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Foods to avoid when breastfeeding

Updated on May 20, 2011

As a mother of a newly born child, it is important to remember that you are now responsible to ensure that your child gets the proper diet that he or she needs to fully grow. This begins with breast feeding, when a child will receive all the same nutrients and foods that you consumed earlier. Because of this, there are a couple of foods to avoid when breastfeeding.

To start out, you should not eat anything that could possibly cause an allergic reaction in your baby. This can be determined by simply looking at your family's history of allergies and determining what is most likely to reappear in your newborn child. Common foods that can trigger allergies include freshwater fish, garlic, eggs, chocolate and products with caffeine.

Nursing mothers normally eat a variety of foods while breastfeeding. These foods will result in different flavors that change the taste of your breast milk. Your baby probably enjoys the variety.

However, if your baby is particularly cranky and seems fussy about the milk one day, try to remember what you may have eaten. If she reacts the same way every time you take that particular food, it could be one of the foods to avoid when breastfeeding.

Avoid citrus fruits
Avoid citrus fruits

List of foods to avoid when breastfeeding:

1. Avoid spicy foods: Spices such as chili, cinnamon, curry and red pepper should be avoided during breastfeeding. They might lead to gas problem in the baby.

Spicy foods can be very difficult for the digestive system of baby. They may drink your milk just fine but they be upset later on. Spicy foods can result in a baby having an upset stomach, diarrhea, and even vomiting. Some of them suffer from severe pain in the abdomen as well. This is definitely a category of foods to avoid when breastfeeding.

2. Common foods that have been found to cause a gassy in breastfed babies: Vegetables such as beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, hot peppers, onions, turnips and cucumber.

3. Avoid citrus fruits: Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, pineapple and lemon should be avoided. Such foods can lead to nappy rash in the baby.

Avoid spicy foods during breastfeeding
Avoid spicy foods during breastfeeding

4. Soy, nuts, peanuts, dairy products, prunes, mango, wheat, egg and corn are some of the other food products that might cause an allergy in your baby and should be taken after consulting the doctor.

5. Avoid caffeine: Drinking or eating things with caffeine is fine up to 700 ml per day. Too much caffeine intake for your baby may result in an inability to sleep.

6. Avoid alcohol and tobacco as much as you can. In fact, if possible, stop taking alcohol in any form during the breastfeeding phase.

7. Avoid fried foods, coconut, artificial sweeteners, aspirin and cold medications. Always ask your health care provider first.


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    • profile image

      Laurel 5 years ago

      I ate anything/everything when I breastfed my two kids and they did just great. I'd say don't worry about it unless your baby seems to be having some type of specific allergic issue. I did try to avoid overly processed foods and bought more organic foods.

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      daddy cool 5 years ago

      Sadly, the majority of this list (as with the 'avoid during pregnancy' food list) just isn't based in science. The favours may change slightly, but that is all. If babies don't like spicy food milk or get upset, then most of the Indian sub continent would either starve or be screaming the house down. Keep a nice balanced diet and try not to worry so much! If people are still sceptical, try to look up articles on the subject from scientific journals, not well ibtentioned, but factually incorrect websites.

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      Ania 5 years ago

      Im with that person on that , who commented about picky kids nowadays, I think it's a pretty redicilous list to avoid and not only 90% of these items are very beneficial for mothers health and nutrients for baby but avoiding almost all important food groups can create a picky baby who will not get used to variety and will grow up to be those picky toddlers impossible to please/feed because they too picky. And yes people done it for many generations and years and I doubt somewhere in 1900s women had a "list" and were avoiding anything or had problem babies. I think with all these "lists" and "donts" we are ourselves as a society creating these problems for ourselves. Give babies variety of everyday foods and be healthy yourself and everything will be fine! P.s: the gas from veggies such broccoli and cabbage does not cause gassy babies, I asked the dr, in fact it is extremely important and beneficial to eat them according to dr's, I don't know where this article got their research from!!

