You may be here because you’re breastfeeding and want to know more about what foods to eat while breastfeeding for milk supply and ones you need to avoid for your baby’s digestive health.
Keeping an eye on your breastfeeding diet is a good idea and learning what foods are best to consume during this time is crucial.
Likewise, there are also foods you should avoid while breastfeeding and we’ll go over those as well.
So, let’s not waste time and get into this read where you will learn what foods to eat while breastfeeding and what to avoid.
A quick look at what’s in this post (from top to bottom):
- How to prepare for breastfeeding before baby is born.
- What foods to avoid and how.
- Free dairy-free breastfeeding meal plan and food list.
- How to know if your baby has a dairy intolerance or allergy.
- Breastfeeding proud print and frame art.
- Foods and supplements that will increase your milk supply.
- When breastfeeding looks like bottle nursing, how to be an exclusive pumper or at least be prepared.
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Diet Choices while Breastfeeding: Why Food Matters
Why do the foods consumed by a breastfeeding mom matter so much while breastfeeding?
Does her diet really have that great of an impact on her milk supply and baby’s digestion?
I was a little naive myself when I began breastfeeding my first baby. After all, before you become a mom, breastfeeding isn’t really in the fore front of your mind.
It’s not until you are introduced to something new that you start to realize just how much you don’t know.
Breastfeeding is worth investing in, and so is your baby
Having said all of that, I think this is the perfect segway to talk to you about being prepared to breastfeed.
I know that most hospitals offer the advice of a lactation consultant after the baby is born.
But what if you could get an ever better head start and avoid some of the issues that could potentially derail your breastfeeding goals? It only took me one step back to crush my breastfeeding progress and it was not easy to recover from!
My hope is that you will feel totally confident and equipped to handle whatever curve ball breastfeeding tries to throw at you – because it will!
Here is what I want to introduce to you, it’s a complete online and on demand e-course created to help any mom conquer breastfeeding like a natural pro!
The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class
You may have already heard of the course, (because it’s that good) The Ultimate Breastfeeding Class by Milkology.
Use the highlighted link above to go take a further look.
Here’s what you get:
It only cost $19 for unlimited access, on demand and online to refer to 24/7 – forever.
The course curriculum is formatted in all video lessons (for us visual learners) and it is light and easy to follow.
Stacy the creator, is as knowledgeable and passionate about breastfeeding as they come, you’ll learn more about her when you venture over there to check it out!
When you purchase on course, get the second (The Ultimate Back to Work Pumping Class) 20% off!
How These 5 Food Groups Can Affect Your Breast Milk
Let’s first identify some types of foods and how they can affect your breast milk. I chose from a small list of common foods and food groups that tend to have the most impact on a breastfed baby.
As you read through, you will get a better understanding of how the foods you eat while breastfeeding may affect your baby and what you can do about it.
- Trans Fats
Mother’s who consume high amounts of trans fats may be passing those fats along to their babies through breast milk.
A study found that mother’s who consumed a large amount of these fats doubled the chance of their infant having high levels on body fat.(source)
How do I avoid trans fats in my diet?
It’s easiest to identify trans fats by assuming most processed foods contain them.
Like chips, crackers cookies, frozen pizza and everything else that is “bad” for us and tasted amazing.
Probably everything you are craving right now with that ferocious breastfeeding appetite.
If you are worried about how to go about choosing the best foods to eat while breastfeeding, you can always sign up for a healthy meal delivery service like Hello Fresh.
Dairy is usually the culprit when it comes to the reason for a baby’s digestive upsets, such as colic and allergies.
Most pediatricians will recommend for a breastfeeding mom to start eliminating dairy as the first line of action to determine the cause of an irritable baby.
However, be aware that even after removing dairy from you diet, cow’s milk proteins can persist in a mom’s body for up two weeks after they have been eliminated.
Therefore, make sure you give your diet change at least 2-3 weeks before making the call.
A baby with a dairy sensitivity most likely is not lactose intolerant, but is instead disagreeing with the proteins found in cow’s milk. Therefore, switching to a lactose-free dairy milk may not solve a dairy sensitivity.
How to go dairy-free
The whole time I was breastfeeding, I was dairy-free. It was a hard transition at first, but it quickly became the norm and I actually felt a lot better too!
If you’r ready to give up dairy for your baby, here are some helpful breastfeeding and dairy-free resources:
- Dairy-free breastfeeding meal plans and food swaps
- Meal plan printable, diary-free food list
- Dairy-free food shopping list (printable)
- How to cook dairy-free and healthy meals
What symptoms will my baby display if they have a dairy sensitivity or allergy?
