Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding
New mothers can get plenty of advice about foods to avoid while breastfeeding. Well meaning visitors advise against cabbage, beans, broccoli, spicy foods and even (gasp!) chocolate. But is there any truth to this advice?
While in your grandmother’s day, it was thought that foods could give a breastfed baby gas, we now know this is not supported by research. Many of the foods once believed to cause gas are staple foods in other countries, consumed by breastfeeding women without problems. There are no foods breastfeeding mothers MUST avoid! Most women are able to enjoy a healthy and varied diet.
Spicy foods may flavor a woman’s breast milk. This is seen to be an advantage as baby will be introduced to a variety of flavors at a very young age. This may help to guard against becoming a picky eater in the future.
Caffeine deserves some caution. Large amounts of caffeine may result in a more wakeful fussy baby. Limiting your intake to one or two cups of coffee, tea or cola products per day is suggested.
Chocolate contains a substance similar to caffeine. You would have to consume very large quantities for it to have an effect. You can read more about chocolate and breastfeeding in this La Leche League article.
When baby is fussy, it is easy for others to ask the breastfeeding mother “What did you eat?” For the most part, the fussiness will be unrelated to her diet. There are rare cases, however, where a baby will react to a particular food. Dairy can be one of those foods. If you suspect your baby is reacting to a certain food, read this article by KellyMom: Dairy and other Food Sensitivities in Breastfed Babies.
Go ahead and enjoy a varied healthy diet. There are no foods to avoid while breastfeeding.
References and More Information:
- “Dairy and Other Food Sensitivities in Breastfed Babies” KellyMom.com, KellyMom, 26 July 2011.
- Maternal Caffeine Consumption and Infant Nighttime Waking: Prospective Cohort Study. Santos, I., Matijasevich, A., Domingues, M., Pediatrics May 2012, 129 (5) 860-868.
- Prenatal and Postnatal Flavor Learning by Human Infants. Mennella, J. A., Jagnow, C. P., & Beauchamp, G. K. (2001). Pediatrics, 107(6), E88.
- “Things to Avoid When Breastfeeding.” HealthyChildren.org. American Academy of Pediatrics, 21 Nov. 2015.
- “Thursday Tip: Chocolate and Breastfeeding.” lllc.ca, La Leche League Canada, 12 Feb. 2015.
Other posts you may enjoy: How to Increase Your Milk Supply and 5 Misleading Myths that can Sabotage Your Breastfeeding.
About the authors:
Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.