Food to Eat and Avoid During Breastfeeding

8 min read

Breastfeeding is a beautiful yet very important phase of all mothers. During pregnancy, all of us have a lot of cravings for different foods. Breastfeeding is a phase where all these cravings have to be put aside, and wise choices of foods have to be made. The food that you eat affects not only you but your little one also. So, now let us get along and learn the various food to eat and avoid during breastfeeding. This includes fruits and vegetables that you can eat and avoid during pregnancy. We shall also answer the questions such as grains that offer rich nutrients, are the good sources of proteins while breastfeeding, the most important source of calcium and vitamins can some food increase breastmilk?

 food to avoid while breastfeeding

In This Article

Food to Eat and Avoid During Breastfeeding

The craving for food will continue even after your delivery. You will feel more hungry than usual. Some doctors prescribe an additional 500 calories to your diet. But, what you eat is more important. You have to be very careful in choosing your diet. Some yummy food might be a treat to your taste buds, but not your tummy and the little one’s body.

The more and more you are cautious about the nutrients, the more likely your little one will benefit. Here are some tips that you should consider before choosing your diet. Briefly, it guides on the food to eat and avoid during pregnancy:

Do’s

  • There is no limit to the water that consume. You need to drink a lot of water.
  • If you are thirsty, grab a bottle and drink water. Do not postpone your thirst. Drinking more water helps to secrete more milk.
  • When you feel hungry between your meals or late at night, grab a fruit or low-fat dairy products.
  • Make sure you follow a healthy food regime.
  • Don’t skip any of your prenatal vitamins.

Dont’s

  • Take deliberate efforts to avoid highly processed foods, high in calories and high in sugar.
  •  Caffeine is the important content to be kept at a minimum or completely avoid during breastfeeding. There are high chances that the caffeine that you consume ends up in your breastmilk. The babies find it difficult to digest them.
  • Say a big no to fishes that are high in mercury.
  • Alcohol, cigarette, and drugs are to be avoided as they can affect your breastmilk.

Now that we have discussed the foods to eat and avoid during breastfeeding, let us discuss more on what fruits to eat during breastfeeding.

Top 10 Fruits to Eat While Breastfeeding

Fruits are our best friends during breastfeeding. But, sometimes we have to choose our friends. So, the following are the top ten fruits to eat while breastfeeding.

1. Avacado

During breastfeeding, it is vital to consume fruits that enhance the level of milk production. Avacado is enriched with nutrients and helps lactating mothers to maintain blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Avacado contains rich fatty acids, including omega 3, Omega 6, and Omega 9. The Omega 3 fatty acids help in enhancing the baby’s intellectual growth.

2. Papaya

Papaya is one of the best fruits to consume during breastfeeding. It contains potassium, a dietary fiber that helps mothers prevent heart disease and healthy bowel movements. It is also one of the low-calorie fruit and helps in weight management. Also, it is widely known for its lactogenic effect and helps increase milk production in breastfeeding mothers.

3. Sapota

Breastfeeding may be tiring at times, especially during the initial days after delivery. Sapota acts as the best savior during the tiring days. It contains Vitamin A and Vitamin C, which helps to boost energy levels and immunity. It also contains magnesium, calcium, and phosphorous, which helps maintain strong bones and a healthy heart. Also, it gives a perfect cure for nausea and fatigue.

4. Bananas

Breastfeeding makes you shed the extra pounds that you gained during the pregnancy phase. Losing the extra pounds makes you tired. Bananas are rich in vitamins and minerals, which increase folic acid levels. Eating bananas during breastfeeding helps you to balance the calories that you shed during breastfeeding.

5. Green Papaya

Green papaya is a variety of yellow papaya which is unripe and induces lactation. It contains essential vitamins including A, B, C, and E that support lactating mothers. The green papaya pulp contains 88% water, 11% carbs, and a small portion of vitamin C. It is the best fruit to help you keep hydrated during breastfeeding.

6. Figs

Sugar cravings are very common during breastfeeding. It is always best to consume natural sweeteners. Figs are the best source of natural sugars and help to satisfy your cravings at ease.

