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Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding

Foods to avoid while breastfeeding is a rather controversial subject.

List of foods to avoid while breastfeeding

If you tried your regular pre-pregnancy diet and a breastfeeding diet and your baby is showing signs of discomfort during or after feeding, you may want to single out some foods to avoid while breastfeeding.

It is important to understand there is no right proven answer whether it works or not. It is very individual. Some babies are thriving with their moms eating cabbage and garlic every day. Other babies react to a sip of coffee. Very individual.

But if anything else in your breastfeeding process is right (latch-on, positioning, milk supply), and your little one is still uncomfortable, try measures below. Your baby will let you know whether they work or not.

Another aspect to keep in mind - amount matters. Whatever you eat - eat in moderation. Many adverse reactions to the foods breastfeeding moms eat are due to large amounts , not so much to the foods themselves.

Here is a list of foods to avoid while breastfeeding:

Foods to avoid while breastfeeding: coffee
  • Caffeine-containing foods like soft drinks, chocolate, coffee, non-caffeine-free teas, some cold medicine may cause colic, fussiness, or gas. Babies may become more alert, anxious, jittery and overstimulated. Caffeine has a tendency to accumulate in your baby’s body. Many doctors say that one serving of caffeinated food or drink per day is ok. My take on it - if you can stay away from caffeine – stay away.
  • Be careful with herbal supplements. Read the labels. Some warn against using them if pregnant or lactating.
  • Here is a list of foods associated with baby’s meteorism and colic: dairy, onions, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, beans, tomatoes, green bell peppers. Meteorism and colic can be caused by both raw and cooked vegetables.
  • Citrus fruits may cause rashes.
Avoid spicy food
  • Garlic, cabbage, asparagus, artichokes and spicy food can change the taste of your milk. Some babies don't like it and may refuse the breast.
  • Stay away from eating shark, tilefish, swordfish and king mackerel. These contain high levels of mercury. Buy fish in stores. If you are a fan of locally-caught fish, consult the authorities about safe fish types and water purity.
  • Pesticides and food contaminants are mostly concentrated in fruit and vegetable skin, as well as in meat, poultry and fish fat. Try peeling your fruits and vegetables and cutting off meat fat before cooking.
  • If there is a strong family history of severe allergies, stay away from potential allergens while breastfeeding. The later your baby comes in contact with an allergen, the higher the chances of not developing severe allergic reactions. If the allergies risk is minor, introduce potential allergens into your diet one by one with a two-week interval. Consume allergenic foods in moderation. Visit food allergies section for more.
  • Smoking has a negative effect on the breastfed baby and the breastfeeding mother. There is no “harmless” dose. And since you gave up this habit for 9 months of pregnancy (if you did), breastfeeding is not the time to begin again. Smoking suppresses prolactin, and therefore, slows down milk production. Not smoking in your baby’s presence is not really a solution. Cigarette smoke and smell cause frequent rhinitis and breathing difficulties. In addition, you expose your baby to the contaminants in tobacco and nicotine. Visit Smoking and Breastfeeding section to read more.
Avoid alcohol while breastfeeding
  • Alcohol is harmful for a breastfeeding mother and the baby. There is no safe amount. Alcohol DOES NOT promote lactation. In fact, it may slow down milk production and the let-down. Alcohol consumption may cause baby’s motor development delay and disrupt normal brain development. In addition, alcohol impairs mother’s ability to think clearly. If you absolutely must have a drink, do it right after the feeding to allow enough time for alcohol to leave your body before the next feeding. I would still pump and dump the next feeding and feed your baby some previously pumped "sober" milk. It is important to understand, that alcohol concentration in your breast milk mirrors that of your blood. Only time clears your blood and milk off the alcohol. Visit Breastfeeding and Alcohol section to read more.
  • All recreational drugs are harmful for a breastfeeding mother and the baby. There is no safe kind or quantity!

When choosing foods to avoid while breastfeeding you need to consider breastfeeding nutrition requirements. Make sure you don’t deprive your baby of vital vitamins and minerals. Check breastfeeding nutrition section for food substitutes.

There are many ways to show your love and devotion to your kids and to win their trust. Breastfeeding is the most natural one.



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