Foods to Avoid while Breastfeeding

Is there a List of Foods to Avoid while Breastfeeding?

Most foods are safe to eat while breastfeeding. A mother only needs to start looking at her diet for culprit foods, after she has considered other reasons why her baby might be cranky.

Have a look at the breastfeeding a fussy infant page, to find out whether you should change your diet or change something else.

Read other possible reasons for colic symptoms in your baby.

If you think that it is definitely the food in your diet that is causing the discomfort in your baby, you can try to eliminate one culprit food at a time, until you find the one that might be causing the problem.

It may take up to two weeks before your system is cleared of the food that you have eliminated from your diet. If the gassiness, fussiness and crying does not ease with specific food elimination, you can rest assured, that most babies will stop experiencing these types of problems from about three months onwards.

The fussiness, if caused by your breast milk, is usually the result of something that was eaten three to six hours before; this will give you an idea of what could be causing the problem.

Your baby’s tolerance to the specific food will change as he/she gets older and as Baby's system matures. It is best to delay giving the problem food to your baby before 12 months. After this period, you can start to give small amounts of the culprit food to your child.

What Foods to Avoid while Breastfeeding
Those that every Breastfeeding Mom should stay away from

Foods to Avoid when Breastfeeding

  • Shark, Swordfish, Tilefish and King Mackerel are the most important foods to avoid while breastfeeding. (These fish contain a high mercury content).
  • Tuna. (No more than one tuna steak or two 170g cans a week).
  • All fresh water fish that comes from places known to be contaminated. Read more about eating fish while breastfeeding.
  • Stay away from artificial sweeteners like Saccharin. 
  • Stay away from processed foods; they contain too many additives.
  • Alcohol is allowed in small amounts. Read more about drinking alcohol while breastfeeding.
  • The extra fat on meat should be cut off, because it absorbs toxins.
  • Coffee (limit to two cups a day). Read more about breastfeeding and caffeine intake.

Foods to Avoid while Breastfeeding
Common Foods that May Cause your Baby Discomfort 

Avoiding common food allergens (any substance that can cause an allergy), can decrease the risk of your baby developing allergic reactions.

Not all foods affect all babies in the same way; every mother and baby are different. If you or your husband have any allergic reaction to a specific food, then it is best to avoid that particular food whilst breastfeeding. 

Some common culprit foods to be aware of:

(only causes problems in some babies) 

Beans, Cabbage, Cherries, Corn, Dairy products, Garlic, Onions, Shellfish, Tomato, Broccoli, Caffeine, Chocolate, Corn syrup, Eggs, Hot peppers, Peanuts, Soy and tofu, Wheat, Brussel sprouts, Cauliflower, Citrus fruits and juices, Cucumber, Food dyes, Iron and other supplements and medication, Prunes andSpicy food.

Foods to Avoid while Breastfeeding
Signs that you need to Start Avoiding certain Foods

Signs that your Breastfed Baby is Allergic to something in your diet

  • Colic symptoms.
  • Diaper rash.
  • Runny nose.
  • Eczema. 

Read more about how to handle food sensitivities in the breastfed infant.

If you are going to be eliminating something like dairy from your diet, you will need to see a dietitian, so that they can help balance your diet; also remember to keep on taking your vitamins. 

Top of “breastfeeding foods to avoid" page

Other pages on breastfeeding problems in connection with this page on foods to avoid while breastfeeding

- Gassy foods to avoid while breastfeeding gas related

- Diet guidelines “foods to eat while nursing"

- Breastfeeding a lactose intolerant baby

- Breastfeeding a fussy baby

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