Food to avoid when breastfeeding baby
5 Foods to Limit or Avoid While Breastfeeding
By Kelli McGrane, MS, RD on April 24, 2020 — Medically reviewed by Miho Hatanaka, RDN, L.D.
Breast milk is incredibly nutritious. In fact, it provides most of the nutrients that your baby needs for the first 6 months of life (1, 2).
While the composition of breast milk is tightly regulated by your body, research has shown that what you eat does have some effect on the contents of breast milk (3, 4).
In general, no foods are off-limits. Instead, women are recommended to eat a balanced, varied diet. Still, there are some foods and beverages that you may want to limit while breastfeeding.
Here are 5 foods to limit or avoid while breastfeeding, as well as tips for how to tell if your diet is affecting your baby.
Fish is a great source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) — two types of omega-3 fatty acids that are important for brain development in infants, yet can be hard to find in other foods (5).
However, some fish and seafood can also be high in mercury, a metal that can be toxic — especially in infants and kids, who are more sensitive to mercury poisoning (6, 7).
Acute exposure to high levels of mercury can permanently affect your infant’s central nervous system. As a result, they may have delays or impairments in (6, 8):
- fine motor skills
- speech and language development
- visual-spatial awareness
Therefore, fish that are high in mercury should be avoided while breastfeeding. Examples include (9):
- bigeye tuna
- king mackerel
- orange roughy
To ensure adequate omega-3 intake while reducing the risk of mercury poisoning, mothers who breastfeed are recommended to avoid high mercury fish and instead consume 8–12 ounces (225–340 grams) of low mercury fish per week (9).
Due to concerns over mercury poisoning in infants, women who are breastfeeding should avoid fish that are high in mercury, such as shark, swordfish, and bigeye tuna.
The use of herbs and spices like cumin or basil to season food is considered safe during breastfeeding.
However, when it comes to herbal supplements and teas, there are some concerns about safety, as there’s a lack of research in women who are breastfeeding (10, 11).
Additionally, because herbal supplements aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States, there’s also the potential for these supplements to be contaminated with potentially dangerous heavy metals (10, 11).
While many women try supplements to help increase milk supply, there’s overall limited evidence on their effectiveness, with most studies finding no difference in breast milk production compared with a placebo (12).
It’s best to speak with your healthcare provider before trying out a supplement.
As most herbal supplements haven’t been evaluated for their safety during breastfeeding, it’s recommended to talk with your healthcare provider before using any supplements or herbal teas.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), abstaining from alcohol is the safest option during breastfeeding. However, an occasional drink is likely safe, as long as you’re cautious about the amount and timing (13).
How much alcohol your baby can get from breast milk depends on how much alcohol you consumed and when you consumed it. Research shows that the amount of alcohol in breast milk peaks 30–60 minutes after your last drink (14).
Plus, alcohol can remain in your system for up to 2–3 hours. This is just for one drink — the more alcohol you have, the longer it can take to be cleared from your system (14).
As a result, the CDC recommends limiting alcohol to just one standard drink per day and waiting at least 2 hours after that drink to breastfeed (13).
One standard drink is equivalent to (15):
- 12 ounces (355 mL) of beer
- 5 ounces (125 mL) of wine
- 1.5 ounces (45 mL) of hard alcohol
High levels of alcohol consumption have been shown to reduce breast milk output by 20%. (14)
Moreover, frequent, excessive alcohol intake during breastfeeding has been linked to an increased risk of disrupted sleep patterns, delay in psychomotor skills, and even cognitive delay later in life (13, 14, 16, 17).
Women who are breastfeeding are recommended to limit alcohol to one drink or less per day and to wait at least 2 hours before breastfeeding. Frequent and excessive alcohol intake can reduce milk production and have serious effects on your baby.
Coffee, soda, tea, and chocolate are common sources of caffeine. When you consume them, some of that caffeine can end up in your breast milk (18, 19).
