What Foods To Avoid While Breastfeeding

What Foods To Avoid While Breastfeeding

Being pregnant comes with a lot of dos and don’ts. You probably received a list at your first OB/GYN visit of all of the foods you needed to avoid while pregnant. During the next nine months, you faithfully avoided wine, alcohol, sushi and blue cheese as your little one grew inside of you. Now that you’ve had your baby, you can relax a little bit on the list of strict dietary restrictions from when you were pregnant—but there are still some foods you should avoid while breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding moms pass what they eat onto their baby through their breast milk, so it’s important to be mindful of what you’re eating (and drinking). Taking precautions and keeping these foods and drinks to avoid while breastfeeding in mind will keep your little one growing happy and healthy!

Foods and Drinks to Avoid While Breastfeeding




If your only request for a push present is a platter of sushi, we’ve got good news for you: as long as the sushi comes from a high-quality restaurant, sushi and raw fish are generally considered safe for breastfeeding moms. Fish are a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids and can help replenish your body. Some fish that are high in mercury, such as swordfish and marlin, should be eaten no more than twice a week to prevent too much mercury from making its way to your baby.

Highly-Processed Foods

Sometimes nothing satisfies a craving like potato chips or a brownie, but try to keep these as an occasional treat. Highly-processed foods don’t offer much nutrition for you, and some studies have found that eating too many during breastfeeding can alter your little one’s food preferences when they are older. This may lead to obesity later on in their life—another reason it’s high on the list of foods to avoid while breastfeeding.

Red and green peppers

Spicy Foods

Moms all over the world enjoy spicy foods and most babies tolerate them well, so they aren’t completely off-limits. Keep in mind that spicy foods can cause colic, gas and diarrhea in your baby, however, so introduce them slowly and see how eating these may affect your little one. If they are uncomfortable, skip the spicy takeout and opt for something milder.

Chocolate bar


Chocolate has a small amount of caffeine that can sometimes alter your little one’s sleep schedule. It also has a laxative effect on some babies. So indulging in chocolate as an occasional treat is A-OK—just watch your little one’s reaction afterward.

Broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts

Cruciferous Vegetables and Beans

Broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, brussels sprouts, arugula, cabbage and beans are super-foods that are full of vitamins, nutrients and fiber. Unfortunately, if these foods cause gas in you, they will likely cause gas in your baby. A small amount of burping, gas and spitting up is normal in babies, but if your little one seems miserable after you eat these foods, skip them or limit how much you eat. If it continues, you may want to consider supplementing for formula.

Cloves of garlic


Studies have found that breast milk takes on the flavors of the foods you eat. This can expose your infant to a wide range of flavors that can help them be less picky eaters later in life. Unfortunately, garlic is a taste that many babies don’t like. Stick to minimal amounts to prevent your baby from refusing to nurse.

Peppermint, sage and parsley

Peppermint, Sage and Parsley

These delicious herbs can take your meals to the next level, but if you eat too many of them, your milk supply may decrease. Eat small amounts of the peppermint, sage and parsley while continuing to enjoy your favorite foods.

Glasses of beer and wine

Alcohol, Beer and Wine

After nine months of no wine or beer, you are probably more than ready to have a drink. Alcohol does pass into breast milk, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have the occasional cocktail. It does mean, however, that you should plan ahead of time. After drinking, it’s important to assess how you are feeling. If you are tipsy or drunk, you shouldn’t breastfeed.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says ‘pumping and dumping’ when drinking isn’t necessary; once the alcohol is out of your blood, it is out of your milk as well. It is generally safe to breastfeed after having one glass of wine or one beer; if you want to have more than this, make a plan. Drink soon after breastfeeding and allow your body time to metabolize the alcohol before nursing again. It typically takes about one hour to metabolize one drink.

Barista serving coffee

Coffee and Tea

After nursing your little one throughout the night, many moms look forward to their morning coffee to keep them alert for the day. Don’t worry, your morning cup of joe is allowed, but the caffeine can make its way to your baby. This can throw off their nap schedule, which may also throw off your nap schedule. Try to drink caffeinated coffee or tea soon after nursing to allow some of it to metabolize before your next feeding session or try opting for a decaf option instead.

