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7 Foods to Avoid when Breastfeeding

The food that you consume while breastfeeding directly impacts the health of your baby.
A variety of peppers on a table.

A breastfeeding woman will need to learn which foods upset her baby; particularly if she has a family history of serious allergies to a particular food.

While babies do enjoy having a varied taste or flavor from their breast milk (eating different kinds of food contributes to this), there are, however, certain food types that may be harsh for your baby. These may even cause reactions in the baby. Thus it is important to identify these foods and eliminate them from a nursing mother's diet.

The following are some food that you may need to avoid when breastfeeding.

1. Spicy Foods

Foods that are spicy (e.g. red pepper, chili, curry, onions, and cinnamon) may be harsh on the baby's digestive system. It can result to the baby having diarrhea, an upset stomach, and sometimes, even vomiting. Some babies may suffer from severe abdominal pain as well.

2. Chocolates

Most women love to eat chocolates. Unfortunately, a breastfeeding mother should know that this food may make the baby gassy and may thus need to be avoided. If you are really craving for chocolates, try not to consume too much. Also, try to opt for white chocolates as they are not as hard to handle for the baby's small bodies as dark ones. Other sweets are actually okay. However, take them in moderation for your own health as well.

Additionally, chocolate contains caffeine which will be passed on to your nursing baby.

3. Caffeine

Just as it can cause sleepless nights to adults, caffeine taken by breastfeeding mothers in the form of coffee or soda may also result in the baby's sleep disturbance. If this can't be avoided, limit your caffeine intake to up to two cups a day.

4. Citrus Fruits and Certain Vegetables

Although it is important for nursing mothers to eat a lot of fresh fruits every day, certain types may irritate the baby. Fruits with high content of C concentrate like pineapple, lemon, oranges, and grapefruit can give the baby a rash. In line with this, there are also vegetables that are considered not good for breastfed babies. Such vegetables as broccoli, cabbage, beans, cauliflowers, and cucumbers can make the baby gassy.

5. Dairy Products

Although a good source of calcium and other nutrients, some dairy products may cause colic in some infants. Try to identify which of these dairy products cause uneasiness in your baby. Do not eliminate this food unnecessarily in your diet however since they are important foods for the mother's health.

6. Peanuts

Despite the lack of evidence and strong study to prove that eating peanuts when breastfeeding can cause the baby to develop peanut allergy, nursing mothers may just want to be cautious.

7. Alcohol

Nursing mothers do not necessarily need to completely avoid alcohol, but they do have to drink sensibly. This means that you should never nurse while the alcohol is in your blood (it takes approximately a half hour to get from your digestive system to your blood). If you are feeling the effects of alcohol, you should definitely not nurse your baby. Younger babies will have a harder time processing alcohol than an older baby (because their livers are more immature). Once the alcohol is out of your blood, it is also not in your milk.

Remember that substances which are addictive to you will be addictive to your baby as well; however, your baby's small size will exacerbate the impact of these substances. Mother's should be on guard about substances such as caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and any other drugs (prescription or otherwise).

A Healthy Diet for You and Your Baby

The foods to avoid vary when breastfeeding from one mother to another. The key therefore is to be keenly observant about how the foods you take affect your baby's behavior. Remember that when breastfeeding, whatever you eat is also taken by your baby's body. Breastfeeding places a heavy demand on a mother's body so it is therefore essential to take extra care with your diet to ensure that your health. As a mother, it is your responsibility to make sure that your baby takes in a proper diet too.

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