20 Foods Moms Must Avoid When They're Breastfeeding

Who knew the foods a nursing mom eats could be so important? Okay, most moms and soon-to-be moms probably knew that. However, not all foods are important to consider. Still, there are some foods that moms need to take a closer look at.Yes, there is a such thing as too much of a good thing.

While some moms who decide to breastfeed their child might be waiting for their child to enter this world so they can finally dig in to what they have been missing out on for the last up to nine months, there are still some foods that experts say should be off-limits, or at the very least, limited.

When it comes to the foods on this list, even we were surprised that famous doctors and baby experts alike say aren’t good while breastfeeding. So it’s imperative to know; because otherwise healthy foods and delicacies like broccoli and an even a great glass of orange juice aren’t as healthy for a baby that’s nursing as most would think. So, check out 20 foods moms who are breastfeeding should avoid as much as they can.

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20 Too Much Vitamin C

We would have never guessed Vitamin C was on this list if it weren’t for Dr. Oz. While we’re often told to consume as much Vitamin C as possible in the form of chewable vitamins or even orange juice, this isn’t the case for moms that are breastfeeding their infants. While the idea that things like orange juice also have the citrus impact, Vitamin C can also cause mild diaper rash for nursing little ones. While it doesn’t have to be completely avoided altogether, the important thing is to monitor a baby’s response to it after feeding to see if it’s creating a negative impact.

19 An Increased Amount Of Garlic

Oh, garlic. So many have a love/hate relationship with it. And unless a new mom who’s nursing doesn’t want it to infiltrate their breastmilk (i.e. have it taste a little more garlicky), The Bump says it should be avoided. Besides, it really depends on the baby when it comes to the reaction the mommies will get. If it’s a mom that went hard on the garlic during her pregnancy, the food might be safe to eat because the baby will already be used to it. But if it’s something new to mom and the baby, it might be a good idea to hold off on adding it to the diet until Mom is done breastfeeding. But trust, it will be worth the wait.

18 Red Pepper

It’s totally normal to want to go in on a red pepper or even include them in an amazing pasta or a rice dish. But for moms that are breastfeeding their little ones, Love Your Baby blog says this is another food that’s a no-no. This food product, along with capsaicin (which is a major ingredient found in chili peppers), has been known to spark up dermatitis for babies that are breastfeeding. It has caused a perianal rash in the past as well. Considering spicy foods altogether aren’t that healthy, as readers will soon see, a great alternative might be more savory items if breastfeeding moms are looking for something with an extra kick.

17 Broccoli and Other Gassy Veggies

Who knew broccoli and other vegetables had the power to make a baby that is nursing so gassy? Apparently, they definitely have a laxative impact and should be avoided as much as possible, according to Baby Center. The other veggies on the list include (but of course aren’t limited to) cucumber, cauliflower, and peppers. Each of these and more can make a little one’s gas go a bit too far while their digestive system is still developing. While it might be tempting to introduce an infant to these foods earlier than later, it might not be the best idea during the breastfeeding phase.

16 Foods Not Prepared Properly

No worries! This doesn’t include sushi. Actually, sushi is completely okay to consume while nursing. Still, this point does include any cross-contamination or meats that haven’t been prepared the right way. Fit Pregnancy advises nursing moms to use a variety of knives to cut their meats and vegetables to guarantee they have been cooked properly. It’s also imperative to wash hands before preparing food for anyone, let alone a nursing mom. Ultimately, it’s really important to cook food at an appropriate temperature to help prevent any illnesses for Mom and baby. The trick comes down to preparing it correctly from beginning to end.

15 Cow’s Milk

If a nursing baby is having symptoms of allergies, Babble says cow’s milk could be the number one reason why. But it’s not because of the lactose. Actually, it’s said to be due to the dairy protein that can make its way through breastmilk and spark up issues for infants. Keep in mind, this doesn’t just apply to milk, but products and foods that includes cow’s milk. So it’s helpful to read food labels. But before any new mom goes crazy, like all of the other items on this list, they might simply just need to cut back, depending on how their child responds to dairy.

14 Junk Food

While some nursing moms indulged in their favorite flavors of potato chips and ice cream while pregnant (hey, eating for two is a very just and worthy cause), they now should try to avoid eating junk food while nursing, according to First 1,000 Days. And the reason is pretty obvious – there’s absolutely no nutrition in it for Mom or the baby. As good and amazing as it tastes, the truth is that it’s unhealthy and can contribute to negative eating habits for the little one. Of course, it’s not bad to treat yourself. But it’s even more important to put boundaries and limits on how much junk food that’s eaten if it absolutely can’t be avoided.

