While breastfeeding, whatever you eat, your baby eats too. Consult with your doctor about your diet, to ensure your baby is getting the best possible nutrition from your breastmilk. Here are some foods to avoid during breastfeeding.
8 Foods to Avoid During Breastfeeding
1 High Mercury Fish
These include fish like king mackerel, swordfish and shark, which include high levels of mercury. Mercury is a neurotoxin that can affect your baby’s brain functioning. Try eating seafood like catfish, salmon and canned light tuna that contain healthy essential oils which are good for both you and the baby.
2 Tea / Coffee
Drinking more than 2 – 3 cups of coffee a day could lead to high levels of caffeine in your body, which may in turn affect the caffeine level in your breastmilk! Babies ingesting caffeine could lead to fussiness and sleep interruption. The level of tannin (caffeine found in tea) varies, so you will have to watch your intake accordingly. Try switching instead to naturally non-caffeinated herbal teas like chamomile and nettle, which are gentle and soothing. These teas also help with breastfeeding issues, such as low milk supply and help to calm teething babies.
Babies consuming alcohol through breastmilk could potentially have their growth and sleep patterns affected. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have any fun at all though! If you do drink, just wait for at least two hours before feeding your baby. Prepare for a night out by storing up excess breast milk to feed your baby with later.
4 Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits could cause fussiness, diaper rash and gastrointestinal refluxes. Limit your intake to one glass of juice in the morning, and opt for other fruits like strawberries, mangoes and pineapples instead.
If your family has a history of being allergic to peanuts, try avoiding peanuts to avoid causing rashes, wheezing and hives. Consider having other nuts like walnuts or macadamias.
6 Gas-Inducing foods
Some vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, asparagus and onions contain a kind of sugar that causes gas as they are being digested. This can lead to your baby having a lot of gas – gassy foods causes gassy babies. While cooking these vegetables helps a little, it may be good to cut down on these vegetables for the meantime to prevent colicky and fussy babies.
7 Spicy Foods
Spicy foods may also cause discomfort in your baby, leading to fussy babies that cry inconsolably. Look for other ways to spice up your food without adding actual chilis or pepper that may add too much heat.
Peppermint has been shown to affect breastmilk supply. Limit peppermint tea intake to one cup a day, or replace with other teas like chamomile and nettle instead.
As always, every baby is unique, so watch out for cues from your baby and trust your own instincts on what works and what doesn’t, and what foods to avoid during breastfeeding. Consult a physician when in doubt. Enjoy this period of bonding with your baby!
Information adapted from What Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding.