Congratulations on your bundle of joy! Whether you have just given birth or are anxiously awaiting the big day, congratulations are in order for all the hard work your body has put forth over the past nine months.
If you have chosen to breastfeed your baby, you are not done eating for two. Your baby and your body can significantly benefit from breastfeeding. Still, it is essential to know that what you eat and drink can drastically affect your breastmilk’s nutritional content. Because your breastmilk will be the primary source of your baby’s diet, you will want to evaluate everything that goes into your body.
A nutritious and well-balanced diet is critical for breastfeeding mothers. However, to protect your baby, there are certain foods that you will need to avoid. Your baby’s digestive system is far more sensitive than your own, and understanding that what you eat and drink passes into your breastmilk will help you choose wisely.
Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding
- Alcohol –A glass of wine, a beer, or an evening cocktail may sound appealing after a long day with a crying baby, but the effects can be harmful. No level of alcohol in breastmilk is safe. Any amount of alcohol can impair development and cause other severe problems because your baby’s liver is simply unable to process it.
- High Mercury Fish – While fish is touted for its richness in omega-3’s and is considered a heart-healthy protein, certain fish should be avoided while breastfeeding. Fish that are high in mercury such as shark, marlin, king mackerel, swordfish, tilefish, and orange roughy contain too much mercury for your baby’s immature digestive system to process.
- Caffeine –This may be the hardest to avoid for moms who are sleep-deprived or who need a “perk up” in the afternoon. However, drinks and foods that contain caffeine can negatively affect your baby. Small amounts of caffeine will slip into breastmilk and can cause irritability or sleep troubles in your infant.
- Spicy Foods and Pungent Herbs –Spicy foods are known to cause heartburn and indigestion in adults, and they can do the same thing to breastfed babies. Herbs such as peppermint, parsley, and sage are classified as anti-galactagogues, which means they decrease breastmilk production. Take caution when consuming any of these.
- Common Food Allergens –Many moms will tell you that certain foods cause sensitivities to babies. The most common food allergens are cow’s milk, peanuts, eggs, and soy. Symptoms of sensitivity to certain allergens include diarrhea, rash, or extreme fussiness. Eliminating these foods will help you determine if they are the cause of trouble with your baby.
At Marietta OB-GYN Affiliates, P.A., we have a dedicated team that is here to provide care for women throughout all stages of pregnancy, birth, and post-partum. For information on successful breastfeeding, contact our practice today.