5 Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding

5 Foods To Avoid When Breastfeeding

After nine months of passing up sushi, alcohol and deli meat, you’re probably pretty excited to indulge in your pre-pregnancy diet. Not so fast! Some of those foods may still be off limits (or need to be consumed in moderation) if you’re breastfeeding. Molecules from the food you eat can make their way through your breast milk and into your baby’s system. See below for a list of foods to be cautious of while nursing.

1. Alcohol

New parenthood is a cause for celebration, so pouring yourself a much-needed glass of wine is okay. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) notes that it’s safe to breastfeed after one alcoholic drink (5 ounces of wine, one shot of alcohol or 12 ounces of beer).

Even though it’s acceptable to breastfeed after one drink, alcohol can pass through your breast milk and make its way into your baby’s system. Many medical experts recommend having that drink after your baby’s feeding, then waiting two or three hours before you nurse again so that your body has time to clear the alcohol. You can also plan to pump before drinking to have some expressed breast milk on hand.

2. Fish

According to the AAP, shark, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel should be avoided while breastfeeding due to their high levels of mercury. Instead, an alternative seafood diet during breastfeeding is 12 ounces per week of seafood that have lower mercury levels, such as shrimp, salmon, pollock and catfish.

3. Caffeine

Calling all sleep-deprived moms! Caffeine and breastfeeding don’t have to be mutually exclusive. The caveat? All things in moderation. Nursing moms should consume no more than three cups of caffeinated beverages a day.

Like alcohol, caffeine passes into your bloodstream and into your breast milk, so having too much could make some babies feel the effects of caffeine. Consider having your morning coffee or afternoon tea after baby’s feeding so that the caffeine is out of your system by the time your baby needs to nurse again.

4. Garlic

Believe it or not, garlic can alter the taste of your breast milk, turning some babies off from feeding. If you consumed garlic throughout your pregnancy, your baby may already be accustomed to the taste and breastfeeding could go off without a hitch.

5. Peppermint

Peppermint, sage and parsley have been known to reduce a mother’s milk supply, which adds them to our list of foods to avoid while breastfeeding. Although you would have to consume extremely high doses of these herbs, it’s important to monitor your consumption and any effects it may have on your milk production.

Delta Children’s Recommendations for Breastfeeding

Some moms keep a journal of their diet during breastfeeding, listing any new foods they may have introduced and noting if their baby had a new response while feeding. It’s important to pay attention to the foods and drinks you consume while breastfeeding and adjust your diet accordingly if you notice your baby acting differently as a result.

Learn more about food and drinks to avoid while breastfeeding on the AAP’s website here.
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