Foods to Avoid While Nursing

After nine long months, your little one has finally arrived! By now, you’ve likely scoured every last book, online blog, and magazine article on what to expect during pregnancy, but what about afterward? The first few years of a child’s life are so important to their long-term health. During the breastfeeding stage, many parents may experience anxiety about their own diets. Can I eat this while breastfeeding? Will this change the way my milk tastes? While many health experts don’t recommend going cold turkey on any one food, there are definitely foods you will want to limit or do your best at avoiding. 


Limit Alcohol Intake

I know, I know… after nine dry months you might be itching for a glass of wine. Don’t worry, you can still enjoy your favorite alcoholic beverages – in moderation. Alcohol has been found to pass through breastmilk and enter the baby’s system. For those using a pump, pumping after drinking and dumping it does not actually accomplish much. The milk may be gone, but the alcohol is still present in your blood. For breastfeeding parents wondering how to navigate alcohol, a good rule of thumb is if you feel inebriated, you should not be breastfeeding. Try saving your drink for after your little one has been fed, then waiting at least two hours after your drink before feeding again. 


Fish and Mercury Concerns

Fish come loaded with protein and minimal fat, making them a great addition to your diet; however, all fish contain trace amounts of mercury, which can affect a baby’s brain. Don’t panic – most fish only contain trace amounts of mercury. While you don’t need to cut all fish out of your diet completely, it is best to limit your seafood meals to twice a week. Shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish all contain higher traces of mercury and should be avoided completely. 


What About Spicy Foods?

This is one that varies from person to person. One of the issues with spicy food is if your little one is not accustomed to it, they may experience tummy troubles. If you ate spicy food throughout your pregnancy, there is a higher chance your baby will be better equipped to handle any spice that comes through the breastmilk. If you notice your baby becomes especially gassy or has looser stool than normal after drinking milk that could have been impacted by a spicy meal, consider toning down on the spice. 


Different Tummies Respond in Different Ways

How a baby responds to their parent’s diet ranges from family to family. Whereas one baby may not bat an eye at breastmilk with a hint of a spicy curry, another baby may throw a fit. The most important thing is that you are following a diet that provides your body with healthy vitamins and nutrients. A healthy parent is a healthy baby! Whenever you are unsure or have concerns about nursing, always speak to your doctor or pediatrician.


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