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Foods to Avoid when Breastfeeding

By August 3, 2020January 14th, 2021No Comments
Foods to Avoid when Breastfeeding
Foods to Avoid when Breastfeeding

When you finally deliver your baby, there is usually a huge sense of relief on the mother’s part. First, because most of the foods that were off-limits during pregnancy are back on the menu. However, even with your diet going back to normal, there are some foods and beverages that may not be tolerated by your baby when you start breastfeeding.

While there are common foods that you should avoid when breastfeeding, it is important to look at how other types of food affect your baby.

If your baby has a red, itchy rash on the body, congestion, abnormal fussiness, diarrhea and excessive gas, he/she could be reacting to something in the breast milk.

According to paediatricians, most problems that are caused by breast milk typically occur two to six hours after you have consumed the food. So, always observe how your baby reacts after breastfeeding. Some common foods that can sometimes cause adverse reactions in babies include dairy products, spicy foods and citrus foods and juices.

Here are some of the foods that you should stay away from when breastfeeding your newborn:


Fish is an amazing source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids for pregnant and breastfeeding mums. However, some types of fish such as the swordfish and king mackerel, have high levels of mercury which can make its way into breast milk.

Foods to Avoid when Breastfeeding

When infants ingest high levels of mercury, they can have delays or impairments in speech and language development, cognition and even fine motor skills.

If you do choose to eat fish, select a type of fish that is lower in mercury whenever possible, such as tilapia, salmon and trout.


Chocolate, coffee and tea have high amounts of caffeine which can cause an upset stomach for the baby followed by irritability and insomnia. Your baby could also become hyperactive.

Not only is caffeine bad for your newborn, but it is also bad for you when breastfeeding. The high quantities of caffeine intake through chocolate, coffee and tea can also lower the production of breast milk.

Highly processed foods

Processed foods are generally high in calories, unhealthy fats, and added sugars, yet low in fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Therefore, it’s recommended to limit their intake as much as possible.

According to paediatricians, a mother’s diet while breastfeeding may influence her child’s diet later in life. Therefore, infants born to mothers with a high junk food diet are significantly more likely to prefer high fat and high sugar foods than those whose mothers had a balanced, healthy diet.


Since garlic has a strong smell and taste, many babies typically don’t enjoy this particular flavour.

Your breast milk usually takes on the flavour of the food that you have eaten. So when you take food that has a lot of garlic, your baby might refuse to breastfeed because the taste is turning him/her off.

“Gassy” Foods

Foods that cause bloating and gas for you, such as beans, brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower, can cause problems in your little one.

The components that cause gas in these foods usually make their way into breast milk and eventually cause bloating in your baby. This will then cause your baby who already to become downright miserable and fussy.


This should go without saying, ladies. All types of alcohol are off-limits if you are breastfeeding!

Frequent and excessive alcohol intake can reduce milk production and have serious effects on your baby. It has also been linked to an increased risk of disrupted sleep patterns, delay in psycho-motor skills, and even cognitive delay later in life.

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