8 Types Of Foods To Avoid When Breastfeeding

Being a newly-minted mother, I’m often reminded by countless individuals to watch what I eat because whatever I eat, will be whatever my baby eats. As if breastfeeding isn’t a tough enough new experience to meander, there’s an additional step to take i.e. being conscious about what we consume too? So for example, if I’m eating foods that would give me “gas”, my baby would likely suffer from an upset tummy because of the gas from these gassy foods that are introduced into their system via my breastmilk.

Frankly, after more than 9 months of being diet conscious during my pregnancy, I was a little chuffed to hear that I had to be on my best behaviour for as long as I breastfed. And really, if I indulged in dishes which would result in an unhappy baby, it’s my loss, really. Again, there’s no need to completely avoid these foods. Rather, the key is to consume these types of foods in moderation so that you and your baby feel your best all the time.

So here are 8 Types Of Foods To Avoid When Breastfeeding. Whether these foods would lead to your baby’s stomach (myth or not) or affect your milk supply, just hang on for a little while longer, my fellow mommies. Do note that this is NOT a foolproof/watertight list. The best way to determine whether you should avoid certain foods is to observe how your baby reacts to your diet and to alter your diet according to your baby’s needs. But really, what’re a few more months of being diet conscious as compared with your little one’s best interests and wellbeing? You can do it, mommy.

Photo Credit: Pexels

#1 Alcohol

Alright, this has to be pretty much a no-brainer and I’m sure that we’re all aware of the negative effects that alcohol has (not just for babies, but for us, adults too). And with the sleepless nights and endless days, why not just cut alcohol out of your diet altogether especially if alcohol makes you sleepy?

But if you’re craving just a little sip and want to cut yourself some slack, make sure that you limit yourself accordingly and only have that drink immediately after you breastfeed. This would give your body sufficient time to metabolise and process the alcohol before your next feeding session. But if you’re still feeling a little under the influence at the point of the next feeding session, do consider “pumping and dumping” so that your little one doesn’t take in any breastmilk which is affected by your alcohol consumption and feed your baby with expressed breastmilk instead. Do not breastfeed until your body is clear and your blood, free from the alcohol.

Photo Credits: Pixabay

#2 Cabbage

This is one of the foods that my babysitter told me to cut out of my diet as much as possible until I’m done with breastfeeding / have the intention to wean. In general, cabbage is known for alleviating pain and swelling in the breast, especially in cases where a breastfeeding mother experiences engorgement.

That being said, breastfeeding mothers should also be aware that the application of cabbage leaves on the breast may have the effect of lowering one’s milk supply and/or drying up your breast milk. Furthermore, our nanny also shared with us that the consumption of cabbages could lead to not just a reduction in milk supply but also cause your baby to be more “gassy” after drinking your breastmilk.

Photo Credits: Pexels

#3 Chocolate and Coffee

Like alcohol, this is another no brainer really. Chocolate and coffee both contain caffeine and when consumed in large proportions, this may pass through your breastmilk and affect your little one’s ability to fall asleep as per his/her usual sleep schedule. And what you’ll have at the end of the day is an irritable infant and sleepless night. Not pleasant.

Further, caffeine is also known to have a laxative effect and given the number of diaper changes that you are already going through on a daily basis, you’re definitely not in the game to increase the frequency of your diaper changes. At the end of the day, it’s all about eating in moderation and discovering what works the best for you and your baby. And to my fellow chocolate and coffee fans, I get you. I’m still enjoying a cup of milk tea as and when the cravings arise but I do make an effort to consume these beverages right after a pumping session so that I give my body more time to process the caffeine.

Photo Credit: Pexels

#4 Bs & Cs

Say who? Beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower are all vegetables that are considered “gassy” and by consuming these Bs & Cs, it may lead to an increase in gas in your little one. So if your baby already experiences bloating, is gassy and colicky, it would be a good idea to shelve these vegetables for a little while and for as long as these issues persist. Personally, I find this a bummer because I absolutely adore broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower!

Photo Credits: Pexels

#5 Fish with high mercury levels

Fish is a great protein to add to a breastfeeding mother’s diet as they contain omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial for your little one. However, all breastfeeding mothers should avoid fish that have high levels of mercury e.g. swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, shark and tuna. Just as we avoid fish with high levels of mercury during pregnancy due to the damaging effects that mercury can have on the development of the baby’s brain, mercury can also pass through your breastmilk and into your little one’s system.

Thus, make it a point to have no more than twelve ounces or two portions of fish a week. And if you’ve got an unwavering hankering for fish, opt to eat fish which are known to contain a lower level of mercury e.g. tilapia, salmon and trout.

Photo Credits: Pinterest

#6 Ma La Xiang Guo & Spicy Food

Arguably one of the hottest food trends in the last few years, most Singaporeans are fans of Ma La Xiang Guo (“MLXG”) and all spicy foods in general. When my nanny first arrived at my home, she did warn me about the consumption of MLXG and spicy foods in general as she had noticed that the babies of the mothers whom she had cared for earlier, experienced discomfort and diarrhoea after drinking the breastmilk from their mothers who just enjoyed a bowl of MLXG or spicy food.

But then again, there are others who have reported zero negative consequence flowing from eating spicy foods whilst breastfeeding. If you notice your little one experiencing more “gas” after a feed, then it would perhaps be a good idea to cut back on the spice for a little while.

Photo Credits; Pexels

#7 MSG-laden Foods & Processed Foods

If we’re told that MSG and processed foods are bad for us, logic would follow that these foods should similarly be avoided whilst one is breastfeeding. Processed food contains additives that are not only toxic for our little ones but could also cause colic and allergies. Your baby may also become slightly fussier after drinking your breastmilk.

Photo Credits: Pexels

#8 Peppermint, Parsley and Sage

Peppermint, parsley and sage are antigalactagogues which have been said to have a negative effect on a breastfeeding mother’s milk supply. Also, eating large amounts of sage has been reported to be toxic. However, consumption of these herbs in small or moderate amounts will be unlikely to lead to any decrease in your milk supply. But if you do happen to notice a difference in your milk output, stop consumption of these herbs. You worked so hard to build that supply for your little one, we’ve got to protect it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.