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There are some foods that you should avoid and others that you should take care of when eating and drinking. Photo: The Pregistry

On one of your very first prenatal appointments, your doctor probably handed you a list of all of the foods and drinksthat weren’t safe to consume while you were pregnant. Now that your little one is here, you can loosen up a little bit about what you have for dinner. Though restraints have eased up on what breastfeeding moms should and shouldn’t eat, there are still some foods that you should avoid and others that you should take care of when eating and drinking.

Foods and Drinks to Avoid While Breastfeeding:


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Photo: The Guardian

Fish are a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids and are okay to eat in moderation during breastfeeding. Certain types of fish, such as swordfish and king mackerel, have high levels of mercury. This mercury can make its way into your breast milk and can harm your little one. Because of this, it’s best to eat no more than six ounces of fish twice a week, according to Ameda Direct.

If you do choose to eat fish, select a type of fish that is lower in mercury whenever possible, such as tilapia, salmon and trout. During pregnancy, sushi was strictly off-limits due to the possibility of bacteria and parasites. This possesses less of a concern during breastfeeding, so it’s okay to eat sushi once in a while as long as it comes from a reputable restaurant.

Coffee and Tea

After several middle-of-the-night nursing sessions, the first thing you may want in the morning is a comforting cup of coffee. While it’s not strictly off-limits, be careful before you drink it. The caffeine in coffee and tea does end up in breast milk, which can make napping difficult for both you and your little one. Your baby’s body doesn’t process caffeine as quickly as yours does, and consuming it can quickly throw off their sleep schedule.


It’s safest for your baby if you don’t have any alcohol at all but if you choose to drink, timing and moderation are key. Alcohol typically takes one to two hours to metabolize. Once it’s out of your bloodstream, it’s no longer in your breast milk. If you are going to drink, have one drink right after you last nurse your little one. This will give your body time to metabolize the alcohol so that it doesn’t adversely affect your baby when you nurse next. “Pumping and dumping” isn’t necessary as long as you don’t feel the effects of the alcohol you drank.


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Photo: Mental Floss

Not only can the caffeine in chocolate cause problems with your little one’s sleep, it seems to have a laxative effect on many babies. Eat it in moderation and be on the lookout to see if it’s disrupting your little one’s sleep schedule or causing runny stools to occur.

Parsley, Peppermint and Sage

While these herbs are a great way to add flavor to your meals, they can also have a negative effect on your milk supply. Consume them in moderation and skip them altogether if you notice that your little one is on a growth spurt.

“Gassy” Foods

Foods that typically cause gas with you, such as beans, brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower, can cause problems in your little one. While burping, passing gas and bloating may occur in all babies after you eat these foods, it can cause a baby who already has colic to become downright miserable.

Foods to Limit While Breastfeeding:

Spicy Foods

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Just don’t have an out-of-the-ordinary spicy meal. Photo: Healthline

Spicy foods and breastfeeding can go hand-in-hand without a hitch, Hawkins says. But this is where cultural traditions and personal habits come into play. “If you ate spicy foods throughout your pregnancy, the baby is primed for those flavors,” she says. For some babies, spicy food doesn’t bother them at all. For others who are less accustomed to the taste, they might not enjoy it. “Just don’t have an out-of-the-ordinary spicy meal. If you ate something spicy and baby is responding in a not-so-pleasant way, then maybe spicy foods could be the cause.” If that’s the case, just cut back on the spice, as said by Baby Center.


Garlic does flavor a mother’s breast milk, and some say the taste of it can turn the baby off. But when it comes to garlic and breastfeeding, how the baby reacts can depend on how accustomed they are to the taste. “If you’re someone who ingests a lot of garlic and had it during your pregnancy, chances are baby is going to enjoy it,” Syms-Brown says. In fact, one study found that babies who haven’t been exposed to garlic actually nurse for longer periods of time, apparently finding the new flavor extra-delicious.

How to Tell if a Food is Bothering Your Baby

Because everything you eat could possibly cause an adverse reaction in your little one, it’s important to look for possible problems. These reactions include:

Eczema, a red, itchy rash on the body


Abnormal fussiness

Excessive gas


These symptoms could be caused by another condition, such as an allergy to the laundry soap that you use, or it could be caused by something that you are eating that has made its way into your breast milk. Most problems that are caused by breast milk typically occur two to six hours after you have consumed the food. Common foods that can sometimes cause an adverse reaction in babies to include:

Dairy products

Spicy foods

Citrus fruits and juices






If you suspect that your baby is having a reaction to something that you are eating, talk with your doctor before completely omitting it from your diet. If your doctor does recommend that you stop eating that food, ask about supplements to make up for any nutrients you may be missing out on and continue to take your prenatal vitamins for the duration of the time that you nurse.

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