This can be problematic, as babies have a hard time breaking down and getting rid of caffeine. As a result, large amounts of caffeine over time could accumulate in your baby’s system, causing irritability and trouble sleeping (19, 20).
According to the CDC, mothers who are breastfeeding are recommended to consume no more than 300 mg of caffeine per day, which is equivalent to two or three cups of coffee (18).
As energy drinks often contain added vitamins and herbs, in addition to high amounts of caffeine, women who are breastfeeding are recommended to avoid these products unless otherwise approved by a trusted healthcare provider (21).
During breastfeeding, women are recommended to limit caffeine intake to 300 mg per day or less to prevent irritability and disrupted sleep patterns in your infant.
To meet the increased nutrient demands of breastfeeding, it’s incredibly important that you eat a healthy, balanced diet (22).
As highly processed foods are generally high in calories, unhealthy fats, and added sugars, yet low in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, it’s recommended to limit their intake as much as possible.
Early research has also suggested that a mother’s diet while breastfeeding may influence her child’s diet later in life (23, 24, 25).
Specifically, animal studies have found that flavors infants are exposed to through breast milk can influence their food preferences as they grow up (26).
One study observed that rats born to mothers with a high junk food diet were significantly more likely to prefer high fat, high sugar foods than those whose mothers had a balanced, healthy diet (27).
While more research is needed in humans, there’s a concern that frequent exposure to fatty, sugary foods as an infant may lead to less healthy eating habits and obesity as the child ages.
As highly processed foods are generally low in essential nutrients and may affect your child’s food preferences later in life, it’s recommended that breastfeeding moms limit their intake of foods that are high in added sugars and processed fats.
As flavors of foods and beverages end up in your breast milk, some moms find that strongly flavored foods like onion, garlic, or spices cause their babies to refuse to feed or become fussy after eating (28, 29).
While there’s no evidence to suggest that all mothers should avoid strongly flavored foods, if you notice changes in your baby’s feedings, it’s important to talk with your dietitian or pediatrician about eliminating certain foods or spices from your diet (29, 30).
Other potential food groups that may need to be avoided during breastfeeding include cow’s milk and soy products.
Approximately 0.5–2% of breastfed infants may be allergic to cow’s milk protein from their mother’s milk, while 0.25% may be allergic to soy protein (31, 32, 33, 34).
If your pediatrician suspects that your baby may have an allergy to milk or soy, it’s recommended to exclude all cow’s milk or soy protein from your diet for 2–4 weeks if you want to continue breastfeeding (35).
Some babies may be more sensitive to strongly flavored foods or have an allergy to cow’s milk or soy protein. In these cases, it’s important to talk with your pediatrician before eliminating foods from your diet.
Every baby is different. However, there are some common signs that your diet may be affecting your baby, including (36, 37):
- bloody stools
- abnormal fussiness
- excessive gas
- anaphylaxis — while rare, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention
If your baby exhibits any of these symptoms, it could be a sign that your baby is allergic or intolerant to a food in your diet. It’s important to make an appointment with your pediatrician, as they can work with you to help identify the problematic food.
For some food allergies, you may be instructed to cut out any suspected allergens for 2–4 weeks to see if symptoms subside.
Keep in mind that though your baby may have intolerances or allergies as an infant, they may still be able to tolerate those foods as they get older. Consult your pediatrician before adding foods back into your diet or your child’s (38).
Symptoms like eczema, bloody stools, diarrhea, and congestion can indicate a food allergy or intolerance in your infant. It’s important to work with your pediatrician to identify which food(s) may be affecting your baby.
Breastfeeding provides essential nutrients for your growing infant.
While most foods that were off-limits during pregnancy are back on the menu, there are some foods and beverages that may not be tolerated by or have negative effects on your baby.
While it’s recommended to completely avoid fish high in mercury and some herbal supplements, foods like alcohol, caffeine, and highly processed products can still be consumed but in limited amounts.
If your baby has symptoms like eczema or bloody stools, it may be due to something in your diet. It’s important to share your concerns with your pediatrician before making any sudden dietary changes.
