made your baby act a certain way unless you saw the same reaction every time you consumed that thing, and you'd want to be scientific about it and try the same thing multiple times.

    There's this mindset out there that a breastfeeding mom needs to be so, so, so careful about what she eats, lest it upset the baby or make the baby sick. I've even heard people say that they didn't want to breastfeed because it was so challenging to maintain a perfect diet. But the truth is that a nursing mom will provide good milk even if she lives on Twinkies and soda pop- not that that's an ideal diet for breastfeeding, far from it! But please don't set up an unattainably high standard for yourself. That's just going to make you feel guilty and it might even make you eager to wean, so that you can get back to a normal diet.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Default Re: Sodium benzoate = crazy hyperactive baby?

    Thanks both! still.here, it was just kind of constant nursing on and off for a few hours, about 9:00 to midnight, after my having started drinking the pop at 8:00 or so. So the weird behaviour was just kind of just during that 3-hour period of nursing, until she finally went to sleep.

    mommal, thanks for the idea about releasing self of responsibility. I'm not eating this way solely because I'm nursing - it's the way I feel the best physically, so I'm not headed for early weaning so that I can get back to "normal" or anything. I AM a pretty firm believer that what we put into our bodies affects us (and our babies) more than we realize, but I know no one's diet can be perfect and I definitely eat chocolate and cookies sometimes without (too much) guilt And you're quite right that I'd have to be scientific about it and try it several more times in order to be anywhere near sure that that was the cause; but I'm not willing to try it again just in case, as it was so painful to watch and all the sugar made me feel weird anyway. Although the ginger ale did help my nausea.

    Thanks again for the replies!

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