While breastfeeding, your baby’s main source of nutrition comes directly from you. They are exposed to all the foods that you eat via your breastmilk. This can be concerning for moms.
As a nursing mother, you may wonder if you need to alter your diet. Are there foods to avoid while breastfeeding? What about allergens like soy?
You may be relieved to learn that nutrition should be the top priority and there is no definitive list of what not to eat while breastfeeding. In general, moderation is key. Some mothers may find that their children respond adversely to foods, at which point they can make changes. However, it is best to eat a varied and well-rounded diet and not hastily cut out foods just because you are nursing.
- 12 Foods To Avoid While Breastfeeding
- #1 Too Much Alcohol Is Harmful to Baby’s Health and Your Supply
- #2 Too Much Caffeine Can Cause Fussiness
- #3 Fish High In Mercury May Affect Baby’s Nervous System
- #4 Dairy May Lead to Gas
- #5 Garlic Could Cause Aversion Due To Flavor
- #6 The Acid In Citrus Could Upset Your Baby
- #7 Gluten Can Cause Gas For Babies with An Allergy
- #8 Spicy Food May Result In Colic
- #9 Parsley, Peppermint, and Sage May Decrease Supply
- #10 Egg Protein Might Lead To Digestive Trouble
- #11 Peanuts and Nuts Could Trigger Allergies
- #12 Gassy Veggies Could Lead To Colic Issues
- Moderation Not Avoidance
12 Foods To Avoid While Breastfeeding
Few foods fall into the category of foods to avoid when breastfeeding. Most should just be limited or consumed in moderation. Working with your child’s pediatrician is key if you think your child is being negatively impacted by your diet while breastfeeding.
#1 Too Much Alcohol Is Harmful to Baby’s Health and Your Supply
Alcohol is usually first on the list of what foods to avoid when breastfeeding. Though you don’t need to completely abstain, definitely limit your consumption. Alcohol does pass through breast milk and can have negative health impacts for your child, especially if you drink too much or nurse too close to drinking. Alcohol may also decrease your breastmilk supply.
#2 Too Much Caffeine Can Cause Fussiness
Many moms wonder if they can have their precious cup of coffee while breastfeeding. They are concerned about how caffeine and breastfeeding could affect their child. Foods with caffeine like coffee, tea, and chocolate don’t need to be considered breastfeeding food restrictions, but it is helpful to limit them. Caffeine can have an effect on your child’s system, and too much may lead to fussiness, irritability, and poor sleep.
#3 Fish High In Mercury May Affect Baby’s Nervous System
While we think that most things are okay in moderation, high mercury fish is certainly one of the foods to stay away from while breastfeeding. It is best just to avoid fish like big-eye tuna, marlin, or king mackerel because too much mercury can have permanent negative effects on your baby’s nervous system.  Other seafood while breastfeeding is generally safe, as long as it is prepared properly.
#4 Dairy May Lead to Gas
Dairy has long gotten a bad rap and commonly was included in what not to eat when nursing. But recently, it has been found that moms don’t need to avoid dairy until a digestive intolerance is discovered. Not all children have an allergy to cow’s milk. If you notice your baby has congestion, vomiting, rash, or fussiness after consuming dairy and nursing, consult your pediatrician as dairy may be the culprit.
#5 Garlic Could Cause Aversion Due To Flavor
Did you know your baby may be able to taste the foods you eat in your breastmilk? It’s pretty cool! Unless your child has an aversion to strong flavors like garlic when breastfeeding. But don’t file garlic under things not to eat when breastfeeding just yet. You may simply need to cut back on how much you consume. Experts believe that introducing babies to flavors via breast milk may actually be beneficial, and in some cases, garlic has been found to increase milk supply.
#6 The Acid In Citrus Could Upset Your Baby
Is citrus one of the foods that affect breast milk? It depends. Some children experience an upset stomach from the acid in citrus fruits. Thankfully, this isn’t very common. Because citrus can be considered one of the best breastfeeding foods due to its high Vitamin C content that supports both the mother and baby’s immune systems.
#7 Gluten Can Cause Gas For Babies with An Allergy
If you think your child has an allergy, gluten can positively be on your doctor’s list of foods to avoid while breastfeeding. This is because, for those with an intolerance, gluten can cause gassiness, constipation, fussiness, and digestive upset. However, it’s important to work with your little one’s doctor and monitor symptoms before you cut out gluten. Many children don’t have an allergy and the nursing mother can safely consume gluten products.
#8 Spicy Food May Result In Colic
“Does spicy food affect breast milk?” is a common burning question (pun intended!). The good news is that if you’re a flavor aficionado, spicy food while breastfeeding is usually okay. Exposing your child to flavor profiles while nursing can be great. However, if you didn’t regularly enjoy spicy foods while pregnant or don’t usually eat them now, a random meal with a lot of spice could irritate your little one. Be sure to watch for symptoms and talk with your doctor if necessary.
#9 Parsley, Peppermint, and Sage May Decrease Supply
While being full of flavor, these herbs are known as anti-galactagogues which means they can decrease milk supply. Some moms avoid them all together just to be safe and protect their supply. Other moms choose to enjoy them in small quantities. Thankfully, there are no known negative effects of these herbs on infants who received average quantities via breastmilk.
#10 Egg Protein Might Lead To Digestive Trouble
If your child has an allergy to proteins found in foods, like eggs, then consuming an omelet could result in digestive upset. This could include diarrhea, bloody stool, vomiting, eczema, and colic. Usually, foods with protein, like eggs, are one of the best things to eat while breastfeeding because they provide valuable energy and nutrients. Unfortunately, though, mothers of baby’s with an intolerance will need to avoid them if they’re breastfeeding.
#11 Peanuts and Nuts Could Trigger Allergies
The safety of tree nuts and peanuts while pregnant and breastfeeding has long been debated. If your child has an allergy to nuts or tree nuts, definitely avoid them while breastfeeding. But if not, feel free to enjoy nut products! Research has shown that early exposure to allergens, like nuts, may actually decrease your baby’s risk of developing food allergies. 
#12 Gassy Veggies Could Lead To Colic Issues
Are you looking for what foods to avoid when breastfeeding a gassy baby? Well, some veggies do produce more gas than others. Asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, green peppers, kale, and more can lead to gas. But remember, babies’ immature digestive systems cause them to regularly burp, pass gas, and be a bit bloated. Gassy vegetables aren’t always to blame. If your child is having unusual colic symptoms, check with their pediatrician. They may have you avoid gassy vegetables for a couple of weeks to see if the symptoms go away.
Moderation Not Avoidance
Don’t fret over what to eat while breastfeeding and what to avoid. Experts have recently discovered that most nursing moms can enjoy almost everything in moderation. It is key to talk to your child’s pediatrician if you believe your little one is reacting negatively to your diet due to symptoms like crying, gas, vomiting, etc.
Then, you can work together to discover which foods you need to avoid. Hopefully, you have found this list helpful! Do you have anything to add? What didn’t work for you? Let us know by sharing your thoughts at @babyjourney0183 on Pinterest.