You know you have to be careful what you eat when you are pregnant, but did you know you should still evaluate what you consume while breastfeeding?
There are many opinions as to whether or not low levels of alcohol are ok to have when breastfeeding. For those that feel it's safe to drink, they suggest waiting 3-4 hours after having a drink before you breastfeed. Some sources recommend waiting until your baby is 3 months old before considering having a drink. Discuss this with your pediatrician so you are fully informed.
High levels of caffeine can cause crankiness and sleeplessness in babies. Keep in mind coffee is not the only culprit - watch your intake of energy drinks, soda, and chocolate. It's best to wait until just after breastfeeding for your morning coffee.
If your nursling is fussy or gassy, you should consider limiting vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, beans and brussel sprouts. There are an abundance of other yummy, healthy vegetables that are easier on baby's tummy.
Citrus fruits such as grapefruit, oranges, and pineapple have been known to increase the chances of diaper rash and cause crankiness in your little one. There are some reports suggesting these fruits also cause more spitting up. Eat them in moderation and pay attention to their impact.
Spicy Foods & Garlic
Spicy, heavily seasoned and garlicky foods may not sit well with baby. This, in turn, may make her cranky and fussy. If this is a hard one for you to avoid, try them out and keep an eye out to see how your baby reacts.
The most common dietary allergen found when it comes to breastfeeding is dairy. Many babies are intolerant of cows milk - these allergens can enter your breast milk and cause problems for baby.
You don't need to avoid all fish - just those containing higher levels of mercury. Fish such as tuna, mackerel, shark, swordfish, and tilefish can all have a negative effect on baby's nervous system.
It's best to avoid mint (including peppermint) and parsley while nursing as they both contribute to a reduction in milk supply. For any herb you may be taking in large amounts, it's best to consult your doctor to make sure there are no harmful side effects for baby.
Foods with an Allergenic History in your Family
If there are ANY foods you know members of your family are allergic to, then this is the time to stay away! La Leche League International warns if there are allergies on either side of the family, it is beneficial to avoid these foods while your baby is very young. Food allergies are often inherited, and baby may be susceptible to the allergen through your breast milk.
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