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Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding

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Image source: Thinkstock
Image source: Thinkstock

While many will agree that breastfeeding is very beneficial for your little one, there are also a number of restrictions that go along with it. No, we’re not talking about feeding your baby in public. We’re talking about certain things you shouldn’t consume for danger of passing it along to your child.

Here are 17 foods to avoid while breastfeeding.

1. Coffee

When you drink coffee (or soda or tea), some of the caffeine ends up in your breast milk. Because babies aren’t able to excrete caffeine as quickly or efficiently as adults, too much in their systems may lead to irritation, crankiness, and sleeplessness. The solution? Cut back on coffee. As tired as you are, a fussy baby who won’t sleep just

2. Chocolate

Proceed with caution if chocolate is your sweet indulgence of choice. Just like coffee and soda, chocolate contains caffeine. (Though not as much—a 1-ounce serving of dark chocolate contains between 5 and 35 mg of caffeine; a cup of coffee generally contains up to 135 mg of caffeine). If you suspect chocolate is the culprit behind your

3. Citrus Fruits

Certain compounds found in citrus fruits and juices may irritate a still-immature GI tract, leading to fussiness, spitting up, and even diaper rash in some babies. If cutting down on citrus seems like a good idea for Baby’s sake, compensate by adding other vitamin C-rich foods to the menu, including papaya and mango.

4. Broccoli

Lactation consultants may tell you that it’s just an old wives’ tale that eating broccoli, cauliflower, and other “gassy vegetables” leads to irritable, gassy babies. But ask any nursing mom about broccoli’s ability to create misery in breastfed infants and you will probably hear a very different tale. Is your broccoli-loaded lunchtime salad the culprit? Possibly!

5. Alcohol

It’s not the occasional glass of wine with dinner that you need to worry about. One drink or less per day likely poses little risk for babies, experts agree. But if your drinking habits fall into the moderate or heavy category, you are treading into murky waters.

6. Spicy Foods

Some nursing moms can add extra jalapeños to everything and still have completely content babies. But you might find that just a dash of pepper is enough to make your baby irritated and fussy for hours. How to spice it up food without causing Baby discomfort? Look for flavors that add zest without the heat.

7. Garlic

That wonderfully warm slice of garlic bread you just inhaled might not taste so wonderful to your baby. Eating garlicky foods often leads to breast milk taking on the slight flavor of garlic (garlic odor can enter milk up to two hours after a meal). Some babies may grimace or fuss at the breast if they detect garlic’s telltale aroma.

8. Peanuts

Do you, or other members of your family, have food allergies? Proceed with caution before including peanut products in your diet. According to La Leche League International (LLLI), if you have a family medical history of allergy, it is worth being careful about your diet and avoiding known allergens, like peanuts.

9. Wheat

If eating a sandwich or plate of pasta before a nursing session results in your baby developing such symptoms as inconsolable crying, obvious pain, or bloody stools, it could point to a wheat allergy. To check for an allergy or sensitivity, eliminate wheat-containing foods from your diet for two to three weeks. If your baby’s symptoms progress, have them checked with a doctor for allergies.

10. Dairy Products

Ditch the dairy? It’s common knowledge that many babies are intolerant to cow’s milk-based formula. But when you drink milk or eat other dairy products (yogurt, ice cream, and cheese), these same allergens enter your breast milk. According to LLLI, symptoms of an allergy or sensitivity to dairy include colic and vomiting. We certainly don’t want that for our little one.

11. Corn

Allergies to corn are common among young children, but how can you be certain your baby’s discomfort and rashiness are really due to those tasty tacos you had for dinner? If you are not quite sure if corn is the food you need to eliminate, start keeping a detailed food diary. Be specific about what you ate (write “corn chips” instead of “chips”).

12. Shellfish

Experts have found that the stronger the family history is for a particular food allergy, the greater the risk and the earlier the infant is likely to show symptoms. In other words, if your child’s father has a shellfish allergy, but you have no problem with shrimp and lobster, you still might want to give shellfish a pass while breastfeeding.

13. Eggs

Egg allergies (usually in the form of a sensitivity to egg whites) are common in young children. But because eggs lurk in all sorts of foods, from bread and snack foods to ice cream, it may be a difficult allergy to pinpoint. Another tactic for breastfeeding moms who suspect their child has a food allergy is to eliminate all of the most allergenic products from their diet entirely.

14. Soy

Many children who have dairy intolerances also show signs of a soy allergy, bad news if you thought you could swap out that morning glass of moo juice for a cup of soy milk. If you suspect soy in your diet is causing problems for your baby, look at the kind of soy you are eating.

15. Fish

It might not cause fussiness or even gas, but because mercury found in fish can find its way into breast milk, the same rules for fish consumption during pregnancy still apply when you are breastfeeding. According to the FDA, nursing women should eat up to 12 ounces (two average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury.

16. Peppermint

Love the soothing power of peppermint tea? Unfortunately, certain compounds in the minty herb may reduce your milk supply, especially if you guzzle several cups a day, according to herbalists (peppermint tea is often used as a holistic remedy to help halt milk production once weaning is complete).

17. Parsley

Related to the mint family, parsley is another herb that may reduce your milk supply if ingested in large quantities. If you are a fan of herbal remedies, double check to make sure any supplements you take don’t contain significant amounts of parsley. However, dressing up your dinners with a garnish of parsley, or eating the occasional bowl of it won’t make much of an impact.

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