7. Mangoes

Can I eat mango while breastfeeding? This is the common question every mother asks herself. The answer is definitely yes. Consuming mango during breastfeeding is good. But, sometimes, it can cause allergies to the baby. So, it is advised to consume limited portions of mango.

8. Apricots

Apricots are lactating friendly fruit. They are enriched with Vitamin A, C, K, E, niacin, potassium, copper, manganese, and Phosphorous. They help in controlling the activity of estrogen and also serve as a good source of fiber. These vitamins and chemicals help in regulating the lactating hormones in breastfeeding mothers.

9. Prunes

Prunes are popularly known as European plums – they are dried plums. It is rich in dietary fiber and prevents constipation. Prunes contain mineral potassium. It helps to boost your nervous system. It also contains iron and boron. It also helps to avoid anemia and to promote muscle health.

10. Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe is also commonly called musk melons and is a perfect breastfeeding partner. It keeps you hydrated and energetic during the breastfeeding journey. Even if you are the choosiest person about fruits, cantaloupe does not fail to impress your taste buds. Don’t forget to include them in your fruit bowl or snack.

Top 5 Vegetables To Eat During Breastfeeding

vegetables during breastfeeding

Choosing the right vegetable is very important. The food that we eat determines the major nutrients that we consume. The following are the best vegetables that you much consider so that you can judge which food to eat and avoid during breastfeeding.

1. Carrots

Carrots are bundled with a bunch of lactation enhancing qualities. It contains high levels of Vitamin A. Vitamin A helps lactating mothers promote lactation and improve milk quality. They also contain phytoestrogens and beta-carotene. It also helps in keeping up the energy levels.

2. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are the major source of Vitamin A, Potassium, and carotenoids. Vitamin A is very important for the newborn. It is a nutrient that enhances the vision, growth, reproductivity, and immunity of the baby. The babies depend completely on the breastfeeding mothers for the vitamins. Eating one medium-sized sweet potato meets the daily recommended vitamin A requirement of breastfeeding mothers.

3. Pumpkin

Pumpkin is one of the best vegetables to eat during breastfeeding. It is enriched with beta-carotene, Vitamin C, and fiber. The fiber helps you keep hydrated and prevents constipation. Vitamin C helps in the quick healing of the internal wound and helps in boosting the immunity system.

4. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are fruit. But, they are used much alongside all the vegetables. So, they are classified as vegetables. Tomatoes contain 94.5% of water. You will be amazed at the balance of 5.5% of nutritional components. Vitamin A, Vitamin C, folic acid, and antioxidants, including alpha-lipoic acid, beta-carotene, choline, lycopene, and lutein. It is bundled with healthy nutrients to aid breastfeeding mothers.

5. Spinach

Traditionally, green and leafy vegetables are said to increase the milk supply of lactating mothers. Spinach tops the list. Spinach contains folic acid, high levels of vitamins, minerals, and phytoestrogens. It is also enriched with potassium, calcium, and thiamin. Vitamin B6 found in spinach plays a major role in milk production. It is also a strong healer for anemic mothers. It helps to enhance the health of the baby.

Food to Eat During Breastfeeding: Grains Offer Rich Nutrients

Grains are the best choice to make a healthier diet during breastfeeding. The whole grains contain a lot of fiber, which helps you keep fuller for a longer time, have your blood sugar levels under control, and drive you away from the common problem of constipation.

Whole grains are also completely complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates make you feel fuller for a longer period. You will not feel energy dips as you might feel in refined carbs. They are also considered to be an important source of Vitamin B and minerals. Don’t forget to include the following whole grains in your diet.

  • Bread
  • Brown Rice
  • Pasta
  • Oatmeal

Food to Eat During Breastfeeding: Top 5 Good Sources of Protein

Proteins are important nutrients for breastfeeding mothers. It helps them to boost milk production. The proteins also get passed on to the babies to have healthy growth.

The following are considered to be a good source of protein for breastfeeding mothers.

