There are certain foods you are advised to avoid when breastfeeding to minimise harm or discomfort to your baby. Here’s a list of what to give a miss:
Monitor your tea and coffee intake while breastfeeding. A daily cup or two of coffee is fine but any more than that can cause your baby irritability and interfere with their sleep pattern. Caffeine is found in a variety of foods, including tea, chocolate and some medicines so check the labels to be on the safe side.
You can eat fish while breastfeeding but be aware of what you consume. Certain types of fish, including tuna, mackerel and swordfish, often contain high levels of mercury, so stick to no more than two servings per week. Mercury can have a negative effect on your baby’s neurological development. However, as fish is a good source of protein and Omega-3 try to include other varieties in your diet.
Alcohol can be passed down from mother to baby via breastmilk so try to minimise your intake when breastfeeding. Excessive alcohol consumption can result in poor milk production and can cause your baby to become fussy and irritable. It is also thought that it can affect a baby’s weight gain and neurological development.
Some mothers report that their child becomes fussy or gassy when they eat certain foods before breastfeeding. Garlic, peppers, onion, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower all fall into this category. Not all babies react the same way so if you notice they are increasingly windy when you eat certain vegetables, maybe try to minimise your intake.
Particular spices can also be passed on in the breastmilk and can cause irritability and excessive gas. Many mothers choose to avoid cinnamon, chili pepper, ginger and curry powder while breastfeeding to minimise their baby’s discomfort.
If your baby is showing signs of an allergy, it’s likely that it’s down to something being passed through your breastmilk. Eczema, diarrhea, irritability and congestion are all typical allergy reactions. Dairy products are a common trigger, in addition to soy, wheat, eggs and nuts. It’s wise to monitor your breastfeeding and how your baby reacts after you eat a trigger food to identify which is causing the problem.
Consult your GP or health visitor for more information on foods to avoid when breastfeeding.