Foods to avoid while breastfeeding
There is technically no foods that breastfeeding woman must avoid. However some foods can cause mild reaction such as spicy foods, cabbage, chocolate and foods high in C concentrate. It will depend on your own body and the sensitivity of your baby.
Foods such as cabbage, garlic, chilli & curry may cause your baby to experience discomfort with wind. Although there is no research to support this, centuries of mothers will agree that keep these foods to a minimum if you want a good nights sleep. Some strongly flavoured foods may change the taste of your milk, although babies enjoy a variety of breast milk flavours, if you baby suddenly becomes fussy at the breast after you eat particular foods (for example garlic) you be best to avoid that food while breastfeeding. However you babies tolerance may improve as he/she gets older so you may be able to re-introduce that food.
Other foods & drinks to watch out for are; pineapple/juice (being the worst offender) and other vitamin C rich fruits such as oranges, tomatoes, grapefruit and lemon, that can cause your baby to get a nappy rash. If you think something you are eating is affecting your baby, you may need to do a bit of detective work to figure out the cause of the sensitivity. If you are not sure, try cutting the food out of your diet for up to a week to see if things improve. If avoiding the food causes a nutritional imbalance, seek professional advise before removing from your diet.
Moderate your caffeine intake, a small amount is fine, but too much can interfere with your baby’s sleep, or make him/her fussy. Keep in mind that caffeine is found in some sodas, teas, and over-the-counter medicines, as well as in coffee. Having an occasional social drink will not hurt your baby, but may make him/her sleepier than usual. To a sleep deprived mother this may sound like a solution, however it is more likely to unsettle your baby and lead to poor feeding which may result in your baby waking more during the night.
Question: Are there any foods I should avoid while breastfeeding?
Answer: Some nursing moms find they can eat whatever they like. While it’s true that some strongly flavored foods may change the taste of your milk, most babies seem to enjoy a variety of breast milk flavors! Generally, the dominant flavors of your diet — whether soy sauce or chili peppers — were in your amniotic fluid during pregnancy. Fetuses swallow a fair amount of amniotic fluid before birth, so when they taste those flavors again in their mother’s breast milk, they’re already accustomed to them.
Occasionally a baby will be fussy at the breast or gassy after you eat a particular food. If you notice a pattern, avoid that food for a few days. To test whether that food really was the cause, reintroduce it once and see if there’s an effect. Mothers report that babies most often object to chocolate; spices (cinnamon, garlic, curry, chili pepper); citrus fruits and their juices, like oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit; strawberries; kiwifruit; pineapple; the gassy veggies (onion, cabbage, garlic, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers, and peppers); and fruits with a laxative effect, such as cherries and prunes.
A daily cup or two of coffee is fine, but too much caffeine can interfere with your baby’s sleep or make him fussy. Remember that caffeine is also found in some sodas, teas, and over-the-counter medicines.
It’s also okay to have an occasional alcoholic drink. But having more than one drink increases your blood alcohol level to the point that the alcohol gets into your milk. If you plan on having more than one drink at a time, wait two hours per drink before resuming nursing (or nurse, then have your glass of wine). There’s no need to pump and dump unless your breasts are full and it’s still not time to feed your baby. Moderate or heavy drinking is definitely not recommended while breastfeeding. An old wive’s tale suggests that dark beer increases milk production, but recent studies suggest this is not true and that alcohol, in fact, reduces milk production.
If your baby has allergy symptoms (such as eczema, fussiness, congestion, or diarrhea), they may be caused by something he’s in regular contact with, such as soap, mildew, or foods he’s eating himself. Or he may be reacting to foods you eat that get into his system via your breast milk. It usually requires a bit of detective work to figure out exactly what’s causing the sensitivity.
If you think that something you’re eating is causing problems for your baby, it’s usually something you’ve eaten two to six hours before feeding. The most common culprits include cows’ milk products, followed by soy, wheat, egg, nuts, and corn or corn syrup.
Talk to your baby’s doctor before you omit any foods from your diet. If avoiding a food could cause a nutritional imbalance (for example, if you eliminate all dairy products), you may need to see a nutritionist for advice on substituting other foods or taking nutritional supplements. Continue taking your prenatal vitamin as long as your baby’s fully breastfed to cover any gaps in your own diet.