Foods to avoid while breastfeeding
Most breastfeeding moms can eat a broad range of foods without it affecting their babies. But every situation is different. If you notice that your baby seems to be fussy, sleepless, or gassy after you eat a particular food, talk to your baby's doctor about whether the cause could be your diet or something else.
Foods to avoid or limit while breastfeeding
Foods with special safety concerns for breastfeeding moms include:
Fish: Avoid eating the following high-mercury fish species:
- King mackerel
- Orange roughy
- Bigeye tuna
- Tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico
But fish isn't off limits when you're breastfeeding, as long as you limit the amount you eat and choose low-mercury fish and seafood. In fact, it's recommended that breastfeeding moms eat 8 to 12 ounces of low-mercury fish each week, which is a great source of DHA and EPA, two omega-3 fatty acids that are difficult to find in other foods.
Plus, you can enjoy raw fish while breastfeeding! Unlike during pregnancy, there's no need to avoid sushi, poke, or seared tuna.
Alcohol: It's safest not to drink any alcohol while breastfeeding, but it's okay to have an occasional drink if you:
- Time it carefully. Breastfeed your baby (or pump breast milk) immediately before drinking, if possible. After you have a drink, wait at least two hours before breastfeeding. If your breasts are full before that waiting period ends, you can pump and dump your breast milk. If your baby needs to eat before the two hours are up, feed them previously expressed breast milk.
- Allow for individual factors that affect blood alcohol level. These include whether you've had any food and how much you weigh.
- Drink in moderation. The waiting period is two hours per drink, so it's difficult to have more than one drink safely unless you have an older baby who doesn't nurse as frequently. The same amount of alcohol that makes it into your bloodstream makes it into your breast milk, so that waiting period is important.
Caffeine: Too much could overstimulate your baby. It's fine to have two or three cups of coffee (300 milligrams of caffeine) spread throughout the day, but more than that could disrupt your baby's sleep or make them fussy. Keep in mind that caffeine is also found in some sodas, teas, and over-the-counter medicines.
Herbs: Certain herbs, including some herbal teas, aren't considered safe for breastfeeding moms. Since herbs can be very potent, check with your healthcare provider before taking any. Also, some herbs can decrease your milk supply.
Chocolate: Too much could overstimulate your baby. But we're talking large amounts. It's okay to have a few pieces of chocolate or slice of chocolate cake. But if you eat large amounts of chocolate, the theobromine (a stimulant) in the chocolate can affect your baby in much the same way as caffeine does.
Dark chocolate has more theobromine than milk chocolate, and white chocolate has no theobromine (the ingredient is in the cocoa solids). Chocolate also contains caffeine, another reason not to overdo it.
Could my baby react to a food I eat while breastfeeding?
It's possible. If your baby seems to be reacting to a food in your diet, talk to their doctor. They could have a food intolerance, or it could be something else.
An intolerance is a digestive condition – unlike an allergy, which is an immune response. Symptoms of a food intolerance include:
- Bloody diarrhea
The two most common causes of food intolerances in infancy are:
- Cow's milk protein intolerance: If your baby is afflicted, avoid any food that has milk, milk products, casein, whey, or sodium caseinate in it.
- Soy protein intolerance: If your baby is afflicted, avoid all soy products, such as tofu, tempeh, tamari, soy sauce, soy milk, miso, and edamame.
Could my baby be allergic to foods I eat while breastfeeding?
Your breast milk is very unlikely to trigger an allergic reaction in your baby, even if you eat allergenic foods such as peanuts, fish, shellfish, and eggs.
If your baby has allergy symptoms (such as eczema or a rash, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, red and watery eyes, vomiting, or diarrhea), they may be caused by something they're in regular contact with, such as soap, pet dander, dust, pollen, or foods they're eating once they start solids.
In rare cases, a baby may be allergic to food allergens such as cow's milk protein in the mother's diet. If you're worried about a reaction to allergenic foods you eat, have your baby evaluated by their healthcare provider. The only treatment for a breastfed baby with a food allergy is strict avoidance in your diet.
