Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Foods to Avoid for Breast Milk

Everything you eat as a nursing mother affects your breast milk, either subtly or directly. Most of the time it's the former; what you eat provides the building blocks for your breast milk in the same way that what you ate while pregnant helped build the little body that is now your nursing child. In some cases, however, what you eat can be directly passed onto your baby via breast milk. Sometimes this is as innocuous as a new taste; other times you need to be concerned about toxins and allergens.


There's no hard and fast cause-and-effect rule here, but for certain mothers and babies, some foods cause colic. Foods such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes and green peppers can cause excessive gas and thus digestive discomfort in your baby. Other foods may simply irritate your baby's digestive system, including caffeine, chocolate, citrus and wheat. Try cutting out suspicious foods from your diet for a week or two and see if you notice any improvement.


Unfortunately, you can pass environmental contaminants such as mercury through your breast milk to your child. Avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish and limit your intake of canned solid white or albacore tuna.


Although you may now drink small amounts of alcohol since you're no longer pregnant, you will want to limit the amount you consume. Lay off breastfeeding for three hours after drinking so your body has time to metabolize and eliminate the alcohol, recommends the website, and don't drink more than one drink a day.


If your family has a disposition toward dietary allergies, be careful about ingesting common allergenic foods. Take caution with peanuts and tree nuts, soy products, corn and shellfish. Dairy sensitivities are also not uncommon among newborns, so if you see a rash or other signs of an allergic reaction, try avoiding milk, cheese and other dairy in your diet for a few days.

Taste Concerns

Even if colic and allergies are not a problem, what you eat may affect the taste of your breast milk, and your baby may react accordingly. For example, some nursing babies dislike it when their mothers eat spicy food. Eating a variety of different foods also assures your baby will be introduced to a wide range of flavors and thus possibly have a more flexible palate when they're older.

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