Foods And Drinks To Avoid While Breastfeeding

Foods To Avoid While Breastfeeding

Nursing moms require an additional 500 calories per day. You need to eat a healthy, nutritious, and well-balanced diet while breastfeeding so that your baby gets all the crucial nutrients required for their growth. A nursing mom needs to maintain a healthy diet to heal herself from childbirth and to promote milk production. You need to be cautious about what you eat or drink during the lactation period as it can have multiple effects such as it can affect your milk supply, can transmit traces of good or bad things to your baby through your breast milk, or can change the flavor of your breast milk. So, be cautious whatever you eat or drink while breastfeeding. There are some foods and drinks that you should avoid or limit their intake while breastfeeding.

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Foods and Drinks to avoid or limit while breastfeeding

New moms need to keep up their energy levels so they need to consume a healthy and well-balanced diet during the lactation period. Avoid or limit the intake of the following foods and drinks during the lactation period:

1. High-Mercury Seafood

Fish are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. It's safe to consume fish or any other seafood that contains low levels of mercury such as salmon, canned light tuna, tilapia, cod, shrimp, oysters, crab, scallops, etc. Avoid eating seafood that has high levels of mercury such as king mackerel, shark, swordfish, bluefish, bigeye tuna, etc. 

2. Caffeine

Coffee, tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, chocolate contains caffeine. Coffee, tea, and other caffeinated drinks are safe to consume while breastfeeding if taken in a moderate amount. An excess intake of caffeine can have a negative impact on both the nursing mom and her baby. Consuming up to 300 mg of caffeine per day while breastfeeding is safe for lactating moms and her little one. Whenever you calculate your daily caffeine intake always remember to include all the sources of caffeine that you consume. Excess intake of caffeine can cause side effects for both the mothers and their babies. Some of the side effects in babies caused due to excess intake of caffeine are:
  • Excessive Fussiness
  • Poor Sleeping Pattern
  • Irritability

Some of the negative impacts of excess caffeine intake in nursing moms are:
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid Heartbeat
  • Frequent Urination
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness

(Also read: How to burp a newborn?)

3. Alcohol

Avoid drinking alcohol on a regular basis while breastfeeding. Occasional drinking is ok for a lactating mom. Excess intake of alcohol can have an adverse impact on your health and it can also pose risk for your baby as well. Drinking alcohol in excess amount can cause a decrease in your breast milk supply and alcohol can pass to your baby through your breast milk which can inhibit your baby's healthy growth and development.

4. Certain Herbs

Certain herbs such as peppermint, sage, rosemary, thyme, and parsley are anti-galactagogues that means they inhibit lactation hence decreases the milk supply of nursing moms. You can use a little bit of these herbs to flavor your food. A moderate amount of these herbs doesn't cause any complications while breastfeeding.

5. Processed Foods

Processed foods are good to avoid while breastfeeding as they're packed with artificial flavors, preservatives, and chemicals. These foods are high in calories, sugar, and fats that are not good for you and your baby's overall health. 

6. Citrus Fruits 

Citrus Fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C but the acidic properties of these fruits can upset some baby's stomach. Some nursing moms find out that acidic fruits can make their baby fussier while some babies don't get affected by them at all. Don't eliminate them completely from your diet. Moderate consumption of citrus fruits while breastfeeding is fine and doesn't cause any harm to your baby. 

7. Sushi

Sushi is safe to consume for nursing moms if it does have low-mercury fish such as salmon, trout, catfish, tilapia. Sushi is safe to eat while breastfeeding because the listeria bacteria that are present in undercooked foods don't readily transmit through breast milk. 

8. Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are safe to consume while breastfeeding if taken in moderation however it's good to cut down your sugar intake. You can substitute artificial sweeteners with natural sweeteners such as coconut sugar or jaggery. 

9. Fatty Meats 

Fatty meats are high in saturated fats and salts. Foods with high saturated fats and salts can contribute to excess weight gain and can lead to several complications such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke. Saturated fat can increase the levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood and increases the risk of developing heart diseases. You can consume lean meat instead of fatty meats.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How to know if any food is bothering your baby?

If you suspect that your baby has a reaction from some food avoid it for a few days and then reintroduce that food again to see how your baby reacts and handles it. If you see any of the following symptoms it means your baby may be allergic to something. 

  • Eczema
  • Excessive Crying or Fussing after a feed
  • Excessive Gas
  • Excessive Spitting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rashes
  • Congestion
  • Trouble Sleeping

2. What foods can upset a breastfed baby?

Some nursing moms noticed that their baby gets fussier after they eat citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables, or dairy products. However, most babies don't get affected by these foods at all. 

3. What foods should a nursing mother eat?

Include protein-rich foods, whole- grains, three servings of veggies, and two servings of fruits in your daily diet.

If you suspect that your baby is having any trouble from something that you consume then speak to your doctor about the same.

Also, read other pregnancy-related articles :
    Disclaimer: This content is intended for general information only and it should not be used as the basis of patient treatment. The given content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, treatment, or any diagnosis. Always consult a doctor for more information. Our website doesn't claim responsibility for this information.

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