10 Foods to Avoid When Breastfeeding: What Every New Mother Should Know

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All new moms fret over their babies’ well-being. Proper nutrition is essential, and there are foods to avoid when breastfeeding.

A breastfeeding mom passes on the nutrients she absorbs to her baby, so eating right is critical. Here are some of the foods to avoid when breastfeeding.

Why nutrition is critical for breastfeeding moms

The right nutrients, at the appropriate levels, are essential for a breastfeeding mom and her baby. Breast milk is ideal for your little one because it provides him with all his nutritional needs. It also boosts his immunity.

Breastfeeding also benefits a mother. It helps you get rid of the fat you accumulated during your pregnancy. Your body stored fat in the form of breast milk for your child when you were pregnant. By using it, your body releases that excess fat.

Furthermore, breast milk contains the necessary nutrients for your baby’s development. If you had a balanced diet during your pregnancy, you would produce quality breast milk for your child.

This study concluded that breastfeeding moms need additional nutrients which they may have to source from supplements. They’d also need to know the foods to avoid when breastfeeding.

Nutrition tips for breastfeeding moms

You don’t want to deprive yourself or your child of nutrients. Neither do you want too many of them, you’d risk being overweight. Here’s how to achieve the ideal nutritional balance.

1. Proteins

A breastfeeding mom should have about three protein servings a day, with each being about 3-4 ounces. Rich protein sources are:

  • meat
  • seafood
  • cheese
  • poultry
  • dairy
  • tofu
  • dried beans

2. Calcium

Experts from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) suggest that moms who breastfeed need about 1300 milligrams of calcium a day. Excellent calcium sources are:

  • milk
  • yogurt
  • cheese
  • calcium-fortified orange juice
  • calcium-fortified tofu

3. Iron

Iron is essential for a breastfeeding mother and her baby as well. Mothers should take in about 9 mg of iron a day. You will find it in:

  • poultry
  • meat
  • seafood
  • dried beans
  • dried fruit
  • egg yolk

4. Vitamin C

Breastfeeding moms need more Vitamin C than other women. The recommended amount is about 120 mg per day. Vitamin C sources include:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Broccoli
  • Potato
  • Cantaloupe
  • Kiwi
  • Bell pepper
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower

Also, breastfeeding mothers should limit their intake of caffeine. The recommended intake is 8 oz. Mothers should avoid smoking as well.

10 Foods to avoid when breastfeeding

You now know what nutrients you must have more of; here are the foods to avoid when breastfeeding.



1. Caffeine

First, you’ll need more coffee because you’re not getting any sleep. The bad news is that caffeine gets into your baby’s breast milk.

Since a baby’s body can’t process caffeine as fast as an adult’s, it’s bound to keep your little one awake for longer than you’d anticipated. Have your coffee after he or she sleeps. This study shows that caffeine prolongs nighttime waking in infants.

2. Certain Seafood

You don’t have to avoid seafood like the plague, but you should be choosy about the kinds seafood you put in your body. Avoid fish high in Mercury. These include mackerel, swordfish, bigeye tuna, tilefish, and orange roughy. This study shows that mercury can have adverse effects on a child’s development.

3. Chocolate

Also on this list is chocolate. Nursing mothers have found that chocolate can cause runny stools in infants. It also contains caffeine, which keeps infants awake.

4. Parsley and Peppermint

Parsley and Peppermint make lovely teas but may reduce your breastmilk supply. According to this study, peppermint is a treatment for Hypergalactia or an oversupply of breastmilk.

These herbs are safe when used in small quantities, but experts suggest that you do not take them when your baby is experiencing a growth spurt; this is the time he will need more milk.



5. Dairy

Another of the foods to avoid when breastfeeding is dairy. Many infants struggle with the problem of lactose intolerance. Also, if a baby is fussy after breastfeeding or has skin issues, it’s best to eliminate dairy. Try going off it for a few weeks. If you witness an improvement, too much dairy is what’s troubling your baby.

6. Alcohol

Also on this list is, of course, alcohol. It mixes with your breastmilk and affects your child negatively. It takes an hour or two for digestive juices to break it down. If you’ve had the one-off drink, it’s not necessary to pump out your breastmilk. You can nurse as long as you feel alright.

7. Citrus

Citrus irritates the GI tract, especially if it’s not mature. It can cause a baby to spit up, become fussy, or even develop a diaper rash. Experts like Jan Barger suggests that breastfeeding mums restrict themselves to a glass or two of citrus if their babies are fussy.

8. Peanuts

Mothers who have a family history of peanut allergies should avoid eating peanuts while breastfeeding. The allergens in them can transmit through breastmilk. Watch out for hives in your baby.

9. Garlic

You’d shy away from garlic if you are about to kiss someone. But did you know that your breastmilk absorbs its smell? If your baby cringes when he or she feeds, you may have eaten food laced with garlic. Infant palates can’t appreciate it yet.

10. Wheat

Your baby may be intolerant of gluten if it develops bloody stools. A sensitive tummy may be a reaction to wheat.

Eliminate wheat from your baby’s diet if you suspect that he or she may be allergic to it. If his or her demeanor improves, it’s likely to be the trigger.

In all, the foods to avoid when breastfeeding are many, but eliminating them from your diet may make a world of difference to your child’s well-being.

By Michelle L.

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