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14 Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding or nursing is a process of feeding babies and small children with milk from their mother’s breast. Its is highly recommended by the doctors and professionals for the newly born babies and young children as it provides immunity and acts as a building block of the immune system of babies. Breast milk contains antibodies that are useful for babies to fight with bacteria and viruses and reduces the risk of many diseases.

Breastfeeding begins within the first hour of a baby’s life and it can continue as often and as much as the baby needs or for that matter wants.

Production of breast milk largely depends upon the food habit of mothers. It is very important for a woman to have proper food and diet, as there are many food items which should not be consumed during breastfeeding. 

So it is necessary to know as to which food items should be consumed and what should be avoided during the phase of breastfeeding. This article will help you know about the food items that should be avoided while breastfeeding and the reasons behind them.

14 Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding

Caffeine

Daily consumption of coffee in limited amount is not harmful, but it should not increase more than two cups a day; otherwise it can be harmful to the baby.

  • Too much of caffeine can cause hindrance in the sleep of the child.
  • It can make them fussy or wakeful.

Caffeine is also found in some teas, medicines and sodas. So it is also to be taken care of, and these foodstuffs should be avoided from consumption.

Alcohol and Alcoholic Drinks

Heavy or even moderate alcohol consumption is not recommended for mothers during the phase of breastfeeding. Consuming alcohols and drinks containing alcohols occasionally is okay, but if that is practiced regularly or on a daily basis, then it can create side effects for the baby. 

Consuming alcohol regularly increases the level of alcohol in the blood and apparently the alcohol gets into milk and is ultimately consumed by the child which is harmful for him/her.

  • Alcohol can reduce the amount of sleep in babies. 
  • It can also affect the amount of milk that women produce during breastfeeding.
  • It can cause irritation among babies.

Excess Sugar (Fructose)

Fructose does not naturally exist in breast milk. It gets into breast milk through the mother’s diet. It makes its way into our diets by processed foods and beverages like Frappuccinos, energy drinks, cocktails, cranberry juice etc.

Fructose is thus harmful for consumption while breastfeeding as it can:

  • Lead to increased body weight.
  • Increase bone and mineral content.

Chocolate

Too much chocolate can also be very harmful to the child. It is always said that ‘excess of everything is bad’. This proves to be true even in the case of consuming food. When anything is taken or consumed within limits, then it does not create any problem, but an excess of any food item can also be harmful.

Chocolate, when consumed in moderate amount causes no harm for the baby. But if excess of chocolate is consumed then it can cause problems like:

  • Sleep deprivation
  • Irritation
  • Can lead to dehydration of the body.
  • Lowers the production of breast milk.

Chocolate contains some amount of caffeine, so when it is taken in larger amount then a large amount of caffeine also enters the body, and it is not good for the baby.

Cold Drinks

Like chocolates, when cold drinks is taken in large amount, that is, more than one or two canes a day, then it is harmful and reduces the production of breast milk. 

Artificial Sweeteners

It is recommended that breastfeeding women should make use of artificial sweeteners with caution, like saccharin. Instead, they can consume whole foods and when little sweetness is required, then they can opt for honey and 100% pure maple syrup.

Plain old cane sugar in moderation can also be consumed in place of artificial sweeteners that contain saccharine.

Parsley or Peppermint

Parsley is used for garnishing and peppermint helps in making a fabulous tea; however, they both come with the risk of reducing the supply and that is the problem with these herbs. 

If they are consumed in small quantities, they don’t cause a problem, but it should always be taken care of higher consumption as it can be harmful to the baby as:

  • It can cause an increase in appetite for the baby than usual.

Mercury

Methyl mercury is found in some of the fish’s foods that enter their body while eating and remain inside their body even after it is eaten. When a breastfeeding woman then consumes such fish, the methyl mercury mixes with her blood and passes into her breast milk, which is:

  • Harmful for the baby’s developing nervous system.

Fish is said to have a rich source of very high-quality nutrients, ranging from proteins to fatty acids, so it should not be avoided completely. Rather you need to avoid eating those fish that has a high amount of methyl mercury, like shark, white tuna, swordfish and king mackerel. Instead of these varieties, you should try to opt for fishes with lower mercury count, like wild salmon, canned light tuna, shrimp, tilapia and sardines.

If you do not eat fish or food containing DHA containing -foods (like roasted seaweed, nori, lean beef and pasteurized dairy products), then it is advised to consume a postnatal supplement that has DHA and EPA (omega-3).

Garlic

While most of us think that garlic makes everything better, it is not actually the case. Babies are not that much acquainted with the taste of garlic, and they are not matured enough to find a taste in garlic.

It is often seen that mothers who consume garlic during the phase of breastfeeding their babies are occasionally reluctant while feeding, often pull off while nursing and makes faces.

Taste of garlic lasts for long, so is the effect. If the baby shows reluctance while feeding, then the use of garlic should be avoided. However, some babies don’t show any kind of repulsion with garlic, so it is not problematic for their mothers to have garlic. The consumption of garlic depends upon the baby and his/her liking for the taste of it. 

Wheat

Some babies are intolerant to gluten, which is found in wheat. It can cause discomfort for some babies like garlic, and it can be very normal for some babies. Therefore the consumption of wheat also depends upon the baby’s comfort.

In some cases it may result in:

  • Painful tummy
  • Developing bloody stools, etc

Some mothers choose to eliminate all the common problem causing food items from their diet, which is neither good for their health nor for the babies’ health. Diet should always be regulated according to the needs and requirements of the baby.

Peanuts 

Peanuts are not generally problematic, but if there is a case of allergy in your family, make try avoiding it. 

If you’re not sure about any kind of allergy-related to peanut, then you should watch for wheezing, rashes or hives in the baby’s body as these can be the signs of an allergic reaction.

Citrus Fruits

Babies’ food pipe is not mature enough and so some of the compounds of the citrus fruits can cause:

  • Spitting up
  • Fussiness
  • Diaper rash

So citrus fruits should be avoided. For the essentials of Vitamin C pineapple and mangoes can be consumed. 

Dairy 

Dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt, pudding, ice cream can be harmful to the babies as they can:

  • Produce gas and the child can feel gassy and fussy
  • Make the baby irritated
  • Lead to indigestion like effect in babies

The mothers should distance themselves from the dairy products from which their children are allergic to. They should not avoid all the dairy products as they are necessary to keep the diet balanced and proportionate.

They should check as to what is causing problem for their children and should avoid eating that particular food rather than choosing to quit all the dairy products.

Spicy Foods

Lots of spices and spicy food can cause problems for some babies like garlic, peanuts etc. and for some babies it may act as flavor changer. As whatever is eaten by the mother gets mixed into the milk and goes to the babies, and is liked by some babies but in some cases it can cause a problem like gastric, vomiting, etc.

Proper care of diet and maintaining good food habits can be a change-maker and can make things easier. If small things are taken care of while breastfeeding the child, then it can be really helpful for both the mother and the child. Motherhood can be a totally different experience if little things like proper diet are kept in mind. It will enhance the growth of the child as well as the mother. Motherhood is one of the best gifts of God to women, and it can be very beautiful if one knows what is needed to be done. 

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