Breastfeeding or nursing is the most recommended and ideal way of healthily feeding your baby. According to World Health Organization, 2 out of 3 infants are still not exclusively breastfed for the suggested six months in two decades. Compared to any other baby food, breastmilk is undoubtedly safe, clean, and has antibodies making it the perfect food for babies. It provides the energy and nutrients your baby needs and helps protect them from common illnesses. For breastfeeding moms, it is important to watch the food you eat as it can affect the flavor of your breastmilk. You also want to make sure that you are passing the right nutrients to your little one. Experts say that a mother's diet while breastfeeding can influence the child's food choices later in life. So what are the foods to avoid while breastfeeding?
If you are a fan of coffee, soda, energy drinks, teas and other chocolate beverages, you may want to cut down to 300 mg of caffeine or 2 - 4 cups of coffee per day or more less. Caffeine can be present on breastmilk due to excessive intake and can cause trouble sleeping to your baby and make them irritable. It is best to drink decaf for breastfeeding mothers.
Fish high in Mercury
There's nothing wrong in eating fish while breastfeeding. In fact, you can get omega-3 fatty acids like docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) which are essential for your baby's brain development. The only thing you need to watch out for fishes high in mercury like king mackerel, big eye tuna, marlin, swordfish, orange roughy, shark, and tilefish. You can eat seafood twice per week, with servings up to 6 ounces. Healthy fishes like salmon, trout, and tilapia.
It is best to avoid drinking alcohol while breastfeeding as per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On occasion, it's okay as long as it is limited intake and wait to breastfeed until it is completely out of your system. One drink can let alcohol linger in your system for 2 to 3 hours. One standard drink is fine, that is 5 ounces (125 mL) of wine, 12 ounces (355 mL) of beer, or 1.5 ounces (45 mL) of hard alcohol. Moms will have to be cautious as excessive intake of alcohol is linked to psychomotor skills and cognitive delay, disruptive sleep patterns and decreases milk output by 20%.
Highly processed foods
A balanced diet is what health experts suggest as breastfeeding have high nutrient demands. It is important to keep mommy healthy too as she transports the vitamins and other nutrients from the food she eats to their little ones through breastfeeding. Foods that are high in calories, sugars, and unhealthy fat or in other words the processed foods should be limited or best avoided. According to studies, what the mom consumes while breastfeeding can impact their child's food choices, and eating habits as they grow. Opt for more healthy foods that are high in fiber, has healthy fats, fruits and veggies, etc.
Some herbal supplements
New moms want to increase their milk supply and some go for herbal teas and other supplements. There are many herbal supplements out in the market and some may not be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States. Although, there is a lack of research on the effects of these supplements to breastfeeding women, safety is still a concern. These supplements might be contaminated with highly toxic metals so breastfeeding moms should still be careful. It is still best to consult your provider regarding a supplement you want to take.
According to a recent study from Children's Hospital Los Angeles, moms who consumes large amount of sugary drinks everyday while breastfeeding, can make their breastmilk high in sugar that can be transferred to their little one. It is found that moms who consumes too much sugar while breastfeeding affects the child's cognitive development compared to mothers who doesn't drink sugary beverages. Not only that it will affect your baby, but it will also have an effect on your health. High sugar foods or drinks are linked to Type 2 diabetes and its complications. It is best to consume healthy diet and avoid sugary beverages.
Watch out for herbs
Herbs may sound healthy as they come from natural resources but there are some herbs that can decrease your milk supply or even cut it down. Small amounts used in cooking but consuming more of these herbs will affect your breastmilk production.
Herbs that can lower milk supply:
Lemon balm Oregano Parsley Peppermint (can also be found on candies, or menthol cough drops) Spearmint Sage Thyme Yarrow Chickweed Herb Robert Black walnut
Also avoid these herbs, as they are contraindicated to nursing moms and harmful to babies:
If you notice that your baby is gassy, and has colic, you may want to check if you are consuming some of these foods, broccoli, cabbage, beans, brussel sprouts, garlic-seasoned foods, dairy, whole grains, plums, citrus fruits, peaches, apricots, and carbonated drinks. You may want to cut back on these foods for a few weeks to check if it helps relief your baby's symptoms.
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