There’s all sorts of advice floating around about what you should and shouldn’t eat while breastfeeding. While there are a few foods you should avoid, the short version is that all you need to do is eat a healthy, balanced diet. Remember, your baby gets their nutrients directly from you, so enjoying a healthy diet is the best thing you can do for bub’s health. Otherwise, you don’t have to be too afraid of food and drink while breastfeeding as long as you avoid the 5 foods we’re talking about below!
It’s a bit of a no brainer, but you do need to be careful about how much alcohol you’re drinking while breastfeeding. Alcohol works its way into your breast milk and can be harmful to your baby. The safest bet is to stop drinking alcohol completely. But it’s not the end of the world if you want to have a drink. Just make sure you’re limiting it to one drink (or less) per day, and wait 2-3 hours after drinking before breastfeeding your baby. Don’t forget that alcohol can also reduce how much breast milk you’re producing by up to 20%, so cutting it out entirely is your best bet!
The caffeine you get from coffee, tea, cola and energy drinks can end up in your breast milk. Babies have a much harder time than adults when it comes to breaking down caffeine. It accumulates in their system over time and can cause real issues with sleeping and restlessness. A little bit of caffeine is okay - just limit yourself to 2-3 cups of coffee throughout the day.
The sad news is that you’ll also need to be careful how much chocolate you’re eating. Chocolate contains small amounts of caffeine and a similar stimulant called theobromine. These can both have an impact on bub. You’d have to eat heaps of chocolate for it to cause a problem, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re also getting caffeine from other sources.
Highly Processed Foods
Breastfeeding is pretty demanding on your body. The ideal breastfeeding diet is healthy, balanced and full of fruits, vegetables and rich protein sources (like meats, fish, tofu and eggs). Highly processed junk foods don’t have much nutritional value. Just the opposite really. They’re full of unhealthy fats and added sugars that don’t bring much to your daily diet, and they definitely don’t provide the nutrients your baby needs.
High Mercury Fish
Most types of fish are an incredibly healthy source of protein and fatty acids that are important for your baby’s development. The only problem is that some fish are high in mercury which is toxic to your small human. It’s best to avoid fish that are known to by high in mercury while breastfeeding, including:
- King Mackerel
- Orange roughy
You definitely don’t have to cut fish and other seafood out of your diet while breastfeeding! Seafoods are an amazing source of omega-3, iodine and protein, all of which are good for your baby. Just avoid species known to be high in mercury.
Many new mums turn to herbal supplements and teas to help improve their sleep and milk production. Sadly, there’s no real research to show that herbal supplements are helpful, and some can even harm your baby. It’s best to avoid supplements altogether if you can.
This is especially true of supplements that contain peppermint, parsley and sage. The herbs themselves won’t do any harm to your baby, but all three herbs are known to reduce milk production. You don’t need to avoid your favourite herbs altogether - you’d have to be eating them in huge quantities to notice a difference. Since supplements contain far more herbs than you’d eat normally, it’s better to avoid them when possible.
Get More From Your Breastfeeding Journey with Mad House Mums!
The best breastfeeding diet is one that’s healthy, balanced and easy to stick to! While there are a few foods you’ll need to avoid, there’s no real secret to looking after your baby’s health. To make sure you’ve got everything you need on your journey, Mad House Mums supplies hand designed breastfeeding clothing! Our range includes breastfeeding tops Australia wide, dresses, sweaters and more. Each piece of our clothing features an invisible side zip that has been designed by breastfeeding mums, for breastfeeding mums. If you want to update your nursing wardrobe with a breastfeeding jumper, breastfeeding tops or even our postpartum tights Australia wide, then feel free to browse our collection online. Alternatively, you can contact us if you have any questions about our wide range of products.