6 Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding and The Reasons Why

While some studies show that food restrictions during breastfeeding aren’t really necessary, there are some products that should definitely be avoided. 

Alcohol, caffeine, some herbs, and spices, as well as some fish, chocolate and citrus fruits, are banned from a nursing mother’s diet for very good reasons. These have to do with the associated risks for your baby’s health and development.

Have a Healthy Baby: 6 Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding

1. Coffee

Pregnant and nursing women are generally advised to avoid caffeine altogether or at least cut down their intake to 1-2 cups a day. If you want your baby to be as healthy as possible, you should abstain from coffee completely.

The reason for this is that caffeine gets into breast milk and infants’ bodies are not able to process it effectively. According to drugs.com, this can cause a variety of problems in the baby ranging from jitteriness, to sleep disorders and anemia. The long-term damage from such experiences in infancy is unknown.

Tea and decaffeinated drinks are also associated with the same symptoms in babies, so it’s best to avoid all ‘stimulating’ beverages while you breastfeed.

2. Chocolate

Chocolate, unfortunately, is among the foods to avoid while breastfeeding for the same reason coffee is. That is, due to the caffeine content. It’s important to note that caffeine content in chocolate varies from 3.5mg per ounce (milk chocolate) to 20+mg per ounce (dark chocolate). White chocolate shouldn’t contain any, but it’s best to check the label.

The fact that this delicious treat has a much lower level of caffeine means you can enjoy it a little bit though. However, be sure to choose healthy (and even useful!) chocolate goods like these lactation biscuits. These will not only allow you to enjoy the delicious taste but also stimulate the production of breast milk, which is an important concern for many mothers.

Foods to Avoid Breastfeeding

3. Spices and herbs (peppermint, parsley, oregano, thyme)

It’s advised to avoid peppermint, oregano, thyme, and parsley while breastfeeding because they naturally reduce a mother’s milk supply. The good news is that women who suffer from overproduction of milk can use them as natural and safe aids to combat the issue.

Bear in mind that herbs are relatively mild in their effects on one’s health. This means that flavoring your salad with 1-2 sprigs of any of these shouldn’t cause any issues, especially if you don’t do this daily. This also means that you can enjoy an occasional relaxing cup of peppermint tea without fearing any serious side effects of reducing breast milk supply.

4. Citrus fruits

One of the main reasons why it’s advised to avoid citrus fruits while breastfeeding is the risk of your baby developing an allergic reaction. Even if your baby doesn’t have an allergy to this food group, it’s advised to not risk it. All types of citrus are irritants and can cause tummy problems, fussiness, and spitting up. Instead of citrus, you can get a healthy dose of vitamin C from a nice ripe mango or pineapple.

Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding

5. Fish

It’s essential to avoid fish because they are generally high in mercury which can cross over into your breast milk and literally poison your baby. Remember that the damage for a newborn is much greater than for an adult with a strong immune system. Fish highest in mercury include tuna, marlin, swordfish, tilefish, shark, mackerel, grouper, bluefish, and sea bass (and their numerous sub-species).

Safe kinds of fish that are actually good for pregnant and breastfeeding women due to their omega 3 fatty acids include sardines, herring, salmon, and rainbow trout.

6. Alcohol

And finally, the one that should go without saying but should not be forgotten about, is alcohol. Alcohol gets into your breastmilk and remains there for about as long as it remains in your bloodstream. So, unless you want your baby to develop alcoholism in infancy, you should avoid any drinking while you nurse.

6 Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding and The Reasons Why

1 comment

  1. Great read! It's nice to be reminded once in a while about the foods to be conscious of while breastfeeding. I must admit, I have become quite a slacker now that we're on the extended breastfeeding stage as my tot is now two and a half years old. I became quite lax with my caffeine intake and I can definitely see the effects on his sleep!