1. Lean Meat

Lean Meat such as Salmon or sardines is rich in DHA and Omega 3 fatty acids. They help in maintaining the hormone balances and increase the breast milk supply. They also help in reducing inflammation during the
recovery from delivery.

2. Eggs

Eggs are enriched with protein and choline, lutein, vitamin B12, Vitamin D, riboflavin, and folate. They are easy to make and healthy snacks.

3. Beans and Lentils

Beans and lentils are rich sources of proteins, fiber, micronutrients, and certain phytochemicals. Nursing mothers are recommended to include protein-rich foods in their daily diet.

 4. Tofu

Tofu is commonly known as soybean curd, is rich in protein. It also contains abundant magnesium, calcium, vitamin E, Iron, and minerals. Tofu has a low-calorie value, zero cholesterol, and good quality protein that is free from gluten. It has lactose content which helps the lactating mothers in increasing the milk supply.

5. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are the highest protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fat. It helps to renovate your skin. Almonds are rich in protein and are considered to be the best source of non-dairy calcium. There are various seeds to include in your diet, including pumpkin seeds, fenugreek seeds, sesame seeds, etc. They are a bundle of fiber, iron, and magnesium packed together with proteins to help boost breast milk production and keep up the energy levels for new mothers.

Dairy Products: Much Needed Source of Calcium and Vitamins During Breastfeeding

Having a healthy bone is necessary before, during, and after pregnancy, especially during breastfeeding. A balanced diet with adequate calcium is required both for the mother and the baby. During breastfeeding, the body’s requirement for calcium is greater. This is because both the mother and the baby consume the available calcium—the low–fat dairy products including milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream. However, it is important to note that, sometimes, the diary products might cause colic in babies. So, if you find any discomfort in babies, consult your doctor who will tell you what food to eat during breastfeeding to ensure proper calcium intake.

Food to Eat During Breastfeeding: Can Some Foods Increase Breastmilk?

The most common question asked by mothers is – Is my baby getting enough milk? If you have a low milk supply, apart from the fruits and vegetables mentioned above, you can also include the following food in your diet to increase the breast milk supply. This list definitely captures the important food you should eat while breastfeeding.

  • Fennel Seeds
  • Garlic
  • Cumin seeds
  • Basil
  • Barley
  • Asparagus
  • Bitter Gourd
  • Dill Seeds
  • Milk
  • Chickpea
  • Beets
  • Watermelon
  • Greentea
  • Curry leaves
  • Grapefruit

Top 12 Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding

food to avoid while breastfeeding (1)

Just like you look after what to eat, you must also know what not to eat during breastfeeding. Try to avoid the following foods while breastfeeding.

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • High mercury Fish
  • Peppermint, parsley, and sage
  • Spicy food
  • Chocolate
  • Peanuts
  • Dairy products – if your baby has an allergic reaction
  • Processed or Junk food
  • Legumes
  • Wheat
  • Cruciferous vegetables including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels, and turnips.

This list captures mostly all the food that you should avoid during breastfeeding, but it’s always better to consult your doctor for your diet-related issues.

FAQs

1. What Fruits Create Gas in Breastfed Babies?

Gas in breastfed babies might be caused by fiber-rich fruits, including apricots, prunes, peaches, pear, plums, and citrus fruits.

2. What are the Vegetables I Should Avoid While Breastfeeding?

It is better to avoid cruciferous vegetables – Cabbage, Cauliflower, and Brussels.

3. What Food Causes Colic in Breastfed Babies?

A. Colic is caused by the following food items in the mother’s diet.

  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Chocolate
  • Onion
  • Milk
  • Caffeine

Breastfeeding is a phase where mothers have to be very careful about what they eat. The fortune or misfortune is not only for the mother but also for the newborn. We have given you an insight into the food to eat and avoid during breastfeeding. Choose wisely and have happy breastfeeding.

References:

Pregnancy, Breastfeeding and Bone Health, bones.nih.gov

Top 10 superfoods for breastfeeding moms, news.sanfordhealth.org

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