It’s a good idea to know what foods to avoid while breastfeeding and why you’re avoiding them. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of having to eliminate any one food from my diet. So when I found out that there are very few foods you have to avoid when you’re breastfeeding, I was thrilled.
In general, there are only four foods to avoid while breastfeeding:
THAT’S IT! 😀
And the only reason you want to avoid these foods – herbs, really – is because they can dry up your milk supply.
A key point here is that these are proven to affect milk supply so it’s better to play it safe and avoid them altogether for the time being.
That means being mindful of the ingredients of certain foods.
It’s not just the whole form of these foods you need to consider, it’s when they’re part of other food products, too. Like peppermint mocha creamers and coffees or the oregano in your mom’s homemade tomato sauce.
Trace amounts may or may not affect your supply. If you find that you can have these herbs and foods that contain them, go for it but do so mindfully and with complete awareness that your milk supply could be affected.
I’ll be eliminating them from my diet to the best of my ability just to be on the safe side. Which isn’t going to be easy when I’m feeling like a peppermint mocha coffee in the morning!
Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding – How Food Affects Breast Milk
The quality of your breast milk isn’t determined by what you eat, which is really good news. It means that there’s no list of foods to avoid while breastfeeding and we can eat a clean diet, we can eat pizza and burgers, we can be imperfect with our nutrition – our babies are still going to get high-quality breast milk.
Our bodies are designed to make that happen.
Breast milk is created from your blood supply. Mammary glands and milk-producing cells further regulate what makes up your breast milk.
So it’s really the nutrients in your diet that are important.
Make sure you get enough calcium, iron, vitamin C, B vitamins, and protein on a daily basis. For the most part, you can do this by eating fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, nuts and grains and eating to hunger. This ensures you get a variety of vitamins and nutrients from a variety of sources.
It’s equally important to drink water when you’re thirsty. You don’t need to overdo it or try to drink half your body weight in water every day. 6-8 glasses is good and if you’re drinking water when you’re thirsty, you’re doing great.
A good rule of thumb is “everything in moderation.” Eat whole foods, healthy grains, lots of fruits and vegetables, and be mindful of hunger and thirst levels.
You can rest assured that your body will produce the perfect milk for your baby, so think about what you need to feel your best and do your best.
Yes, it really is that simple.
Fussy Babies and Food Allergies
Fussy babies and food allergies are something else to consider. Hardly something to worry about because, for the most part, fussiness is normal and not caused by your diet.
However, if Baby is consistently fussing and crying, it could be a sign that she’s sensitive to something you’re eating. Speak with your doctor, assess your diet and you could begin eliminating foods from your diet – one at a time – to see if the issue improves. As you do so, you’ll create your own list of foods to avoid while breastfeeding.
Symptoms of a more serious issue to look for:
- Abdominal discomfort
- Skin rash
- Spitting up
As for allergies, it’s rare for an exclusively breastfed baby to demonstrate an allergic reaction. If allergies run in your family – either on mom or dad’s side – you could consider eliminating the foods you and other family members are allergic to.
Signs of an allergy include breathing problems, skin rashes, dry skin, red itchy eyes, ear infections and unusual stools.
Milk/dairy products, fish, eggs, peanuts, and nuts are common allergens that could be causing an issue. Start keeping track of your food intake as well as your baby’s symptoms and behavior and take this information to your doctor.
What to do if You Suspect Baby is Allergic to a Food
If you suspect that your baby is allergic to a particular food, eliminate it from your diet for a few weeks and see if your baby’s symptoms improve.
It bears repeating that you’ll also want to discuss your situation with your doctor.
A food can stay in your system for weeks, so while you might see your baby’s symptoms improve within the first week or so, you’ll want to continue abstaining from the offending food for a while longer.
And though Baby’s symptoms could improve within the first week of eliminating a particular food (or foods), it could take weeks to see an improvement so be patient and continue keeping track of your experience.
An extreme reaction to a food might require you to eliminate that food from your diet completely. A mild reaction might only require that you limit the amount you have of that food.
Once you’ve eliminated a food from your diet, you can test to see if it causes a problem for your baby by reintroducing the offending food, updating your list of foods to avoid while breastfeeding as you test things out. If a food is causing a problem, symptoms will return.
Thoughts or Questions?
➡ Let me know in the comments!