Will foods I eat while breastfeeding make my baby gassy?
There's evidence that a small number of nursing babies may be sensitive to dairy products in their mom's diet and be more gassy as a result.
You may have heard that it helps to avoid certain foods while breastfeeding – such as citrus fruits, orange juice, spices (cinnamon, curry, chili pepper), spicy food, and "gassy" veggies (cabbage, onion, broccoli, cauliflower) – but there's no convincing scientific evidence to support that advice.
Still, if you notice that your nursing baby seems fussy, gassy, or sleepless after you eat a particular food, talk to your baby's doctor. They may recommend eliminating the food from your diet for at least three weeks and then reintroducing it to see if there's a consistent effect.
Should I avoid foods with strong flavors like garlic?
No. While some strongly flavored foods may change the taste of your milk, most babies seem to enjoy a variety of breast milk flavors.
Plus, the dominant flavors of your diet were in your amniotic fluid during pregnancy. Fetuses swallow a fair amount of amniotic fluid before birth, so when they taste those flavors again in their mother's breast milk, they're already accustomed to them.
- Diet for a healthy breastfeeding mom
- How to safely store breast milk
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What to eat while breastfeeding | Breastfeeding Diet
You know that breast milk is the best food for your baby. What about your own nutrition while breastfeeding? We asked the nutritionist a few questions about the nutrition of a nursing mother.
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Priya Tew, UK-based registered dietitian :
Priya is a nutritionist, M.D., multi-award winning member of the British Dietetic Association and the Health Professions Council. She has three children, and she breastfed each of them for up to 18 months.
During breastfeeding, there is no need to follow a special diet, the main thing is that your diet is balanced. It should include plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains such as oats, brown rice, various cereals, and breads labeled "whole grain", "wholemeal" or "wholemeal". These foods, along with potatoes, pasta, and couscous, are high in starch, an important source of energy.
In addition, you need lean proteins found in chicken, eggs, legumes, lentils, fish, and lean beef, as well as healthy fats found in olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados, and fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel. Oily fish is very good for your health and development of your baby, but you should not eat more than two servings per week (about 140 g), as it may contain harmful impurities. 1
Should I take vitamins while breastfeeding?
The most important is vitamin D. It is essential for healthy bones, you and your baby. We get most of this vitamin from the sun. If you live in a region with insufficient solar activity, especially in winter, your body may lack it. In this case, the doctor may advise taking vitamin D supplements. 2
You also need to get enough calcium, as it is excreted from the body during breastfeeding. 3 Try to eat four servings of foods rich in this mineral a day. These can be dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese, or non-dairy products such as nuts, tofu, sesame seeds, and leafy vegetables. One serving may consist of, for example, half a cup of green vegetables or a small piece of cheese (50 g).
What foods should I avoid while breastfeeding?
The good news is that you can eat almost anything while breastfeeding. Only the consumption of oily fish should be limited. In small quantities, even caffeine is acceptable - more on this below.
If you are not allergic to peanuts, there is no reason to deny yourself products that contain peanuts. Recent studies show that if you eat peanuts while breastfeeding and gradually introduce them into your baby's diet during the first year, your baby will be less likely to become allergic to them in the future. 4
Are extra calories needed while breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding mothers need about 500 more calories a day. 5 But every mother is unique and your energy needs will change throughout your breastfeeding period. The number of calories you need depends on your baby's age, appetite, height, and weight, as well as your body mass index (BMI), your activity, and factors such as whether you are exclusively breastfeeding or not, and whether you are breastfeeding twins or multiple babies.
Can I go on a diet while breastfeeding?
Trying to lose weight while breastfeeding is not a good idea because you need to get enough nutrients for you and your baby. The fat accumulated during pregnancy is used to produce milk, so breastfeeding in itself will help you shed those extra pounds.
If your weight changes by more than 1 kg per week, check if you are eating a healthy and balanced diet and adjust if necessary. You can also ask your doctor for advice.