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      Thotmichon Awungshi 6 years ago

      That's a way long list to take based on my experience says eat everything off course in limits and stop worrying. I have 2 kids plus have dozens of breastfeeding friends...all works.

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      Rachel 6 years ago

      I breastfed for eight months without avoiding those on the list and my baby was fine. I come from Philippines which seafood particulary fish is on the daily diet. I eat fish may be four times a week mostly cooked in soupy base with vegetables of course. I always have lemon juice in my sauce all the time and chilli, I even eat sashimi with wasabe. I think whatever food you eat whilst your pregnant is also fine to eat when you are breastfeeding, that's from my experience or may be my baby boy is just tough?

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      Karla 6 years ago

      Very helpful,! (: only thing is im addicted dark soda ! Coke pepsi dr. pepper; could that be why hes fussy and gassy??

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      Eb 6 years ago

      Can you eat prawns?xx

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      mamasita 6 years ago

      That is why there are so many kids today that are so damn picky with there food because that is what you get them use to nothing of what the human body really needs, how would the ladies do it back then with 15 kids, i'm sure they had no time to look up online what should i give my child and what should i do give. yes, there is babies that are some how really special were anything is going to cause them rash, allergies, gas and many more stuff but you should never really give up on them just because of some on time thing. it is like anything in life if you get used to medicine your always going too need it, but if you only take the one time you really need it you will be as healthy as a horse.

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      Alyanschi Silver Gümüş 7 years ago

      not true. all foods are safe in moderation. Excerpt:


      The gas we get from beans comes from the undigested part that remains in our intestines. The portion that enters the blood stream and into the breastmilk is not the part that causes gas"

    • rkhyclak profile image

      rkhyclak 8 years ago from Ohio

      That's a big list to avoid. I had to do some trial and error kinds of things when I was nursing my daughter. I think if you try a food from the "avoid" list and it doesn't cause a problem, then go ahead and eat it again. It'd be tough to avoid all of that for a year (or however long you nurse). Good hub! Very informative!

    • Mama Sez profile image

      Mama Sez 8 years ago from Canada

      My babies develop rashes whenever I eat peanuts, chicken, egg and shrimp while breastfeeding. Doctor's advise is not to totally eliminate these foods in my diet so the baby gets used to these foods and wont develop allergies. Eating a small portion from time to time is preferred.

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      Ted Greiner 8 years ago

      While I recognize that in some cases the mother's diet seems to affect baby or even cause a rash, what is the mechanism by which certain foods are hypothesized to cause a baby to become gassy? In adults, what causes gas is usually undigested carbohydrates. These would not enter breast milk.

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      Raylene  8 years ago

      i've been eating citrus when i was breastfeeding my three-month old child. i've been using muslin cloth to subsitute for his diaper but it won't work! so no wonder my child always have persisting nappy rash! thanks for giving me a solution! i sure over with this problem!

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      ed 8 years ago

      In Taiwan,China,Japan,Asia countries peanuts and fish are eaten on a daily basis in almost all of their food and no one has reactions to peanuts and fish not even babies . What did we do here to cause people and children to die from food allergy????

    • nomoney profile image

      nomoney 9 years ago

      be careful with breast cancer

    • brad4l profile image

      brad4l 9 years ago from USA

      You have some good tips. However, I was reading the news last week and a recent study seems to indicate that avoiding peanuts might not actually decrease the chance of developing a peanut allergy. Doctors in the US no longer recommended avoiding peanut foods, but those overseas still do.

      The study compared Israeli Children with Jewish Children in the UK and found that the Israeli Children were much less likely to have peanut allergy. The only major difference between the two was that Israeli children eat an average of 6 grams of peanut products by the time they are a year old, while the UK eat an average of 0 grams.

      Of course you should consult your doctor first, but a new independent study is underway to confirm these findings. The story is on Google News right now and was originally posted to The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

      Again, you should contact your doctor first though...