Giving birth doesn’t quite mean you’re finished eating two. You’ll need to keep your baby in mind when breastfeeding. Your breast milk is extremely nutritious and contains the essential nutrients your baby needs for the first six months of life.
Eating a nutritious diet will also keep your energy levels up and benefit your breast milk production. Just like there are foods you need to avoid during pregnancy, you’ll also want to watch what you eat while breastfeeding. The things you put into your body make their way into your breast milk and into your baby’s digestive system. We’ve put together a list of five foods you may want to avoid while breastfeeding.
Fish can be a part of a healthy diet. The omega-3 fats found in fish are heart-healthy and beneficial to your health. However, certain fish contain high levels of unhealthy chemicals, like mercury. High-mercury fish is unsafe for you to eat during pregnancy and while you’re breastfeeding.
You’ll want to avoid fish that are high in mercury, such as king mackerel, shark, swordfish, orange roughy, tilefish, and marlin. When you do eat fish, the safest choices are salmon, tilapia, cod, catfish, flounder, herring, and pollock.
Parsley, sage, and peppermint
The herbs parsley, sage, and peppermint are in a class called anti-galactagogues, because they are known to decrease breast milk production. However, you’d need to eat a large amount of these herbs for them to interfere with the amount of breast milk you produce.
If you’re someone who eats plenty of these herbs, you may want to watch your intake. If you notice your breast milk supply decreasing and at a time when you’re eating lots of parsley, sage, or peppermint, it’s a good idea to cut back.
Common food allergens
It’s common for babies to have food sensitivities. If your baby has an allergy or food sensitivity, it’s best to avoid the offending foods while breastfeeding. The molecules from the food allergen can pass through your breast milk and may cause your baby to have a reaction.
The most common culprits are cow’s milk, eggs, soy, and peanuts. Although these are the most common, you only need to avoid them if your baby has proven to have an allergy to any of them. If you’re unsure whether your infant has problems with these foods, look out for symptoms like diarrhea, gas, and rash.
When you drink, the alcohol in your blood makes it into your breast milk. Because your baby is tiny and has an immature liver, no level of alcohol in breast milk is considered safe. Exposing your baby to alcohol through breast milk can cause impaired development. You won’t have to avoid alcohol altogether, but it’s necessary to take some precautions.
Avoid breastfeeding for several hours after you’ve had a drink. It can take three hours to clear alcohol from breast milk. If you plan to drink, it’s a good idea to limit yourself to one and to time it after you breastfeed so that the alcohol has plenty of time to clear your breast milk before your next breastfeeding session.
Nursing mothers need to have a well-balanced diet. Caffeine-containing food, like chocolate, and beverages, such as coffee, can be part of a balanced diet. However, it’s important for breastfeeding mothers to moderate their caffeine intake. A small amount of caffeine you ingest passes through breast milk. If you consume too much caffeine while breastfeeding, your baby may become irritable and have trouble sleeping.
The team at Boro Park OB/GYN are dedicated to providing the highest quality of care throughout every stage of motherhood. For expert care, call today, or use our online booking tool to schedule an appointment.