After spending nine months to ensure your good health and that of the fetus and sticking with a healthy food routine during pregnancy, it is also important to know that there is some kind of breastfeeding foods to avoid as a nursing mother.
It is very important to maintain nutritious foods to gain essential nutrients and also to increase the level of milk production. Not only that, since babies depend on milk from the mother to survive, they are also prone to some elements, whether trace or major, that are released into the milk fluids through the mother’s consumption.
Take, for instance, a nursing mother consuming nicotine rich product will definitely expose the child to nicotine through breastfeeding. This is why both pregnant and nursing mothers are always advised to stay off certain drugs, foods, or drinks. Some of these foods are listed below.
Disclaimer: these foods in themselves are not harmful, but because newborns are highly vulnerable to diseases, infections and all due to their developing but not strong enough immune system and in some cases, their body is yet to breakdown some compounds on its own unlike the adult body, it is not advisable to expose them to more than what their body can process.
Breastfeeding foods to avoid
Almost all fishes contain a common neurotoxin called Mercury, which can affect the baby’s brain. However, it is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. You don’t need to avoid fish completely, but some types of fish have a higher level of mercury than others and should, therefore, be avoided during breastfeeding, so you don’t put your baby.
This is because the toxic mercury content or its residue can manage to find its way to the milk supply, and exposure to Mercury has been linked to serious health problems. Swordfish and king mackerel are two common fishes that have been found to have a high level of mercury, which can affect the baby.
Peanuts are one of the most nutritious food items you can find. It is rich in proteins, healthy fats, and a host of vitamins and minerals. However, research has made us know that the occurrence of peanut allergies has increased drastically in the past few years.
If you have anybody who is allergic to peanuts in your family, then you have to stay away from it until your baby is weaned because it is hard to tell if your baby is or will be allergic to peanuts also. The reason why you should stay away from it is that babies consume whatever you eat, so the allergen can be transmitted to the baby through breast milk.
Garlic is a common ingredient used in many recipes. It contains minerals, amino acids, and vitamins. Garlic should be avoided during breastfeeding because of its strong smell. The smell of garlic can get through to the breast milk, and it can make the baby be reluctant to nurse or to make faces while refusing to be nursed.
Garlic is beneficial, but babies are not mature enough to appreciate that. Garlic can also make some babies be fussy and irritated.
Caffeine and chocolate
The baby’s body can’t process caffeine as quickly as the adult body does, so too much caffeine can overstimulate your baby. The caffeine in coffee ends up in breast milk, which can make napping difficult for you and your baby. The baby’s body can’t process caffeine as quickly as our bodies do.
It is advisable that mothers should take caffeine after the baby has fallen asleep. As for chocolate, a breastfeeding mother can take chocolate, but it has to be moderate because it’s high in fats and sugars, and it has little nutritive value.
If the baby shows symptoms such as restlessness, rashes, hyperactivity, insomnia, and refusal to drink milk, then chocolate should be avoided.
Foods that are gassy like beans, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussel sprouts should be avoided. As a breastfeeding mother, that kind of food can cause problems for your baby. It can make a baby who already has colic to become downright miserable.
It is best to avoid alcohol consumption completely because that will be the safest for the baby, but if you choose to drink, then it will be better to give yourself timing, and the drinking should be moderate also.
Alcohol takes one or two hours to metabolize, which means if you must drink, make sure you drink after you last nurse your baby. This will give your body time to metabolize the alcohol so that it doesn’t affect the baby.
Large intake of alcohol through mother’s milk can cause drowsiness, weakness, a decrease in growth, and other health issues in babies. Also, research has shown that alcohol can reduce the amount of milk a breastfeeding woman can produce . This may be due to alcohol disrupting the hormones that are responsible for the production of milk.
Citrus fruits are some of the most popular fruits, and they form major parts of the fruit basket. However, as a breastfeeding mother, you have to avoid citrus fruits and their juices at all costs.
Some of the compounds in citrus fruit can be found irritating, citrus can cause fuzziness, spitting up and diaper rashes also, and all this can be happening due to the baby’s immature GI tract.
So if you must take citrus fruit, it is more advisable to consume pineapple or mango, while fruits like lime, kiwi fruit, strawberries, oranges, and grapes should be avoided.
Peppermint, parsley, and sage
They are all full of flavor, and in high doses, they have been known that it decreases the rate of milk production. This means they both come with the risk of reduced milk supply. If they are used in a moderate quantity, there shouldn’t be a problem, but if you notice that your baby is in a growth spurt, it will better for you to avoid them altogether.
You can rest assured that sushi not containing high mercury fish is considered safe for breastfeeding mothers. However, if you want to eat low mercury sushi, make sure that it is no more than two or three servings in a week, and it should also be fish that are low in mercury, such as salmon, flounder, tilapia and catfish.
The baby can develop a spice allergy, although the chances are low, it can still show once in a while in a particular baby. This sign will make itself evident on the baby’s skin by showing rashes if you eat something spicy, so you can try and go on a break before taking it again. If the sign shows again, then it means the baby is allergic to it, and it will be best to stay away from it until the baby is weaned.
While you don’t have to totally avoid these foods for a long time, it is a sacrifice you should make for the wellbeing of your baby until they are old enough to feed on other foods aside from breast milk.
Always remember as you nurse that your baby’s health and wellbeing are influenced majorly what you feed on because that is what they feed on as well.
So eat right and be intentional on the breastfeeding foods to avoid while nursing. It will be worth it at the end when you see your baby grow up healthy and full of life.