Which foods are forbidden while breastfeeding and which are not?
When we have just given birth and decide to feed our baby with our own milk, we have a million questions in our heads:
Does what I eat affect my milk?
Are there any forbidden foods?
Will I be able to feed my baby better if I follow a certain diet?
The truth is that there are plenty of rumors and myths related to this topic. This is why we’ve decided to gather all of the information you’ll need to know and show if there are truly forbidden foods while breastfeeding and what kind of diet is best during this time.
Forbidden foods while breastfeeding, are they real?
Before talking about forbidden foods while breastfeeding, we would like to mention that AEP (Spanish Pediatrics Association) states that there are no forbidden foods and recommends a healthy and varied diet. Furthermore, it recommends consulting with a doctor or pediatrician in the event of an allergic reaction.
Baby rashes, colic, or constipation can all be symptoms of an allergy or food intolerance. As a result, we must consult with a health professional to determine what foods we are consuming that may be affecting the child.
Keeping in mind that there are no strictly forbidden foods, we have compiled a list of foods that you should avoid or limit in order to contribute to your baby’s proper development.
Drinks like coffee or tea are considered by some people forbidden foods while breastfeeding due to the caffeine they contain.
Caffeine stimulates our nervous system, causing us to be more alert and active.
When it comes to babies, this substance causes difficulty sleeping and irritability, which can interfere with their rest and, as a result, their proper growth and development.
Caffeine, on the other hand, is not only found in beverages; it can also be found in some foods, such as chocolate. It is best to limit your intake and avoid consuming it on a daily basis. However, if you want to eat some, do so in small amounts, such as one or two ounces.
2. Alcoholic drinks
There is no doubt that alcohol has a harmful effect on babies and children and it may even result in serious developmental problems in the future. As a result, of all the forbidden foods while breastfeeding, this is the one that should be avoided the most.
Because it is a liquid, it quickly enters our bloodstream and, as a result, your milk, which can affect the baby’s feedings.
Furthermore, babies’ ability to eliminate this substance is not the same as adults’; it is much slower and can affect them for a longer period.
Therefore, if we decide to drink alcohol, we must be aware of the consequences.
It is best to avoid it completely, but if that is not possible, it is best to express your own milk for one or two feedings. The time it takes for the alcohol to be eliminated depends on the amount you take.
Eating fish is a healthy habit that we should develop at any age. However, there are some that should be avoided or consumed in moderation. Swordfish is one of them.
The main reason we should limit our intake is because it contains a high amount of mercury.
It’s also a good idea to avoid eating any kind of raw fish. And, while it has no direct effect on the baby, it can cause intestinal discomfort, diarrhea, or vomiting in the mother, which can affect milk production.
On the other hand, there are some myths and popular beliefs about breastfeeding and the meals that a mother can and cannot eat that you should be aware of.
Myths and forbidden foods while breastfeeding that are not true
It is commonly stated that foods with strong flavors, such as garlic or pickles, should be avoided because they alter the taste of milk, causing infant rejection.
And, while some flavors can pass into breast milk, they have no effect on the baby. According to the AEP, “these taste changes in breast milk help the baby become familiar with various flavors, making it easier for him to accept complementary feeding”.
Following in the footsteps of some other myths, it is completely false that alcohol aids in the production of breast milk.
As we have already seen, alcohol has a negative impact on infants and nursing children, so it should be avoided.
Finally, eating more or drinking more milk will not increase your milk production. The baby’s own sucking on demand has been shown to stimulate food production.
Dietary Guidelines for Breastfeeding
Now that you’ve learned more about forbidden foods. Here are some AEP recommendations for foods and diets that help mothers by providing the nutrients they and their babies require.
A correct diet is based on:
- Eating fruits and vegetables every day.
- Intaking fish two or three times a week.
- Choosing lean meats.
- Taking dairy every day: yogurt, cheese, milk …
- Moderating the use of salt.
- Drinking 2 liters of water a day.
Furthermore, a proper diet will not only benefit you during the breastfeeding period, but it will also benefit your child in the future because you are instilling healthy eating values in your child.
What we eat determines who we are
When it comes to breastfeeding, the phrase “We are what we eat” is especially appropriate because, as we’ve seen, the food you eat passes directly into your milk and, with it, to your baby.
While we can always follow certain recommendations regarding forbidden foods while breastfeeding, we must also use common sense. If there are foods or drinks that make us feel bad or have negative effects on our bodies, we should avoid or limit our consumption of them.
When in doubt, however, the best thing you can do is consult your doctor and follow his advice.
Hopefully, this article was helpful to you and cleared up any confusion.
See you in the next post,