5 Foods You Must Avoid If You Are Breastfeeding

5 Foods You Must Avoid If You Are Breastfeeding

1 Aug 2022 | 4 min Read

Reema Shah

Author | 740 Articles

The transition from pregnancy to nursing is when diet must be carefully paid attention to. What mums eat affects the baby’s development and while nursing, new mums must watch out for any reactions from their baby. While a balanced diet is important to gain essential nutrients which help increase breast milk, some babies react to certain foods. 

Here’s a list of five foods to avoid while breastfeeding for mums.

5 Foods To Avoid While Breastfeeding

1. Alcohol

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that not drinking alcohol is the safest option during breastfeeding. However, breastfeeding mums can have an occasional drink as long as they are careful about the timing and amount.

According to research, alcohol consumed peaks post 30-60 minutes in breast milk. Hence, the amount of alcohol that a baby can get from the mum’s breast milk depends on how much alcohol she consumed and when she consumed it. Moreover, one drink can remain in the mum’s system for up to 2–3 hours. If you consume more alcohol than this, it can take longer to clear from your system.

It is advisable to wait for at least 2 hours before breastfeeding your baby and having no more than one drink in a day. High levels of alcohol intake can reduce breast milk output by 20%
Here are the standard recommended amounts-
125 ml of wine
355 ml of beer
45 ml of hard alcohol

2. Fish High in Mercury

Fish is beneficial for the brain development of infants. However, certain seafood and fish like marline, tuna, swordfish and king mackerel can be high in mercury. Infants are more sensitive to mercury poisoning and when they are exposed to high levels of mercury, their nervous system gets permanently affected. This can cause impairment or delay in their fine motor skills, speech and language development, visual-spatial awareness and cognition.

Drinks like coffee, energy drinks and chocolates have caffeine and must be reduced from the diet while breastfeeding / Credit – Canva

3. Caffeine

Foods like coffee, soda, chocolate, tea, and chocolate are common sources of caffeine. When you consume these foods, some of that caffeine can get accumulated in your breast milk. The result can be problematic, as it can affect your baby’s system and  cause trouble sleeping and make them irritable.

The CDC recommends breastfeeding mums consume no more than 300 mg of caffeine each day. This is equal to about two to three cups of coffee. 

According to the CDC, mothers who are breastfeeding are recommended to consume no more than 300 mg of caffeine per day, which is equivalent to two or three cups of coffee.  Even energy drinks usually contain caffeine along with vitamins and hence breastfeeding mums should only consume them after consulting with their healthcare provider.

4. Foods That Cause Gas

Newborns are highly prone to gas. Hence, it is advisable for mums while breastfeeding to limit the intake of gassy foods which include corn, red kidney beans, chickpeas and cabbage.

You can consume these foods once in a while, however be prepared for your baby’s gas attacks and smelly poops. Most babies are unaffected by these foods. However, if your baby is gassy, your diet could be the reason.

Common gastric foods like beans and cabbage must be limited from the diet when breastfeeding as it can cause gas in babies / Credit – Canva 

5. Spices and Pickles

Small amounts of spices should not harm your baby. However, if you like your food a little spicy, look for any symptoms in your baby like skin rashes or fussiness.

Even when you consume garlic, you may notice your baby avoiding milk because the bad smell of garlic gets passed to your feed. Similarly, pickles are spicy and sour. And consuming them in excessive quantities can cause back pain as well. However, you can enjoy them in small quantities to satisfy your taste buds.

Breastfeeding can get challenging during the initial few weeks. The baby’s health depends on the mum, hence a balanced diet is important for both. Listen to your body and the way your baby responds to make a choice of foods to avoid while breastfeeding.  



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