How can I find time to prepare healthy meals?
Having devoted yourself to feeding a child, you can forget about your own nutrition. However, it is important to ensure that your diet does not consist only of sweets and cookies. Of course, sweet snacks are easy and quick, but they do not bring any benefit to your body.
Opt for quick yet nutritious meals like scrambled eggs with spinach or fried chicken with brown rice. Oatmeal is great for breakfast, as it provides a slow release of energy from grains and soluble dietary fiber, which is what you need to restore strength in the morning after a night of breastfeeding.
Store pre-cut fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator for light snacks, or carry unsalted nuts in your bag. It's much easier than peeling tangerines with one hand while holding a baby with the other.
Should I drink more water while breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding can make you thirsty, so it's important to drink enough water. A person needs six to eight glasses of fluid a day, and even more if breastfeeding. 6 Make it a habit to drink a glass of water, milk or fruit juice without sugar every time you feed your baby.
I love coffee. Do I need to quit caffeine?
Coffee, like everything you eat or drink, passes into your breast milk, so it is advisable to limit your intake while breastfeeding. Legal coffee limits vary by country, but the average recommendation is not to exceed 200-300 mg of caffeine per day (300 mg is equivalent to two cups of filtered coffee or four cups of tea). Talk to your doctor about the acceptable amount of coffee consumption for you. Also, don't forget that caffeine is found in cola and energy drinks, and a small bar of dark chocolate can contain up to 50 mg. 7
If I eat a varied diet, will my baby be less picky?
Breast milk has the flavor of everything you eat. 8 Therefore, if you eat a variety of foods during breastfeeding, giving your baby different tastes to try, he may like them in the future.
If you like spicy and spicy foods, there is no reason to refuse them while breastfeeding. When my first child was born, I ate a lot of spicy food. When my daughter was two years old, we went to Sri Lanka, coincidence or not, but she ate absolutely everything.
Can something in my diet not be suitable for a child?
At an early age, babies often suffer from colic or are picky eaters, so mothers naturally wonder if their diet is causing this. Probably not. Studies show that the proportion of children who are allergic to any component of breast milk is only slightly more than 1%. 9 Cow's milk, eggs, corn, and soy proteins in moms' diets are much more likely to cause allergic reactions than spicy foods, hot sauces, or cruciferous vegetables, which moms usually worry about.
If your baby is allergic to substances in your milk, it can cause profuse vomiting, rash, bloody stools, or prolonged constipation. If your baby has an intolerance to any food, you will notice symptoms such as moodiness and crying after feeding, burping, diarrhea, or the baby will press his knees to his chest. Contact your doctor if something is bothering you. He may suggest eliminating certain foods for a couple of weeks, and then see if the child's behavior changes after eating them again.
You can also keep a food diary: write down everything you eat and drink, as well as your child's symptoms, and you may notice some patterns. However, before cutting out any foods, such as dairy, always check with your doctor, as it's important to know that you're getting the nutrients you need from other sources. Depending on where you live, you will be referred to a nutritionist or other specialist.
Does a vegetarian diet affect breast milk?
If you are getting enough calories and all the nutrients your body needs (carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals), then you have nothing to worry about. A vegetarian or vegan diet requires plenty of vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids while breastfeeding, so opt for foods and supplements that provide you with these essential nutrients.
If you are on a vegetarian, vegan, macrobiotic, or other special diet, you may need additional medical advice to make sure you are getting all the nutrients your baby needs.
