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Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding
Just as you made sure to eat the right food to keep your baby healthy during your pregnancy, it’s equally important that you eat only the good stuff to guarantee nutritious breast milk during your breastfeeding journey. This is why today we created this post on foods to avoid while breastfeeding.
Based on a study conducted on breastfeeding mothers, it was proven that maternal dietary intake can affect the quality of milk. This could have in impact not only the health and development of a breastfeeding baby, but on the well-being of the mother as well.
If you’re a milk-producing mommy and you want to give your little one nothing but the best, make sure to avoid these 10 foods that compromise breast milk quality.
- Coffee – It’s understandable for any mum to prepare a cup of coffee post-partum as a way to de-stress. After all, caffeine is recognized as one of the most powerful energy boosters to date.
Before you start brewing however, it pays to note that while caffeine may make you feel a little more upbeat, it can have negative effects on your baby.
Mothers rapidly metabolize caffeine after consumption, and this means it’s available in your breast milk just several minutes after you drink a cup. This has been said to have the greatest effects on newborns as well as premature babies.
When you breastfeed your baby after drinking a cup of coffee, you can expect her to become jittery and fussy. What’s more, babies who consume caffeine via their mum’s breast milk have been observed to develop very poor sleeping patterns.
So if you want your baby to sleep through the night, avoid the coffee and other drinks that may contain caffeine.
- Dairy – Dairy is a common ingredient used in a lot of the food we eat. While it’s usually incorporated into our meals in the form of creams and butters, there are lots of mums who like to enjoy the morning glass of milk.
But while milk has been highly praised as one of the healthiest natural sources of calcium and vitamins, it can impact your breast milk in a bad way.
Studies have suggested that mothers who drink dairy products are more likely to produce milk that causes fussiness, rashes, and breathing problems in babies. This is due to the fact that some infants have dairy allergies.
Because there is no telling whether your baby is allergic to dairy, it would be much better to avoid these products in the meantime until your baby is a year old.
- Citrus – Oranges, grapefruit, and other juicy citrus fruits are a great way to beat thirst. Many lactating mothers believe that these juices are ideal for producing top quality breast milk that’s packed with vitamins and nutrients.
Based on research however, citrus may be bad for breast milk, especially because your baby’s digestive system is still just developing. By introducing citrus into their system through your breast milk, you could risk digestive irritation that can cause loose stool, frequent vomiting, and fussiness.
Avoiding citrus drinks and sticking to water may be a much better option to quench your thirst.
- Alcohol – If you’re a social mum who wants to enjoy the occasional drink to take a load off, you might think a glass or two of alcohol isn’t something you should worry about. To some extent, this is true.
Alcohol in moderation rarely has any effects on breast milk. However, increasing the frequency and the amount of alcohol you take can significantly and negatively affect your breastfeeding baby.
According to a recent study, alcohol in copious amounts can mix in with breast milk and cause drowsiness, weakness, decreased growth, and deep sleep in babies. This can become a major health threat if the mother continues her drinking habits.
- Sage – This slightly bitter herb is commonly included in soups, salads, and as flavoring for different fish and meat preparations. Adding a very distinct woody flavor to savory dishes, sage is an essential for most kitchen creations.
Despite being a delicious inclusion to your favorite meals however, sage is an herb that lactating mothers should avoid. Based on research, sage has been proven to reduce the amount of milk that mothers produce.
If you’re struggling with a low milk supply and you’re having a hard time producing enough for your little one, it would be best to avoid sage at all costs.
- Peppers and Chilis – If you’re the kind of person who loves indulging in spicy dishes and snacks, it’s ideal that you take a break from the hot food while you’re lactating. This is especially important if you don’t want to deal with a fussy baby.
Researchers have found that eating spicy food can affect milk supply, altering its taste, and making it cause fussiness and gassiness in babies. This can make it difficult for your baby to fall asleep at night, causing interruptions in their sleeping pattern. It can also lead to the development of gastrointestinal discomfort which may cause your baby to cry uncontrollably.
What’s more, a chemical called capsaicin which is found in spicy foods has been said to cause perennial rashes in babies. These red itchy spots can be very uncomfortable, requiring lots of treatments and care to achieve relief.
Make sure to avoid indulging in spicy food while breastfeeding so you can make it easier to train your baby to fall asleep at night, and to prevent any rashes from developing.
- Garlic – Garlic is considered by many as a miracle food because of its powerful antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. But despite being a very healthy and tasty addition to your favorite meals, garlic can cause changes in the taste of breast milk.
Indulging in garlic when lactating could lead to the development of an undesirable taste in your breast milk. According to experts, this potent taste and pungent scent could cause babies to reject milk.
If you don’t want your baby to reduce their breast milk intake, and you want to make sure they breastfeed as much as possible, avoid taking in garlic that could cause them to decline when you offer your milk.
- Peanuts – When babies are born, they already have specific food sensitivities that will become full blow allergies when they’re older. Among the most common food allergies they can have are peanuts.
If peanut allergies run in your family, it would be much better to avoid eating any form of nuts when you’re lactating. This is because babies’ sensitive systems may not be able to regulate the allergen, and thus cause the development of adverse reactions.
Allergic reactions in babies can be life threatening, causing their airways to close and multiple itchy wheals to develop all over their skin. Avoid eating peanuts to prevent an allergic reaction and be sure to have your baby checked for allergies to determine what’s safe to eat and what’s not.
- Fish – This potent source of protein is much healthier than any other meat you’ll find on the market. But because some fish have high concentrations of mercury, they can be very bad for your breastfeeding baby.
Mercury has been observed to stunt growth and contribute to the development of different medical conditions in young babies. While it’s ideal that you eat at least 12 ounces of fish a week, it’s important to choose your seafood wisely and avoid options that have high levels of mercury.
When you’re in the market, choose fish with bright pink or red meat, such as salmon and tuna. These are the best options for lactating mums who want the benefits of fish without risking mercury poisoning.
- Broccoli – After you give birth, it’s going to be one of your top priorities to make sure you eat the right, healthy foods to keep your breast milk nutritious for your baby. For many, healthy food is often thought to be green leafy vegetables. However this may not always be the best.
Studies suggest that green vegetables such as broccoli can produce milk that causes flatulence in babies. This can cause your little one to feel uncomfortable and gassy, which may lead to uncontrollable crying and fussiness.
While broccoli is considered one of the main contributors for gas-inducing milk, other green leafy veggies like cabbage, lettuce, and spinach have also been said to produce poor milk quality.
To avoid giving your baby an episode of painful flatulence, steer clear of green leaves and opt for other fruits and vegetables instead.
When you’re pregnant, it should be one of your biggest priorities to take care of yourself so that the little one in your womb is kept healthy and safe. But this process of self-care doesn’t end when that baby enters the world.
Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding Summary
As a breastfeeding mum, you and your child will always be connected, and whatever you do will have a direct effect on your little one.
Make sure your child receives nothing but the best and give your baby top-notch nutrition for a bright and healthy future by avoiding these foods when breastfeeding.