You are what you eat (and drink), right? Your baby is what you eat too. Nutrition is a priority from the time you decide to get pregnant through your pregnancy and breastfeeding.
The foods you eat will affect your breast milk, and the baby may express their preferences via bowel health, tummy happiness, and overall well-being. If you think your baby seems a little more fussy than usual, you may want to consider what you recently consumed.
Foods To Avoid While Breastfeeding
Here are some of the foods and beverages to avoid while breastfeeding – or at least think twice about – if you notice a disruption in your baby’s tummy function, comfort, and general health.
While breastfeeding mothers can drink alcohol, know that some alcohol will be present in your breast milk once it hits your bloodstream. Experts agree that breastfeeding moms should limit alcoholic beverages to one standard drink per day. It is also recommended that mothers wait 2 hours after consuming an alcoholic beverage to feed their baby. Overindulging in alcohol may have a negative effect on your infant’s growth, development, and sleep schedule.
Caffeine in moderation is just fine. However, if you’ve celebrated your ability to consume caffeine again by making quad-mochas a daily habit, you may want to half-caf that order. Caffeine gets into breastmilk, and since their bodies aren’t equipped to process caffeine efficiently can act as a stimulant for a baby that can cause irritability and sleep issues. Consider indulging in that cup of joe right after you’re done with a breastfeeding session, allowing time for the caffeine to get out of your system by the next feeding.
We all know that eating fish has many health benefits. It is one of the healthiest sources of animal-based protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. But it can also contain mercury and a pollutant called neurotoxin that can affect the baby’s brain. For this reason, we recommend adhering to the same Fish and Seafood Consumption Guidelines set out for pregnant women to minimize the amount of metal stored in your body or present in your breastmilk.
Mmmm. Chocolate. It’s so good, and yet, unfortunately, it can also act as a laxative for a baby (not to mention it contains a low amount of caffeine). Pay attention to baby’s diaper results after you’ve enjoyed a chocolate feast. If it’s runnier than normal, or the baby seems a little agitated, you might have to cut back or eliminate it altogether until you are no longer breastfeeding your baby.
Highly Processed Foods
Eating healthy is essential to producing nutrient-rich breast milk. Processed foods are high in unhealthy fats, calories, and added sugars. While additional research still needs to be conducted in humans, there is some concern that frequent exposure to foods high in sugar and fat as an infant may lead to unhealthy eating habits and obesity in your child.
Your baby’s body will communicate with you about what works and what doesn’t from your diet. Some of the symptoms to watch for are:
- Bloody stool
- Excessive spit up or vomiting
- Trouble sleeping
While adjusting what you eat can seem like a chore at first, it will be worth it when you have a happier, more comfortable, sleep-happier baby!
If you have questions or concerns about your diet while breastfeeding, contact Overlake OB/GYN to set up an appointment with one of our care providers.