Medicine to avoid while breastfeeding

Medicines to Avoid or Talk to Your Doctor About

It’s not just certain foods you should avoid while breastfeeding, there are some medications you should avoid, too. Many medications are considered safe to use while you are nursing. This is because most medicines pass in very small amounts to your baby and have little-to-no side effects on him or her. When it comes to treating a chronic condition, the benefits of you staying healthy and taking the medication generally outweigh the minute risks of your little one getting some through your milk. Always talk with your doctor about your medications and ask what is safe to take during breastfeeding. Some medicines to absolutely avoid include:

  • Cancer drugs
  • Ergots
  • Beta blockers
  • Certain seizure and epilepsy drugs
  • Pseudoephedrine (may reduce milk supply)
  • Full-strength aspirin (low dose is considered safe)
  • Extra strength pain relievers as these can stay in your body for a longer period of time

How to Know if the Foods You Eat While Breastfeeding are Affecting Your Baby

Though breastfeeding moms can typically eat whatever they like, some babies have food sensitivities or intolerances. If you eat foods that your little one is sensitive to, a small amount can make its way to him or her in your breast milk and affect them. Some symptoms that may indicate that your baby has a food sensitivity or intolerance include:Fussy baby

  • Excessive fussiness
  • crying inconsolably for long periods of time
  • Hives or a raised, itchy rash
  • Difficulty with sleeping
  • Colic
  • Dry skin
  • Diaper rash
  • Red, itchy eyes
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Spitting up frequently
  • Green stools with blood or mucus

If you notice any of these symptoms, talk to your child’s pediatrician. He or she may find another reason that these symptoms are occurring. If you suspect it may be a food intolerance or sensitivity, you could try an elimination diet.

Breastfeeding Elimination Diet

During an elimination diet, you avoid the food that you believe is triggering the problems in your baby. Don’t eat this food at all for two to three weeks. It’s important to check the labels of purchased foods to ensure it isn’t listed as an ingredient. If your baby’s symptoms clear up during these few weeks, then you know that food is causing the symptoms. If they don’t, try another food. Some of the most common foods to avoid while breastfeeding that upset babies include:

  • Cows’ milk and other dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts
  • Fish/seafood
  • Whole wheat
  • Corn

Introducing Foods Back into Your Diet

If you tried an elimination diet and discovered a food that is causing a reaction in your baby, it is best to completely avoid this food for several months. As your little one’s immune and digestive systems strengthen and grow, he or she may be able to handle these foods again. After three months you can try eating the trigger food. Begin eating it in small amounts. If your baby seems to be okay, he or she might have outgrown the sensitivity. If the symptoms return, you will need to avoid eating the food until you are done breastfeeding.

Once you start introducing solids to your baby make sure that you avoid feeding him or her any foods with ingredients that are trigger foods. Being directly fed these foods will likely cause stronger reactions than they had when breastfeeding.

Replenishing Your Body with Nutrients

Foods to avoid while breastfeeding

When you were pregnant, your body nourished your growing baby with the food and drinks that you ingested. Breastfeeding works a little differently. Your milk is produced in your mammary glands using your body’s extra reserves of nutrients and calories. While a specific diet isn’t required for your body to make milk, it does need enough calories to do so.

If you aren’t consuming enough calories or are eating a less-than-healthful diet, your body will use the calories and nutrients to make your breast milk first. This leaves your body to rely on whatever may be leftover. Without enough nutrition and calories, you may leave your body depleted of the necessary nutrients for your own health. As a mom, you make a lot of sacrifices for your baby, but your own health shouldn’t be one of them. Eat a nutritious diet that has a healthy balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat and nutrients to keep yourself healthy.

Let Us Help You Reach Your Breastfeeding Goals

Many moms begin their breastfeeding journey with a goal in mind. This may be to breastfeed for as long as your little one wants or for the first six months of his or her life. Whatever your goals, we want to help. Use our simple three-step form to instantly see if you qualify for a free insurance-provided breast pump now.

The Truth About Alcohol and Breastfeeding

The Truth About Alcohol and Breastfeeding

Through three long trimesters, a plethora of pre-natal appointments and bellies that swelled bigger each week, we did everything in our power to have a healthy pregnancy. Now our bundle of joy is here, and we’re focused on keeping our little one thriving with a steady supply of breast milk. Everyone knows that breast is best, and we’re happily giving our new addition their tailor-made supply of nutrition straight from our bodies. However, there’s one issue that breastfeeding mothers don’t always agree on, and that’s alcohol. Is the occasional glass of wine after baby’s in bed okay, or should we forget about imbibing until our little guy is weaned? If we do indulge, do we need to “pump-and-dump,” or can our little one take their midnight meal as usual? Read on to find out everything there is to know concerning alcohol and breastfeeding.