- Stuffy, Itchy or Runny Nose
Related to this topic:
Find a free dairy-free and healthy meal planner with the link above also!
If you are interested in supplementing with non-dairy formula, you can find everything you need to know about doing so here!
New moms need their caffeine – this is a fact.
However, caffeine can have a negative affect on a breastfed baby.
Even though a very small amount of the caffeine a mom consumes is actually transferred to baby through her breast milk, a baby cannot easily process even tiny amounts of caffeine (source).
Which is why it is best to avoid large amounts of caffeine. Try and limit yourself to one cup of a coffee per day.
Remember, there is also caffeine in some not so obvious sources, like chocolate, tea and soda.
Will caffeine affect my milk supply?
Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it will cause you to urinate more frequently.
There is some scientific research that has determined caffeine may not, like once thought, be dehydrating.
However, I am going to lean on the side of caution and suggest that if you are working hard to increase you breast milk supply, avoid caffeine just incase.
I myself, and many other breastfeeding moms have noticed that their breast milk supply does seem to take a dip in conjunction with caffeine consumption.
I say go with your intuition and drink lots of water instead!
Make more milk…
Herbs and Spices
It is not a known fact that herbs and spices directly cause adverse side effects to breast milk. The more likely effect they will have on your breast milk is the addition of added flavor. Whether this breast milk flavoring is favored by your baby will be fun to explore!
Please note that herbal supplements are not in question here as they are in a much more concentrated form.
Always consult with your doctor before taking any supplements or medications while breastfeeding.
Are there any herbs I can take that will increase my milk supply?
There are some herbs that do claim to help increase milk supply, and here is a list of the top herbs and plants recommended most.
7 beneficial herbs and plants that may help increase milk supply:
- Milk Thistle
- Red Raspberry Leaf
- Goats Rue
You may also like reading more about lactation supplements in this post:
Other ways to increase your milk supply
Along with eating the right foods to promote a healthy and abundant milk supply, there are some other tips I have for increasing milk supply.
4 Quick Tips to increase milk supply:
- Use a powerful pump that is designed to pull out the most milk possible – The pump I recommend.
- Frequently check the condition of your pumping parts and change when needed – How often to change pump parts.
- Use proper size breastshields to ensure maximum suction – Best fitting breastshields for all stages of pumping.
- Pump more often throughout the day – Here’s a system that allows you to pump anywhere at anytime!
11 Foods that Increase Milk Supply:
- Bone Broth
- Brewer’s Yeast
These 11 foods always worked for me when I needed a milk producing pick-me-up. See how I recommend using them in your every day diet.
7 Herbs to avoid while breastfeeding, that may hurt your milk supply
Above, we looked at some herbs that could be beneficial in helping to induce a more abundant milk supply.
Now lets point out some herbs you should avoid as they may have the opposite affect and actually decrease your milk supply.
Ah, citrus, my favorite scent and taste of all time! Just give me some sweet smelling citrus fruit and I am content.
But wait, is eating citrus allowed while you are breastfeeding?
Some say it’s ok and others – not so much.
Citrus foods are high in acidity which can cause some problems for an immature digestive system that most babies have the first few months of their life.
Your baby me be having some issues with the citrus you are eating if these symptoms start making an appearance.
Digestive upsets caused by citrus
- An upset stomach with gas and spitting up.
- A diaper rash can erupt from the acidic nature of her urine and bowel movements.
If you feel like your baby may be having a negative reaction to the glorious cup of freshly-squeezed o.j. you’ve been enjoying every morning, (because what new mom doesn’t have time make that, right?) then, try avoiding all citrus for a couple of weeks and note any changes.
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Final Thoughts about Foods to eat while Breastfeeding
There was a lot of information laid out in this post about what foods can positively and negatively affect your baby and milk supply while breastfeeding. I hope you found it all helpful and well-guided.
I like to end a long read like this with a final recap of highlighted topics to really cement the information into your mind.
However, if you have mom brain like me, you can always save this as a pin on Pinterest and refer back to it later.
Foods that may affect your breastfed baby:
- Trans Fats
- Herbs Citrus
Herbs that may increase your milk supply:
- Milk Thistle
- Red Raspberry Leaf
- Goats Rue
Foods to avoid that may hurt your milk supply:
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Breastfeeding Through A Bottle
Need help pumping? Maybe nursing isn’t taking the course you thought it would. Having a back-up breastfeeding plan is always worth investing in!
Pumping Breast milk is not an innate skill – it must be practiced and learned.
Get a huge head start and let “The Essentials of Exclusively Pumping” guide you toward an easier pumping experience that is much more likely to be successful without all of the pain and frustration I had to endure alone!
If you’re interested in learning more, head there now to take a look!