What Foods Not to Eat While Breast-Feeding a Newborn Baby
As a breast-feeding mom, your food choices are doubly important because you are the sole source of nutrition for your newborn. A breast-feeding diet allows far more freedom in choices compared to that restrictive pregnancy diet. Still, some foods and drinks that pass through your breast milk can have unwanted side effects on your baby.
After nine months abstaining, many new moms look forward to drinking caffeine again; however, moderation is key. Slowly reintroduce into your system because every baby reacts differently to this stimulant. Some mothers drink the maximum limit of 3 cups of coffee without noticing any symptoms in their babies, while other mothers notice that 1 cup causes agitation. Any amount of caffeine that causes your newborn agitation or sleep disturbance is too much.
Opinions on alcohol in breast milk vary in the medical community. While some sources, such as BabyCenter nursing experts Karen and Gayle Pryor, suggest one drink of alcohol at a time is safe in the breast milk, others disagree. The American Council on Exercise advises moms to wait three hours after drinking alcohol to breast-feed. MyPlate, from the United States Department of Agriculture, says to wait four hours to nurse after just one alcohol drink. MyPlate also advises waiting to drink alcohol until your baby is at least 3 months and has a routine breast-feeding pattern. Talk to your doctor about the risks associated with drinking while breast-feeding.
In some cases, foods passed through breast milk cause allergic reactions in breastfeeding babies. You won’t know if your baby has a food allergy until he shows symptoms. Symptoms can appear immediately after nursing or up to 24 hours later. Symptoms of a food allergy include:
- skin rashes
- such as eczema
If a food allergy interferes with your newborn’s breathing, seek immediate emergency care. Otherwise, talk to your doctor to decide whether you should eliminate any foods from your diet. Under your doctor’s guidance, try to uncover which food is causing the problem. Stop eating the possible allergen culprit for at least one week to see if your baby’s symptoms improve. With your doctor’s OK, reintroduce the food one time after abstaining for one week to see if your baby reacts.
While your newborn may love the flavor some foods cause in breast milk, he may dislike the flavor from others. Very spicy foods, for example, may cause your baby to fuss at feeding time. Simply eliminating the spice from your diet can fix the problem. Citrus fruits and chocolate can also give breast milk a flavor to which your baby objects. If you remove citrus fruits from your diet, continue to eat a variety of other fruits -- at least 2 cups a day -- for balanced nutrition for you and your baby.