Foods to avoid while breastfeedingFoods to avoid while breastfeeding

Are you wondering if there are foods to avoid while breastfeeding? For newborns and young infants, nursing is considered the most crucial stage. Breastfeeding provides essential nutrients for their growth and development for a few months before they start solids. (1)
As a nursing mother, your diet plays a crucial role in determining the health and well-being of your baby. While you may be tempted to indulge in your favorite foods, it is important to be mindful of what you eat, as some foods can have negative effects on your baby’s health. Below, we will go over the foods to avoid when breastfeeding, along with the reasons.

Why Avoid Certain Foods While Breastfeeding?

What you eat while breastfeeding can affect the quality and quantity of your breast milk. Certain foods can cause allergies, upset stomachs, and even harm your baby’s development.
Some foods can also cause discomfort or irritability in your baby. Although some healthcare providers say that food does not cause baby colic, after discussing this with mothers, they found that some foods increase baby colic when consumed by mothers. You can try it yourself to see if it works for you and your baby.

Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding

If you consume too much caffeine, your baby may become agitated and restless. It might also mess with your baby’s sleep schedule, making it challenging for them to get to sleep.
Taking in more caffeine, especially during pregnancy and breastfeeding, may have effects on the mother, causing dehydration, a fast heart rate, and insomnia. At the same time, it passes to the baby, causing more problems such as irritability, decreasing breastmilk iron concentrations, and resulting in mild iron deficiency anemia in some breastfed infants. (1)

Numerous beverages, including energy drinks, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, tea, and coffee, contain caffeine. Don’t forget to count chocolate as well, as cacao contains caffeine too. While consuming caffeine, keep in mind that you should not exceed more than 300 mg per day, as it can easily pass to your baby through your breast milk. (1)


While breastfeeding, drinking alcohol can pass through breast milk and negatively impact a baby’s development and feeding habits.
Newborns metabolise alcohol differently than adults, leading to longer retention in their bodies and less studied effects. (1)

Your blood concentration of alcohol in a standard drink (one 12-ounce beer, 1.5 ounces of liquor, or a 5-ounce glass of wine) will diminish after two to three hours. So consider not nursing for about 3 hours after you drink alcohol. Pumping and dumping don’t remove alcohol from your milk. The only safe way for you and your baby is to avoid alcohol during pregnancy and nursing. This will be much easier if you prepare yourself before pregnancy.

Spicy Foods
Spices eaten by mothers don’t pass through their milk, according to various studies, but some mothers find that after eating some kinds of spices, the baby is fussy and irritable. So after eating spicy foods, see how your baby reacts, and if he is fussy, try to limit or avoid it while breastfeeding.

Spicy foods can cause discomfort and irritability in your baby. They can also cause gastrointestinal problems, like acid reflux.

Always monitor your infant after each feeding to determine if your daily consumption has any effect on him. The baby’s stomach is more sensitive than an adult’s stomach. Studies have shown that the taste and smell of breast milk can change due to what the mother eats. (1)

    Fish High in Mercury
    Mercury is present everywhere, including in some jobs that expose people to it frequently, as well as in their diet. Therefore, mothers must be aware that their mercury exposure can have a negative impact on their babies’ nervous system development. (1)

    Eating fish provides the required amount of omega-3 fatty acids and is extremely healthy; however, due to sea contamination, fish become contaminated with mercury. You can moderately consume low-mercury fish, like salmon, up to 12 ounces (6 oz per serving) per week to lessen the mercury ingestion that impacts the baby’s central nervous system.

    Fish like swordfish, sharks, and king mackerel that are high in mercury can harm your baby’s development. We recommend avoiding such fish while nursing.

    Dairy Products
    Babies can have an allergic reaction to dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt. If you notice any signs of discomfort or allergies in your baby after you consume these foods, it may be best to avoid them while breastfeeding, as your baby may be allergic to them. 
    Eating and drinking dairy products can cause an allergic reaction in your breastfed baby. By trying different foods while nursing, keep an eye on what may be affecting your baby; any changes, such as rash, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, or colic, can be a sign of an allergy.

    Citrus Fruits
    Certain fruits, such as citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, and grapefruits, can cause gas, colic, and fussiness in breastfed infants. Therefore, it is advisable to steer clear of them.
    You can determine whether your baby has food allergies or sensitivity by introducing different types of food while nursing and closely monitoring them. Symptoms may appear about 12–24 hours after eating.

    If you have a family history of peanut allergies, it is best to avoid peanuts while breastfeeding, as they may cause allergies in some babies.

    Processed Foods
    It is crucial to limit the consumption of processed foods, as they often contain excessive amounts of fat, sugar, and salt. These foods, such as cookies, chips, and fast food, may also contain artificial additives and preservatives that could harm your baby’s health. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid them as much as possible.

    Some herbs
    Some herbs, such as persil, sage, and mint, can reduce milk production. Be aware of the herbs and herbal supplements you use. Usually, you consume herbs in small amounts, but if you find yourself using them regularly while nursing, consider limiting them as they may reduce your milk supply.


    So, what should I eat while breastfeeding?


    While there are certain foods to avoid while breastfeeding, many foods are beneficial for your baby’s health. Here are some of the foods that you should include in your diet while breastfeeding:

    Fruits and Vegetables

    Fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that can enhance your baby’s immune system, as well as provide fiber to aid digestion.
    Prefer always eating greens that are rich in vitamins and minerals that you need, especially during this period, as your healthy diet will reflect on your health as well as your child’s.

    Whole Grains
    Whole grains are full of nutritive components such as protein, vitamins, and fiber. Those grains, such as quinoa, oats, and brown rice, promote overall health and regulate bowel movements in babies.

    Lean Proteins
    Lean proteins are essential for your baby’s growth and development. They are also a good source of iron, which can prevent anemia. Chicken, fish, and tofu are examples.


    Staying hydrated is important while breastfeeding. Drinking enough water can help maintain your milk supply and prevent dehydration.
    You can classify all liquids as herbal drinks and juices, but steer clear of fresh fruit juice as it can spike your blood sugar levels, even without any added sugar. Instead, go for vegetable juice or berry juice, as they don’t contain sugar.

    Beans, chickpeas, and fava beans can cause discomfort for both the mother and her baby. Check it yourself, as per my experience with chickpea soup, my baby got a lot of colics.


    Breastfeeding is a special experience for both mother and child. It’s crucial to pay attention to your diet to ensure your baby’s health and wellness. By avoiding specific foods while breastfeeding, you can reduce the risk of allergies, discomfort, and developmental issues. Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet can ensure you receive the necessary nutrients to support your nursing needs. Not only will it benefit your health presently, but it will also have long-term effects. Remember to prioritise your health for the well-being of both you and your child.

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