In general, mother’s are able to eat just about any food considered healthy when breastfeeding. There are a lot of myths concerning food limitations, but the truth is the rules for what to avoid vary from mother to mother and baby to baby. Your best bet is to carefully monitor what you eat and how your baby reacts.
If something is going to affect your baby, it will usually happen within two to six hours of eating and breastfeeding. If you keep a food journal and note your baby’s reactions to feeding, you will be able to notice any patterns and make adjustments quickly should the need arise.
La Leche League International, an organization dedicated to teaching women the value of breastfeeding and helping them do it successfully, encourages women to take note of their family medical history with food allergies. If certain allergies run in your family, it is best to introduce this food slowly to your baby through your diet and breastfeeding.
If your baby reacts poorly after exposure, leave that food out of your diet for the foreseeable future. If you are concerned about severe allergic reactions and you can maintain good health by avoiding a specific food, it might put your mind at ease to do so during the early stages of your child’s life.
Foods that Trigger Gas
If you do keep track of your diet and your baby’s reactions, you might notice certain patterns. Some babies react poorly to foods because they trigger gas in the digestive system. These foods include certain spices, chocolate, citrus juices and fruits, and vegetables known for producing gas, such as cucumbers, peppers, cabbage, and broccoli.
These foods will not harm your baby, but eating them could trigger a few unpleasant bouts of gas and make for a very fussy feeder.
Is Caffeine a Problem?
Many mother’s choose to avoid caffeine when breastfeeding. Most doctors agree complete elimination is not necessary, as long as you limit your intake to fewer than two cups per day. Remember, coffee is not the only caffeine culprit, so keep an eye out for hidden sources.
Like the foods listed above, caffeine will not hurt your baby, but too much will keep her awake at night. If your baby struggles with sleep, consider cutting back or eliminating caffeine until the problem is solved.
Is Alcohol Off-Limits?
Like caffeine, alcohol seems as if it should be a no-no during breastfeeding. However, most doctors believe it is not going to harm your baby if you have an occasional alcoholic drink. Occasional is defined as one drink no more than once a day. Most recommendations are to wait at least two hours per drink before nursing.
Some women choose to pump their breast milk prior to imbibing, so there is plenty of alcohol-free breast milk available.
Health professionals discourage heavy drinking during the breastfeeding period and remind women binge or heavy drinking is never considered a safe practice.
How Do You Know if Baby is Allergic?
In addition to being aware of your baby’s hereditary risk for allergies you can also watch for specific reactions to certain foods. If your baby is fussy, congested, or develops diarrhea or any type of skin rash or discoloration after eating a certain food, it could be a sign of an allergy.
Foods that are known for causing the greatest number of issues to include cow’s milk products, eggs nuts, soy, wheat, and corn.