Seven foods to avoid for breastfeeding mothers

Contributed by: Anjali Sharma


Given that you are currently breastfeeding, you should be on the lookout for foods that may induce possible sensitivities in your child.

The food a nursing woman eats has a significant impact on the baby. While breastfeeding, it is very important to eat healthy foods regularly so that your baby gets enough breast milk and the nutrients it needs.

After giving birth, you want to lose your emotions and eat a burger or drink coffee.

Many nursing mothers believe that they can eat whatever they want, but there are certain foods and drinks that you should absolutely avoid. Some foods contain dangerous ingredients that can harm the newborn.

Here are five foods to limit or avoid while nursing, along with tips for determining if your diet is affecting your baby.

Say no to seafood with high mercury levels

Nowadays, there are many water bodies with high mercury levels, which translates to high mercury levels in seafood.

Unlike other seafood, which contain low amounts of mercury, shark and king mackerel contain high amounts of mercury. Experts advise against eating any seafood while breastfeeding.

Thus high mercury fish should be avoided during nursing. Types of fish to avoid include:

  • Orange roughy shark
  • bigeye tuna
  • King mackerel
  • Merlin
  • Swordfish
  • Tilefish

Breastfeeding mothers are advised to avoid high-mercury fish and eat 225 to 340 grams of low-mercury fish per week to guarantee adequate omega-3 intake and reduce the risk of mercury poisoning.


Caffeine should be avoided as it can irritate your baby and prevent them from sleeping.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that nursing mothers limit their daily caffeine intake to 300 milligrams, which is equivalent to two or three cups of coffee.

Women who are nursing should avoid energy drinks unless an exception is approved by a trusted health care professional because these products often contain high levels of caffeine in addition to additional vitamins and herbs.

Dairy products

Cow’s milk can cause intolerance in certain children. Allergens that enter the breast milk while consuming mother’s milk or milk products irritate the baby.

If your baby develops symptoms like colic and vomiting after consuming dairy products, you should stop consuming them temporarily. Eczema, skin conditions and sleep problems can also be some visible symptoms.

Children allergic to soy also exhibit dairy intolerance. Choosing organic meats, high-fat dairy products, and poultry is preferable because they contain no chemicals, growth hormones, or pesticides.

Herbal supplements

Seasonal foods with herbs and spices like cumin or tulsi are considered acceptable while nursing.

However, there are some safety issues with herbal supplements and teas as they may not be good for nursing mothers.

Most studies have found no change in breast milk production, although many women take the supplement under the assumption that it will help improve milk supply.

It is recommended to consult your doctor before using a supplement.

Food processing

When you have kids, processed foods are quick and easy to prepare. However, many such foods contain chemicals and preservatives that are harmful to a developing baby.

Allergies and newborn colic can both be brought on by additives. Your baby may also be irritable.

Your baby’s reaction may change negatively if you eat something spicy or something that makes you feel sick.

Sweeteners and sugar

Overall, sugar and artificial sweeteners are considered safe to consume as long as they are used in moderation.

Newborns are prevented from absorbing too much sugar by a number of internal barriers.


alcohol Transfers from mother to baby through breast milk and affects its neurological development.

For at least two years after delivery, you must completely abstain from alcohol.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that alcohol consumption should be limited to no more than 0.5 grams of alcohol per kilogram of the nursing mother’s body weight.

Higher doses may decrease the milk-letdown response and milk secretion.

last thought

These foods should be completely avoided for the first six weeks, especially if you have allergies. A nursing mother can consume these items in moderation before giving them up completely.

It is recommended that breastfeeding mothers limit their intake of foods high in added sugars and processed fats as these foods are often low in important nutrients and may alter your child’s dietary choices in the future. Before eliminating any item from your diet, it is essential to consult your doctor.

Moreover, you should opt for frequent health screenings. It provides you with vital insights into your health, allowing you to take the necessary measures to improve it.

As an add-on, make it a habit to take preventive health check-ups as they can help you gain complete insight into your health. This will help you take measures to promote your overall well-being.

Book a full physical health exam today!

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