14 Best Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding

14 Best Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding a baby is the most natural thing in the world. Dogs and cats do it without any training, so why should humans be any different?

Breastfeeding a baby is the most natural thing in the world. Dogs and cats do it without any training, so why should humans be any different?

The fact is, two-thirds of new mothers have trouble breast feeding. So, with the challenge of learning to nurse a growing baby, you want to make sure you do everything to set yourself up for success.

One of the biggest influencers of milk production is frequency of nursing. The sucking action of an infant is partially responsible for stimulating lactation, so put baby to the breast often. But remember, women should make their own health a priority; get enough rest as well as proper nutrition.

What women eat can have an impact on the amount of milk the body makes. While, generally speaking, there is no need for a special diet while breastfeeding, certain foods, spices and herbs can actually reduce mom's milk supply or inhibit the "let-down" reflex (the mechanism that prompts the release of milk from the ducts.)

Especially if moms had issues keeping up with the calorie demands of a growing baby, there are some foods they may want to avoid or, at the very least, minimize in their diet to make their body an optimal environment for lactation.

1. Coffee

Why is coffee topping the list? It is because of the caffeine content in it. Some amount of caffeine in the coffee (or tea, soda, energy drinks and over-the-counter medicines) ends up in your breast milk.

So what? Unlike adults, babies cannot excrete caffeine efficiently. So the accumulated caffeine in their bodies causes irritation, sleeplessness, and crankiness. High amounts of caffeine can lower iron levels in breast milk and decrease hemoglobin levels in the baby.

Hence the best solution is to cut down on coffee.

"But, how do I begin my day, especially after a long sleepless night?" Are you asking this? Have coffee moderately (not more than 2 to 3 cups a day) because smaller amounts of caffeine are absolutely fine.

2. Chocolate

Previously, break time would have meant chocolate time. But not anymore. Chocolate is rich in the substance called theobromine, which has an effect similar to that of caffeine. If you feel that your little one's crankiness is due to your chocolate consumption, then keep away from it.

But how much is too much? The only way to know if you are taking too much of caffeine or theobromine is to observe your baby's behavior.If a mother consumes more than 750mg of caffeine or theobromine a day, the baby might exhibit erratic and fussy behavior, besides suffering from sleep issues.

3. Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits are a source of vitamin C, but their acidic components can irritate little tummies. Their immature gastrointestinal tract will not be able to deal with these components, thus resulting in diaper rash, fussiness, spitting up and more.

That said, you do not need to completely remove citrus fruits from your diet. Having an orange or two, or one grapefruit daily is absolutely fine. But if you decide to cut down completely on citrus fruits such as limes, grapefruits, lemons, and oranges, replace them with other vitamin C-rich foods like papaya, pineapple, strawberries or leafy greens and mango.

4. Broccoli

Had broccoli last night? Then do not be surprised if your baby has gassy problems today. Other gassy foods to avoid while breastfeeding are: onion, cauliflower, cabbage, and cucumber. However, there is no research-based evidence to prove it.

5. High-mercury fish

Mercury appears in your breast milk if you eat high-mercury fish and other foods that are high in that element. Higher levels of mercury in the breast milk can affect the baby's neurological development.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, "If a breastfeeding woman consumes a high amount of mercury-rich foods, it could harm the development of baby by transferring into the breast milk and then onto the baby.

Eat fish (including canned tuna) in moderation not exceeding two servings a week but avoid fish high in mercury.

6. Alcohol

Alcohol can pass from mom to baby through breast milk and affect his neurological development. But after nine full months without a drink, it is fine to have an occasional glass of wine or beer.

Studies have shown that a couple of units once or twice a week do not harm your baby. Levels higher than these may inhibit mother's "let down" reflex (i.e. the release of milk to the nipple area)

"Alcohol can be consumed in reasonable amounts. Only a fraction of the consumed alcohol remains in breast milk.

"A nursing mom can drink some alcohol and continue to nurse her baby. Quitting alcohol is like making life unessentially restrictive for breastfeeding moms".

If you plan to have more than one drink at a time, then wait for two hours before you breastfeed your baby.

7. Peanuts

If your family has a history of peanut allergies, avoid peanuts until you wean your baby. The allergic proteins in peanuts could pass into your breast milk and then to the baby. She might suffer from rashes, wheezing or hives. Eating even a few peanuts can result in the allergens passing into mother's milk between one and six hours.

Research suggests that there is an increased chance of developing a lifetime peanut allergy for children exposed to peanuts at an early age. However, there is no sufficient evidence to suggest that avoiding peanuts during breastfeeding prevents peanut allergies in babies.

8. Parsley and peppermint

Parsley and peppermint are two herbs, if taken in huge amounts, can reduce your breast milk. Whenever you eat these herbs, monitor your milk supply, especially when your baby is in the growth spurt – the phase when he needs more milk than usual.

In fact, mothers often drink peppermint tea when they want to stop the milk production after weaning. Another herb, sage, too decreases milk supply.

9. Dairy

To have or not to have dairy has always been a dilemma for nursing mothers. Babies could be intolerant to cow's milk. When the mother eats dairy products or drinks milk, the allergens might enter breast milk and irritate the baby. If you observe symptoms like vomiting and colic in your baby after you consume dairy products, it means that you need to stop eating them for some time. Other symptoms include eczema, skin issues, and sleep issues.

Children with dairy intolerance often show signs of a soy allergy too. Keep a check. Go for organic varieties of high-fat dairy, meat, and poultry, as no antibiotics, growth hormones, chemicals, or pesticides are used in their production.

10. Garlic

Garlic's smell can get into the milk too! Some babies like it. Some do not. If you find your baby at discomfort while nursing, check if garlic is the reason. Some babies may grimace or fuss at the breast if they encounter garlic's strong aroma.

11. Spicy foods

Spicy foods can irritate some babies, while others are perfectly fine with it. A dash of pepper is more than enough to hurt a few babies. They remain fussy for a long time. Lessen the spices in your food if your little one is not comfortable with it.

12. Wheat

Gluten intolerance is a common food problem as it results in bloody stools, sensitive tummy, and fussiness. Like any other food, the best way to diagnose the allergy is by eliminating it from the diet. Some moms choose to remove all common problem-causing foods and gradually re-introduce them one at a time.

13. Corn

Allergies to corn are common among babies and toddlers. They cause discomfort and rashes in babies. If you observe that your baby is allergic to corn, eliminate it from your diet.

14. Eggs or shellfish

A family history of a particular food allergy poses a risk in infants and babies. If there is somebody allergic to shellfish or eggs in your immediate family, then avoid them while breastfeeding. Egg allergies, mostly in the form of sensitivity to egg whites, are pretty common.

After reading our exhaustive list of foods to avoid while nursing, you will surely have one question: "Is there anything left for me to eat without worrying about my baby?" Do not worry. It is not necessary that you have to stop eating all these foods. Your baby could be allergic to a few foods on the list, or he may not be allergic to any of them at all!

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