Breastfeeding is one of the best things you can do for your baby. There are certain developmental and health benefits that only breastfed babies can enjoy, and this is why more and more mothers are opting to give their babies breastmilk instead of opting for formula milk. Breastfeeding is certainly not easy but is it doable. It would be convenient if you could stay at home to do it with your little one but there are tons of ways to get it done when you’re outside, too.
There’s been a lot of talk for quite some time now about how long you should give breast milk to your baby. Some say you should do it for six months, and other say up to his first year while there are also those who say you should do it as long as your baby still wants to nurse. The latter option is what the La Leche League International recommends. If that’s what you’re aiming for, though, you should make sure that you have ample milk supply to give to your little one, and that is where your diet comes in.
As a breastfeeding mom, it is important that you pay close attention to your diet. What you eat can affect your milk in various ways. It could have an impact on the quality of your milk, the quantity of your milk, and it may even change the flavor/taste of your milk which, to your baby, could be a big deal.
Certain foods can help boost your milk supply, but there are also those that can weaken it. If you’re planning on or are already breastfeeding your child and you want to ensure that he gets only the best, check out this list of what not to eat when breastfeeding.
Dairy products are so hard to cut back on. This is the one food group that’s just always been present in most of our diets so eliminating it while you breastfeed can be tough. Until you’re sure that your baby is not lactose intolerant or sensitive to dairy, it’s best to avoid these, especially cow’s milk and products made from it (like cheeses).
There are proteins in cow’s milk that might trigger allergy-like symptoms in your baby and possibly increase their risk of developing actual allergies.
Cruciferous vegetables are some of the healthiest kinds of vegetables that you can consume to get more nutrients, but while you’re breastfeeding, it is best to avoid these. Cruciferous vegetables are known to make babies gassy. They’re one of the top foods associated with colic symptoms in infants. Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower, to name a few.
Your milk will never be as spicy as the food you eat but some of the heat and spice may enter your breast milk, and your baby might get fussy when he gets a taste of it which might discourage him to continue nursing.
Peanut allergies are very common and very dangerous, and if you have it in your family or if your husband’s family has a history of having peanut allergies, you might want to go easy on these for a while. With even just the smallest serving of peanuts, while breastfeeding, you could potentially expose your baby to the proteins that can trigger, aggravate or develop peanut allergies.
Caffeine is one of the most important things to avoid, or at least reduce your consumption of, while breastfeeding. Not only can caffeine pass through your milk and into your baby’s system; it can also decrease your breastmilk supply when taken regularly and in large quantities.
You might think only drinks are caffeinated, but no. There are a ton of foods that might be present in your daily diet that is caffeinated (and you may not know it!). These foods include chocolate, ice cream, protein bars, and coffee- and chocolate-flavored foods.
If you really can’t start your day without a fresh cup of joe, though, don’t worry, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Karen Dickert says that you can still consume caffeine as long as you don’t go past two servings per day.
Sage tea has long been used as a remedy for moms who suffer from over-production. This is because sage contains a natural kind of estrogen that helps with suppressing breast milk production. It has also been used by many moms to decrease their breast milk supply while trying to wean their little ones from nursing.
Those herbs you use to deepen the flavors in your meals or make into tea could actually be doing you more harm than good. Like sage, most of these herbs are used to treat overproduction so consuming them regularly and in large amounts could lead to decreased production of breast milk. There are also certain herbs that may make your breastmilk supply go down. These herbs are often used by already-nursing moms looking to wean their little ones from the boob or treat overproduction of breastmilk.
Garlic is one of the most misunderstood foods that breastfeeding moms avoid. In Ayurvedic medicine, garlic is prepared and made into what is called Lasuna Ksheram. They use this to increase breastmilk supply. So, why would you want to avoid garlic while breastfeeding, you ask?
It’s not because it decreases your milk supply or gives your baby an upset stomach. It’s because consuming garlic can change the taste of your breast milk and a picky baby may fuss and choose to stop nursing ones he catches this slight change in taste from your milk. If you notice that your baby doesn’t mind the change in taste, though, go ahead and enjoy garlic and its awesome breastfeeding benefits.
The zesty, tangy taste of citrus fruits can be hard to resist but try your best to do so when you’re breastfeeding, especially if you’re nursing a very young child. The citric acid in the citrus fruits you consume might leak into your breastmilk and get passed on to your baby. As a result, your baby’s developing gastrointestinal tract might get irritated and you might end up with a fussy baby.
Compared to pork, beef, and other meats, you could say that fish is a lot healthier and therefore more advisable to consume, but if you’re a breastfeeding mama, that may not be the case for you. At least not entirely. There are certain kinds of fish that have high levels of mercury.
Consuming these kinds of fish while breastfeeding could get the mercury transferred on to your breast milk and passed to your baby, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. The mercury that you could get from these fish could affect your child’s developing brain and nervous system.
Going back to your regular pre-baby diet after nine months of carefully planning out what to eat can be exciting. It’s easy to jump right in and go back to munching on whatever you like, especially when you’re breastfeeding and constantly hungry. However, my advice would be to do it slowly and to start reintroducing certain foods back into your diet.
While many experts say that there aren’t really specific foods that you need to avoid while breastfeeding, it would still be nice if you would be extra cautious with what goes into your body (especially with the foods mentioned above) since some of it might end up in your milk and get passed on to your baby. Observing your baby for signs of discomfort after consuming the foods mentioned above is also a good idea to see if he reacts to these or if he is fine with them.
Did you like this list of what not to eat while breastfeeding? Are there certain foods from the list that, when you consume, makes your little one upset or fussy? Let us know your experience and if there are other foods that we should be cautious of consuming while breastfeeding in the comments section.
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I’m Christina Simpson and I am a mother of 2 little princesses and a dear little boy. I like to write stuff on PassionMommy, a blog about parenting and motherhood that aims to help other moms in distress (that is, when I’m not at a tea party with my girls or looting treasures with my little pirate boy).