1 National Health Service (NHS) [Internet]. Burnley, UK: Department of Health; 2018. Should pregnant and breastfeeding women avoid some types of fish?; 2015 Jul 06 [cited 2018 Apr 12]; Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/should-pregnant-and-breastfeeding-women-avoid-some-types-of-fish.aspx - National Health Service (NHS) [Internet]. Burnley, UK: Department of Health; 2018. "Should a pregnant and lactating woman refrain from eating certain types of fish?"; July 6, 2015 [cited April 12, 2018]; See article on site https://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/should-pregnant-and-breastfeeding-women-avoid-some-types-of-fish.aspx
2 Oberhelman SS et al. Maternal vitamin D supplementation to improve the vitamin D status of breast-fed infants: a randomized controlled trial. Mayo Clin Proc. 2013;88(12):1378–1387. - Oberhelman S.S. et al., Introduction of Vitamin D to the Diet of Nursing Mothers to Increase Vitamin D in children: a randomized controlled trial. Mayo Klin Prok. 2013;88(12):1378–1387. : effects on the mother and the fetus. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2006;194(4):937-945. - Thomas M., Weisman S. M., "Calcium supplementation during pregnancy and lactation: effects on the mother and on the fetus". Am J Obstet Ginekol (American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology). 2006;194(4):937-945.
4 Pitt et al Reduced risk of peanut sensitization following exposure through breast-feeding and early peanut introduction. J Allergy Clinic Immunol. 2018;141(2):620-625. e 1 - Pitt et al., "Reducing the Risk of Peanut Allergy by Introducing Peanuts into the Breastfeeding Mother's Diet and as a Baby's First Food. " G Allergy Clean Immunol. 2018;141(2):620-625.e1
5 Dewey KG. Energy and protein requirements during lactation. Annu Rev Nutr. 1997 Jul;17(1):19-36. - Dewey K. J., "Energy and Protein Requirements During Lactation". Anna Rev Nutr . 1997 Jul;17(1):19-36.
6 Food Standards Agency (FSA) [Internet]. London, UK: Crown copyright 2002. Eating for breastfeeding; [cited 2018 Apr 13]; Available from: https://www.food.gov.uk - Food Standards Agency (FSA) [Internet]. London, UK: State Copyright 2002. "Eat to feed" [cited April 13, 2018]. See article on https://www.food.gov.uk
7 National Health Service (NHS) [Internet]. Burnley, UK: Department of Health; 2018. Breastfeeding and diet; 2016 Jan 29 [cited 2018 Apr 12]; Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/breastfeeding-diet - National Health Service (NHS) [Internet]. Burnley, UK: Department of Health 2018. Breastfeeding and Diet; 29 January 2016 [cited 12 April 2018] See article at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy -and-baby/breastfeeding-diet
8 Mennella JA et al. A. et al., Prenatal and postnatal recognition of odors in children. Pediatrix (Pediatrics). 2001;107(6):e88.
9 Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. ABM clinical protocol# 24: allergic proctocolitis in the exclusively breastfed infant. Breastfeed Med . 2011;6(6). - Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. "AVM Clinical Protocol #24: Allergic Proctocolitis in an Exclusively Breastfed Child". Brestfeed Med (Breastfeeding Medicine). 2011;6(6).
why a mother's diet should be balanced, what foods are not allowed, and which are possible with breastfeeding
Are there any dietary restrictions for a nursing mother? Are there really forbidden foods that can cause allergies in a child?
The maternity hospital gave you a diet to follow while breastfeeding. How strictly should it be followed? Do I need to increase portions and drink more fluids to get a lot of milk? I also heard that some products, such as lemons, can spoil the taste of milk, and the child will refuse to breastfeed altogether. This is true?
The diet of a nursing mother is an old myth that still lives in some Russian maternity hospitals and children's clinics.
The more varied the mother's diet during breastfeeding, the more health bonuses both she and her baby will receive. Most likely, with a balanced and varied diet, your weight will return to pre-pregnancy, but even if this has not happened yet, the breastfeeding period is not the best time to lose weight. You need to provide yourself and your baby with the proper level of nutrients, and this is difficult to do on rigid diets.
However, there are still foods that you should stay away from. I'll tell you more about everything.
What the science says about nutrition during breastfeeding
The diet of a nursing mother appeared at a time when knowledge about the nature of allergies was not enough. Not fully understanding the whole mechanism of its appearance, doctors, just in case, postponed acquaintance with potential allergens until later. It was believed that by the age of three, the child's immune system would mature and be able to withstand the encounter with the allergen.
