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11 Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding

Updated on January 8, 2015

They call it liquid gold for a reason! Breastmilk is hands down the number one nutritious choice for every infant.

It contains all of the necessary nutrients needed for physical and neurological development and is the easiest thing for their little bellies to digest because it’s made specially for them.

Oh, and not to mention that it’s free!

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Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding

There’s good and bad to everything though, but the benefits far outweigh the minor inconveniences.

By now, you should be used to the diet limitations of pregnancy, which most of them will carry over through your breastfeeding journey.

If you need a quick rundown, here’s some foods to avoid while breastfeeding, and most of them will already be pretty familiar:

  1. Alcohol: Excessive drinking can not only negatively affect milk supply, but alcohol is passed into your breast milk! While no alcohol is really considered safe while breastfeeding, it is commonly thought “If you are too intoxicated to drive, you are too intoxicated to breastfeed.” Moderation is key, a single drink once in a while won’t hurt you or the baby.

  2. Caffeine: Some babies are particularly sensitive to the presence of caffeine in breast milk! Keep in mind that this includes coffee, tea, and chocolate (sigh).

  3. Fish: Fish contains mercury which is a known neurotoxin and is passed onto your baby through breast milk. One or two portions of tuna a week won’t hurt, but I’d probably steer clear of the same fish you are told to avoid during pregnancy: Tilefish, king mackerel, shark, and swordfish.

  4. Peppermint: Although peppermint may have been a great tool in reducing morning sickness, you should now avoid it when breastfeeding as it is a known offender in causing a milk supply drop!

  5. Parsley: Just as peppermint can, parsley can also cause a drop in your milk supply.

  6. Broccoli: While this one might not affect your baby, there’s many babies out there who will become really gassy if a mother’s diet contains a lot of broccoli.

  7. Family allergens: Eggs, peanuts, soy, whatever the common family allergen is, it’s probably just best to avoid it.

  8. Dairy: This is actually a pretty common offender and can make babies really fussy after eating, and even cause skin conditions such as eczema! Many moms who find their babies are sensitive to something in their diet cut out all dairy products and find relief for their little one.

  9. Gluten: Gluten sensitivity and allergies are becoming increasingly common amongst the population as a whole. If you notice blood in your baby’s stools, call the pediatrician right away and begin cutting gluten out of your diet to see if the condition improves.

  10. Citrus fruits: Citrus fruits can be irritating to a baby’s little, developing belly! From being fussy to acidic bowel movements causing a nasty rash, it might pose a problem, it might not!

  11. Garlic: Although it likely won’t cause a bad reaction in their gut, if your milk has a hint of garlic, your baby might refuse to nurse! Breast milk is usually sweet, and if you recently consumed some garlic and your little one is suddenly on a nursing strike (which does happen sometimes, it’s totally normal!) then garlic might just be an offender!

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Choosing the Right Foods

Not all of the foods listed above need to be avoided by everyone, but if you feel your baby might be sensitive to something in your diet, you need to try the process of elimination. Stop eating all of these potentially offending foods for a full 14 days to see if you notice a change.

If you do, start reintroducing each food one at a time back into your diet until you see symptoms return in order to help pinpoint the culprit. Waiting the full 14 days is key because it can take a while for the foods to come out of your supply completely.

When making food selections, keep in mind that everything you eat is influencing the nutritional content of your milk supply.

Maintaining a well-rounded diet is key in having healthy breast milk for your baby and paying close attention to food to avoid while breastfeeding will help a bunch!

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Breastfeeding Advice from the Pros

If you feel that you are having issues with your milk supply, or even just need some help (we all do at one point or another, it’s nothing to be ashamed of!) contact a Certified Lactation Counselor or the La Leche League, and they will be of the best help in identifying any problems that exist!

Think about it, breastfeeding is natural and so is talking, but both skills need to be learned, practiced, and mastered!

How to Breastfeed: Foods to Avoid

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