Congratulations to all the new parents out there and welcome to the world, little one! Besides getting excited to become new parents, breastfeeding is always the first thing in your mind after child birth – your baby food! Being the first time mother, learning about breastfeeding is no. 1 priority but what foods to avoid while breastfeeding is also important as whatever you feed yourself will go directly to your baby.
After watching what you’ve been eating during pregnancy, giving birth does not mean you have to stop watching out for what you eat. Breastmilk is still the best food for your baby, so you need to be careful with what foods to avoid while breastfeeding.
What foods to avoid while breastfeeding
No.1 – Alcohol
An occasional drink is okay, as long as you know the amount and when you drink it. According to the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners, alcohol can expel cold and promote blood circulation especially women after childbirth, they lost a lot of “QI” and blood. During confinement, we use to eat foods that cooked in wine but make sure all the alcohol is expelled before you consume.
Alcohol can stay in your system for up to three hours. To be on the safe side, it is better to wait for two hours until you are sober and the alcohol out of your system before you start to breastfeed again. Studies have shown a connection between consumption of high levels of alcohol can affect your breastmilk supply (lead to low supply). According to CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention), consume high amount of alcohol will affect baby’s growth, development and sleep pattern and it can be damaging.
No. 2 – Caffeine
Give up taking caffeine if possible or limiting your doses of caffeine to not more than three cups. As studies have shown that caffeine appears in the breast milk rapidly after ingestion. So the lesser caffeine, the better.
Baby’s poor sleeping pattern and fussiness have been reported due to high consumption of caffeine. Some study also shows that caffeine can affect iron concentration in the breast milk and lead to mild iron deficiency anemia in certain breastfed baby.
No. 3 – Fish
An exposure to high levels of mercury which existed in certain large ocean fish can affect your infant’s central nervous system. Impairments in cognitive, speech, and language development are some of the results, so watch out for marlin, shark, tilefish, bigeye tuna, king mackerel, and swordfish.
Fish is still an excellent protein source, so go for safer choices like sardine, Herring, catfish, anchovies and salmon. Eat variety of these fish contain good quality omega 3 fatty acids such as DHA and EPA and other essential vitamins such as Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, selenium, zinc and iodine. Your baby will also get all the nutrients from your breast milk.
No.4 – Highly-Processed Food
We have to continue making healthy choices, especially when our children’s health is at stake. Women require 450 – 500 additional calories when breastfeeding per day. While that donut can help you reach the quota, going for a good range of fruits and vegetables can give your baby more nutrients. Avoid empty-calorie foods that are high in sugar and unhealthy fats. Yes, they taste good, but they don’t provide you with protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber to promote good health.
We all have our cravings, so you don’t need to deprive yourself! Just as long as you don’t overindulge, you’ll be in good hands.
No. 5 – Chocolate
Similar to caffeine, chocolate contain a stimulant called theobromine. Low intake will not cause any harm to the infant but large amount of chocolate will affect the baby. Studies showed that nursing mothers who consume large amount of cocoa drink will result in baby inconsolable crying, excessive sucking and poor sleep pattern. If you want to have a happy and healthy baby limit your intake of chocolate or any cocoa drink while breastfeeding.
What to Eat While Breastfeeding Instead?
Vitamin D. This is one of the essential nutrients, which you can get from sunshine, liver, egg yolks, and red meat. This vitamin will help you absorb the much-needed calcium to ensure healthy bones for both of you and your baby. Also, it helps avoid osteoporosis, colon and breast cancer, hypertension, and diabetes.
If you have issues with a low breastmilk supply, then chances are you are low on Vitamin D. To increase your milk level, consider taking Maternal vitamin D supplementation with 6400 IU/day.
Herbs. Some herbs such as fenugreek, blessed thistle, stinging nettle, alfalfa, ginger and garlic are galactagogues, can increase milk supply. Watch out for herbs such as oregano, parsley, black walnut, spearmint, peppermint, and sage. These herbs will reduce your breast milk supply but taking them if you are oversupply moms or you are about to wean off your little one.
Related post ” Supplements to increase breast milk“, “How to increase milk supply for breastfeeding“
More Water. Do you know that breastmilk is 90% water? Whenever you breastfeed, you may feel thirsty so keep a bottle of water, milk, or unsweetened fruit juice beside you. It’s essential to stay hydrated, so continue to aim for six to eight glasses a day.
The Diet Formula for Breastfeeding
If you are still wondering what to include in your daily meal, here’s a guide for you:
No. 1 Protein: Include meat, eggs, fish, poultry, and dairy at least 2 – 3 times a day to supply you with the right amount of protein.
No. 2 Vegetables: At least three servings a day with choices of yellow and dark green vegetables.
No. 3 Fruit: At least two servings a day.
You don’t need to eat anything special to breastfeed. You also don’t need to drink milk to make milk eat either. Some cultures do not drink milk, yet they succeed in producing breastmilk for their children.
Simply make sure you’re getting the best nutrition in whatever you eat, because what you eat will end up in your child’s stomach and will affect their health and development. To be on the safe side, we recommend printing this list of foods to avoid while breastfeeding and post it on your fridge where you can easily see them.
Happy Meal Planning!
Share what foods to avoid while breastfeeding you have experienced, that it will have some effect on your breastfed baby. We love to hear from you.