Book Your Appointment



Book Now

Our Concierge


    World Breastfeeding Week: 10 foods to avoid while you breastfeed

    By NCVC Staff | Published on Sep 21, 2023

    Breastfeeding can be a wonderful and fulfilling experience for both mother and baby. But amidst the overwhelming advice from well-meaning friends and family, it can be challenging to discern which foods are safe to consume while breastfeeding. The truth is, some foods and drinks may cause discomfort or even allergic reactions in your little one. To help you navigate this delicate phase, we’ve compiled a list of 10 foods to avoid while breastfeeding. Remember, your diet plays a crucial role in ensuring the health and well-being of both you and your child.

    1. Seafood: Proceed with Caution

    Although seafood is a rich source of nutrients, certain types should be consumed in moderation or avoided altogether. Fish and shellfish, due to their high mercury content, pose a potential risk to your baby’s developing nervous system. It’s best to steer clear of fish such as tuna, shark, swordfish, and tilefish, as well as shellfish like shrimp, prawns, crab, lobster, and oysters. However, rest assured, you can still enjoy low-mercury fish, such as salmon, twice a week to gain the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.

    2. Alcohol: Better Safe than Sorry

    When it comes to alcohol, it’s best to exercise caution and avoid it completely while breastfeeding. Consuming alcohol can interfere with your baby’s cognitive development, psychomotor skills, and sleep patterns. It’s worth sacrificing that glass of wine for the sake of your little one’s well-being.

    3. Coffee and Chocolate: Delight in Moderation

    Caffeine lovers, take note! Coffee and chocolate can find their way into breast milk, potentially causing irritability and disrupting your baby’s sleep patterns. While a couple of cups of coffee won’t do much harm, limit your intake to two or three servings per day. Similarly, savor that piece of chocolate but resist the temptation to indulge in an entire bar.

    4. Spicy Foods: Proceed with Caution

    Contrary to popular belief, there is little evidence to suggest that spicy foods should be avoided while breastfeeding. Most babies can tolerate their mothers consuming spicy dishes. However, if your baby experiences colic or diarrhea after you indulge in spicy fare, consider eliminating it from your diet for a few weeks and observe any improvement.

    5. Gassy Foods: Watch Out for the Bubbles

    Certain foods can create gas in your baby’s delicate digestive system. Asparagus, lentils, beans, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower are some culprits that may cause discomfort. If your baby experiences colic or excessive gas, try eliminating these foods from your diet for a period of time to see if the symptoms improve.

    6. Tea: Enjoy Mindfully

    While a cup of tea can be comforting, it’s essential to be mindful of its caffeine content. Too much caffeine can hinder your body’s absorption of iron, a vital nutrient required for your postpartum recovery and energy levels. Limit your tea consumption or avoid drinking it with iron-rich meals like meat, leafy greens, and fortified cereals.

    7. Peppermint and Parsley: Moderation is Key

    Although herbs like peppermint and parsley can add flavor to your meals, excessive consumption can hamper breast milk production. If you notice a decrease in milk supply, consider reducing your intake of these herbs. On the other hand, sage is a herb that can be safely sprinkled in food for added flavor.

    8. Aerated and Preserved Drinks: Stick to H2O

    Sugary drinks like sodas, packaged fruit juices, and flavored waters should be avoided while breastfeeding. These beverages often replace the hydration benefits of water and do little to satisfy your thirst. Opt for water instead to stay adequately hydrated during this special phase.

    9. Cow’s Milk: May Cause Allergies

    While cow’s milk doesn’t typically pose a problem for most breastfeeding mothers, it’s possible that your baby may be allergic to cow’s milk protein. If your pediatrician suspects an allergy, it’s advisable to exclude cow’s milk from your diet while breastfeeding.

    10. Peanuts: A Potential Allergen

    Although there isn’t strong evidence suggesting that breastfeeding mothers should avoid nuts, anecdotal evidence indicates that some babies may be allergic to peanuts. If your little one shows signs of an allergic reaction, such as an itchy rash or hives, consider eliminating peanuts from your diet. Doing so may help reduce the likelihood of your baby developing eczema.

    Remember, each baby is unique, and their reaction to foods can vary. If you suspect that a particular food is causing discomfort or allergic symptoms in your baby, eliminate it from your diet for a week and observe the response. Your well-being and your baby’s health are of utmost importance during this precious bonding time. Happy breastfeeding!

    Was this page helpful?

    The newsletter focused on health and well-being that you’ve been seeking

    Are you intrigued by exclusive interviews, essential products, and staying in the know with the latest news? You won’t want to overlook.

      Your privacy is important to us