Pour the Myth of Pump-and-Dump Down the Drain

Considering how many times the term has been on the lips of our fellow moms, it’s amazing how little credibility there is to the idea of pumping and dumping. As this article from Romper explains, because alcohol leaves the body without a mother doing anything at all, the action of pumping breast milk and pouring it down the sink will do nothing but waste time and energy. Any remaining breast milk in the body will still contain a percentage of that glass of wine or bottle of beer, so turn away from the gossip and focus on the facts. Instead of condemning ourselves to sore nipples and spilled milk, we nursing mothers can gladly enjoy a drink or two as long as we indulge responsibly and make sure to properly wait before feeding our baby. The CDC offers a great guide on how long to wait depending on the amount of alcohol you’ve consumed, and further clarifies the ineffectiveness of the pump and dump method.  

The Smart Way to Drink

Drink responsibly. It’s another phrase we’ve heard a hundred times, but this one carries a lot more clout. Along with avoiding the entire pump-and-dump process, breastfeeding mothers can consume alcohol without feeling an ounce of guilt. It’s perfectly fine to have that glass of wine during girls’ night or to grab a beer when watching a movie with the hubby. As this article by KellyMom states, less than 2 percent of the alcohol we drink actually reaches our breast milk, and research has shown that an occasional one or two drinks is not harmful to a nursing baby.

How Much is Too Much?

However, just because our little ones won’t be slurring their words or feeling a buzz doesn’t mean we should let down our guard. Consuming any amount of alcohol can make an adult less coordinated, and we all know that walking through the obstacle course of a child’s toy-filled room is hard enough when we’re completely sober. For this reason, it’s best to have our special drink after all children are snoozing away peacefully. With everyone asleep, there’s no need to worry about searching the house for a lost teddy bear or favorite book, and we can simply relax and have a moment to ourselves. Furthermore, younger babies who are still prone to middle-of-the-night wake-ups will have time to snooze for a couple of hours, precisely the amount of time needed for our milk supply to be alcohol-free and ready for their midnight snack. For a definitive guideline on how much is too much, go by the rule this article from MamaNatural suggests, and don’t nurse if you wouldn’t drive a car.

Happy Moms Equal Happy Babies

We know there’s nothing more important than keeping our little ones happy and healthy, and we also know that breastfeeding is an integral part of that equation. However, a stressed-out mom inevitably leads to a temper tantrum, and not just from the baby! Sometimes we nursing moms need a moment to ourselves, and research has proven that moment can safely come in the form of an occasional drink. Without the aggravating myth of pump-and-dump around to concern us, we can be confident that imbibing every once in a while is perfectly safe. In fact, tonight seems perfect to try out a glass of that new bottle of wine!

Are High-Suction Breast Pumps Always Better?

The suction strength of your breast pump is an important factor when deciding which pump is for you! You might be thinking, “The more suction, the better!” However, there are many factors to consider when determining which pump will be the most safe, comfortable and efficient.

Fact or Fiction

It’s a common misconception that the higher the suction, the more efficient the pump. Ideally, a breast pump will express the most breast milk possible while remaining safe and comfortable while pumping.

Companies who market “hospital-grade” suction or “extremely high pump vacuum strength” do not highlight that excessive suction can actually cause more harm than good. Studies have shown that too much suction can actually cause breast tissue damage.

A better criterion for choosing your breast pump is efficiency. An efficient breast pump will have the proper combination of comfort, suction strength and cycling speed to closely mimic the way your infant nurses.

Suction v. Speed

The vacuum pressure, or suction, is typically measured in units of milligrams of mercury, abbreviated mmHg. It can also be measured in units of kilopascals, or kPa for short. Most breast pumps have a range of suction, measuring from the gentlest suction to the strongest suction setting.

The speed that the vacuum is applied to a breastfeeding mother’s nipple, is often referred to in units of cycles per minute, abbreviated cpm. Or in other words, the cpm is a unit which measures how quickly the pump sucks over a given time period (one minute).

Flange Fit

If the breast flange is too small, the nipple cannot move freely in the nipple tunnel the way the breast pump was designed, lessening the efficiency of milk expression. A too-small flange can also cause pain as the nipple rubs against the side of the breast flange. If the flange is too large, the nipple and areola get sucked into the flange causing pain and lessening the likelihood of pumping until your breast is emptied.

Efficiency is Key

The most efficient breast pumps are pumps which mimic the natural way that your infant nurses. An infant’s typical nursing pattern is an initial quick and shallow sucking pattern to stimulate the letdown of breast milk, followed by a slower, deeper sucking pattern to express milk once letdown occurs. The breast pump which can successfully mimic your infant’s sucking patterns in both speed and suction, will be the most efficient breast pump for expressing your breast milk.

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