What to do? 08/13/20
What should I do if I suspect I have an allergy?
In reality, everything turned out differently: the earlier the child got acquainted with the potential allergen, the lower was the risk that he would develop an allergy. In modern recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of food allergies in children, mothers are advised not to limit the diet, but to try to make it more varied.
Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in Children - KFAPDF, KB 361
This is the position of leading child health organizations: the best nutrition for a mother during breastfeeding is a balanced and varied diet.
Healthy Diet During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding - WHO European OfficePDF, KB 93
Breastfeeding Diet - US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
all five food groups:
- Vegetables and fruits.
- Complex carbohydrates: cereals, bread, potatoes.
- Protein sources.
- Dairy products.
- Fats and oils.
And you also need to maintain diversity in each group. For example, eat vegetables and fruits of different colors, use not only meat, but also fish, eggs and legumes with nuts from protein sources.
Breastfeeding Mom's Diet Advice - US Department of Health
And the ratio of animal to vegetable proteins should be approximately the same. Among complex carbohydrates, you should give preference to whole grains and also do not forget about diversity. It turns out that buckwheat and boiled turkey for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day is not a healthy diet option for mom.
Breastfeeding - European Community of Pediatrics, Gastroenterologists, Hepatologists and Nutritionists CommentaryHealth Canada Diet
If your diet is balanced and varied, do not take supplements or multivitamins, except for vitamin D. They are needed in rare cases when the diet of a nursing mother is poor or there are health problems. But the doctor should prescribe the composition and dosage of supplements during breastfeeding.
Your appetite will probably increase, this is normal. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that a breastfeeding mother may need up to 500 calories in excess of her usual calorie intake to ensure adequate milk supply. But those 500 calories should come from healthier food sources, not soda chips.
Vitamins: what foods contain and how to supplement
Why a balanced diet is important
Such a diet will help maintain the health of the mother and provide the necessary nutrients to the child. During breastfeeding, it is important to provide yourself with the proper amount of energy, protein, and some important micronutrients: iron, calcium, vitamin D, and folic acid.
These micronutrients may not be enough, because during pregnancy and the onset of breastfeeding, some of them are spent on the needs of the fetus, and then the baby. You can get these substances from dark green vegetables: spinach, broccoli, green beans, as well as dairy products, eggs, legumes, meat and fish.
How much does breastfeeding cost? . In addition, the child is more likely to follow the family's eating style as they grow older. The more varied and healthier your diet, the greater the chances of accustoming a child to it.
But unhealthy eating habits can lead to future weight gain and negatively affect food cravings. A study of 1,459 mother-baby pairs found that high body mass index and unhealthy eating habits were more common among children whose mothers followed the so-called Western style of eating, which is high in ultra-processed foods, high-calorie, sweet and fatty.
What not to be afraid of in the diet
Mothers often blame their diet on the baby's restless behavior or minor skin rashes.
The American Academy of Pediatrics states that only 2-3 out of 100 breastfeeding babies are allergic to any food in the mother's diet.
But by blaming everything on food, we mask the real problem or, conversely, overestimate the significance of some ordinary phenomena, such as newborn acne or prickly heat. If in doubt what kind of rash it is, talk to a competent pediatrician. If the pediatrician suspects a connection between a child’s poor health and food, he will ask you to keep a food diary - this way there will be a potential culprit.
How to help a newborn with colic
By eliminating this product for 1-2 weeks, you will either confirm the hypothesis or continue to look for another suspect. But you don’t need to immediately remove all the products: this can lead to an imbalance in nutrition, fatigue, nervousness and poor health.
If a pediatrician forbids eating certain foods without complaints about the child's well-being, this is a reason to look for a second opinion. Here are the foods that pediatricians often ban.
Cow's milk. In those children who have a reaction to their mother's food, most often it happens to cow's milk: the baby may experience abdominal discomfort, colic, skin rash.
