From the moment we find out that we are pregnant, women are restricted from so many things that we have to avoid. Whether it’s laying on your back or the endless amount of things we cannot eat, it can be frustrating! But once you give birth, that doesn’t mean that you can simply go back to your old diet – especially if you’re breastfeeding. There are a number of foods to avoid while breastfeeding, and we’ll let you know why.
Although you haven’t been able to enjoy sushi for over 9 months, you should still plan on keeping fish on your foods to avoid while breastfeeding list. The Omega 3- fatty acids and DHA fish contains is very important to your child’s development, in fact, it can transfer through breastmilk! But so can mercury. The CDC says “Exposure to mercury can affect the infant’s brain and nervous system development during pregnancy and after birth.”
If you have been waiting your entire pregnancy to eat fish, you can still eat it in moderation. Limiting your consumption of fish to 2-3 servings per week and knocking out fish that are high in mercury (like king mackerel and tuna), will make a huge difference in the exposure your baby will have to mercury. In fact, eating fish like salmon is beneficial for your child’s development!
Herbs like Peppermint, Spearmint, Sage, and Parsley
You’ve likely never heard of any negative effects that these herbs could have on your child. While these herbs are not dangerous to your child’s health, they are definitely one of the foods to avoid while breastfeeding as they can affect your milk supply. The occasional mint or cup of peppermint tea won’t do much to your supply, but having them on a daily basis can cause a significant drop. If you’re looking for a tea in replacement for peppermint, look for ones that contain fennel and fenugreek as they are known to increase your milk supply. Just make sure to check the caffeine levels.
Read More: 8 Effective Teas for Lactation
On that note, you’ll want to continue to avoid caffeine while breastfeeding. Caffeine is one of the most important foods to avoid when breastfeeding, as it has a number of effects on your little one. While it’s okay to have a cup or two of coffee, Healthline tells us “Consuming up to 300 mg of caffeine per day while breastfeeding appears to be safe for mothers and infants. Excess intake may lead to infant sleeping issues and restlessness, anxiety, dizziness, and rapid heartbeat in moms.”
We all know how exhausting it is to have a little one, especially in the first few weeks. But nothing is worse than having a cranky little one who is not sleeping. It’s best to avoid caffeine while breastfeeding and look forward to the day when they’re on a good sleep routine and you can have multiple cups to keep you going. And if you really need that little pick me up, try switching to decaf!
Read More: How to manage your caffeine intake
Beans, Brussels Sprouts, and Broccoli
Eating vegetables is absolutely one of the best things that you can do for both your body and your baby’s development. But when it comes to foods to avoid when breastfeeding, all “gassy” foods should be eliminated. Beans, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and even cherries can cause issues in your little one’s tummy. It’s so painful to watch your little one wrenching around due to a stomach ache that you can’t help with.
Avoiding these vegetables may be hard if you’re a vegetarian, as they provide a lot of nutrients that you need. This doesn’t mean that you should quit and start eating meat. Talk to your doctor about supplements like Vitamin B-12 and Vitamin D that can help aid while you’re avoiding these foods.
It’s time to put the candy bar down and add chocolate to your list of foods to avoid while breastfeeding. If you didn’t know, chocolate contains caffeine, and caffeine while breastfeeding should be avoided. Consuming too much chocolate can cause irritation in your baby’s sleep, much like coffee. But caffeine while breastfeeding is not the only thing you should worry about when it comes to eating chocolate.
Sugar is not only high in most chocolates, but it can also be passed through breastmilk. USC News reported that “Exposing infants and children to higher amounts of sugar during growth and development can produce problems with cognitive development and learning as well as create lifelong risk for obesity, diabetes, fatty liver disease, and heart disease”.
It may seem impossible for chocolate to be one of the foods to avoid when breastfeeding, so if you do find yourself craving it then try opting for a sugar-free option!
Drinking alcohol should not only be avoided when pregnant, but it should also be avoided when you’re breastfeeding. No amount of alcohol in breastmilk is considered safe, so it should be number one on your foods to avoid when breastfeeding. Mayoclinic informs us that “Research suggests that breast-fed babies who are exposed to one drink a day might have impaired motor development and that alcohol can cause changes in sleep patterns.”
With so many activities and foods to avoid when breastfeeding, having a drink may possibly be the thing that you look forward to the most. If you do plan on having a drink, make sure to have a milk supply built up and a bottle ready in case your little one gets hungry. “Pumping and dumping” also does not clear out your milk of all alcohol, so instead make sure to invest in alcohol strips to test your milk before you feed your baby.
Foods that you can eat!
By now you’re thinking, “Well, what can I eat?!”. I know you’re feeling limited, but before you freak out there are tons of delicious things that you don’t have to avoid while breastfeeding. In fact, there are a ton of foods that are encouraged!
You’re going to need a ton of calories and extra fats when you’re breastfeeding. Avocados are packed full of healthy fats that will encourage your breastmilk supply to grow. You can simply throw it on some toast to start your day or create a vegetarian sushi roll to replace the fish you’re missing out on! Either way, avocados are an incredible addition to your diet while breastfeeding.
While gassy vegetables are definitely foods to avoid while breastfeeding, there are so many other options for you! Sweet potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, and leafy greens can be used in so many dishes that you won’t even remember that you miss broccoli. In fact, carrots are known to promote milk production, plus they soak up almost any flavor! So make sure you try to throw them in every recipe you have!
You heard me right, cookies! You may have chocolate on your list of foods to avoid while breastfeeding, but making your own lactation cookies can curve that craving. There are entire Pinterest boards dedicated to endless recipes for lactation cookies, but most are packed full of things to promote breast milk production like brewer’s yeast, flaxseed, and oatmeal! Make sure to stockpile your lactation cookies for when your sweet tooth kicks in.
Breastfeeding is not an easy task, and with so many foods to avoid while breastfeeding the process may feel even more draining. The best thing you can do through your breastfeeding journey is to reassure yourself that you are continuing to give your little bundle of joy life. Avoiding these foods will help encourage your baby’s growth and ensure that they are happy and healthy from the get-go!
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