But excluding cow's milk in advance, just in case, will not lead to the prevention of allergies in a child. On the contrary, a 2021 Swedish study found that babies whose mothers drink relatively more cow's milk during breastfeeding have a lower risk of developing food allergies than those whose mothers drink little or no milk. The same is true for other potential allergens: if they are excluded, this will not help to avoid allergies in the future, but, on the contrary, will increase the risk of its occurrence.
No need to remove potential allergens from the diet
There are foods that are potentially allergenic: milk, eggs, fish, peanuts, soy. To date, there is not enough scientific evidence to recommend that breastfeeding mothers restrict their diet. There are no differences in the prevalence of allergic diseases in the groups of nursing mothers who avoided milk, eggs and other allergens, and mothers who did not follow any diet.
Fish. Separately, it should be said about fish: it is an important part of a balanced diet for any person, especially a nursing mother. Eating fish affects the proper development of the brain and nervous system of the child and reduces the risks of obesity, asthma and allergies in him at an older age.
Mom's fish intake and baby's cognitive development - MDPIPDF, 523KB
Omega-3s and reducing the risk of allergies in the unborn baby - PLOS Medicine
Two servings a week are enough to keep mother and baby healthy. One serving is your palm without fingers.
Limit swordfish, marlin, bigeye tuna, king mackerel or shark. This is due to the high risk of exceeding the permissible level of mercury in their meat. Such types of fish are rarely found in Russia, but if you live in another country or order them specially from afar, then show moderation. It is better to give preference to other options: salmon, herring, saury, cod.
Foods that give mom gas. There is a myth that a mother and her baby have the same reaction to foods. In reality, gases from the gastrointestinal tract of the mother cannot enter the bloodstream and from there into breast milk, so the discomfort in the mother does not mean the obligatory colic in the baby.
However, when food is digested, certain proteins enter the bloodstream and can then pass into mother's milk. Some children may be sensitive to protein and react to it with increased gas production and nervousness. The reaction can be to any product, even to buckwheat or a green apple, and you can find out with the help of a food diary.
How food passes into breast milk - La Leche Liga
Garlic, spices, spices may change the taste of breast milk, but this does not mean that they should be eliminated. The breastfeeding support association La Leche Liga believes that regular consumption of these products will help the child get used to the family diet before introducing complementary foods. Babies begin to get used to these aromas even in the stomach, when they swallow amniotic fluid, so spices should not be ruled out during pregnancy.
What should be limited in the diet
The probability that a child will feel bad from some product in your diet is small, but still there. Therefore, some products should be consumed in limited quantities, and some should be completely excluded for the GV period.
Alcohol. The safest option is not to drink alcohol during breastfeeding. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes that sometimes you can drink a glass of wine, but in the next 2 hours after drinking, you should not feed your baby. Even without HB, there is no safe dose of alcohol, each glass is your personal choice and risk. And during breastfeeding, it is also a responsibility for the life and health of the baby.
Is it true that wine is good for the heart and helps you live longer?
Thermally processed products of animal origin. These are fish, meat and eggs. If you eat them raw, you can become infected with dangerous bacteria: listeria, salmonella, or botulinum bacteria. They are not transmitted through breast milk, but are not safe for the mother herself - you will probably have to take antibiotics, and this may affect the preservation of breastfeeding. That is, it's not about the products, but about the cooking method: if you want a steak, don't deny yourself, but ask for a well-dan. The same with sushi and lightly salted fish: take baked rolls or hot types of fish, and instead of poached eggs - normally boiled.
Coffee. The recommended amount of caffeine is up to 300 mg per day. How many mugs it is depends on the method of preparation. The baby may have a reaction to coffee, as well as to any product, but this is an infrequent occurrence.
How much caffeine is in a cup of drink
|Drink||Amount of caffeine, mg|
|Can of Coke, 330 ml||40|
Number of caffeine, mg
Coca-Cola Bank, 330 ml
What is the result
The diet of a breastfeeding mother is a myth.