13 Certain Medication

It might sound like common sense or even self-explanatory for why nursing moms shouldn’t take certain kinds of medication. Interestingly enough, not all medication is off of the list. Of course, women who are breastfeeding should talk to their doctors about which ones are appropriate. In the meantime, Fit Pregnancy says nursing moms should avoid pseudoephedrine, methergine, and bromcriptine. While these sound like nothing more than medical jargon, the first on the list can be found in medicines like Sudafed, and the second is commonly used to help uterine bleeding women experience after childbirth. The last on the list is often included in Parlodel or Cycloset.

12 Cherries & Prunes

Even though some fruits are big no-nos, cherries and prunes have made their way to the list as well. According to Mom Junction, cherries have the power to make the baby that is nursing even more gassy than usual (because it’s no secret even babies can have a surprising amounts of gas). Considering babies already have this problem because little digestive system is still growing and getting used to the outside world, cherries might only make it worse. The site suggests moms that are nursing to speak with their doctor about alternatives to cherries that can be just as healthy; at least during the time she’s breastfeeding.

11 Fish With Mercury

While moms who are breastfeeding might be craving their favorite fish (especially after giving it up during their pregnancy), they might have to hold off on it a little bit longer, according to The Bump. At least while they are nursing their adorable newborn. Even though most fish already contain mercury, the ones that are considered the most potentially dangerous are shark, tilefish, king mackerel, and swordfish. Considering most families don’t have these types of fish lying around, it might not be much of a sacrifice. Plus, the good news is that fish and seafood that are considered okay are shrimp, salmon, catfish, and pollock.

10 Citrus Fruits

Kids might love citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and of course lemons as they get older. But when they’re drinking via breastmilk, it’s vital for moms to try to avoid citrus fruits, according to Bun Maternity. And it’s all thanks to the level of acids these fruits typically contain. Being exposed to citrus fruits can also irritate the child’s growing gastrointestinal (GI) tract. And we certainly don’t want that. Even though there are moms that say the child they’re nursing isn’t affected by citrus fruits, it might be better to be safe than sorry.

9 Strawberries

Deryn Thorpe feature on new edibles for spring - strawberries

Yes, they might be pretty healthy for anyone. But strawberries are no bueno for a nursing mom; especially if a strawberry allergy is one that is common in the family, based on Metro’s advice. While strawberries are also a common allergen, another negative aspect is that they could also cause gas for a baby that is nursing with their amazing mommy. Just like the other healthy items on this list that might not be best for a breastfeeding mom, it’s best to ask a physician or a doctor for healthy alternatives. Because we know how tempting it is to want to replace strawberries with bacon or French fries.

8 Certain Herbs

Who doesn’t love a little flavor? Unfortunately for moms that are nursing, The Bump says they should try to avoid certain herbs like peppermint, parsley, and sage. They taste great, so what’s so bad about them? Apparently, they have “antigalactagogues,” which can reduce the amount of breastmilk a nursing mom is producing. While a little bit to help season your food isn’t going to affect your breastmilk production levels, the site suggests that moms slowly remove it from their diet if they notice their production is getting lower after they eat these items. So, it’s not all bad.

7 Onions

Onions are on the top of the list of foods that can cause colic (pain in the abdomen from gas) for a nursing a little one, according to Love Your Baby. As unfortunate as it is, this list is pretty long and also includes beans, dairy products, shellfish, tofu, tomatoes, cabbage, and even iron supplements! So consider holding off on these things while nursing a newborn and growing child. Still, it seen like the foods most think are the healthiest are not okay for breastfeeding and should be avoided as much as possible, according to the site. At the end of the day, it’s really about what works for your baby.

6 Cup Of Joe

As much as any mom is going to need a good old cup of coffee during the early days of motherhood, especially during the days you’re nursing your infant, it might not be best. The Bump advises against drinking coffee excessively. They don’t necessarily have to cut it out altogether, but the site suggests for moms who have just welcomed their bundles of joy, and are nursing, to hold off on going overboard with coffee. Why? Well, just like with adults, taking in too much coffee has the potential to make a child who’s nursing get the jitters. For moms who absolutely can’t steer clear of coffee, the site suggests them to drink it after a nursing session is complete.

5 Chocolate

Oh no! Unfortunately for nursing moms that double as chocolate lovers, chocolate is on this list. And it’s simply because it’s almost in the same category as coffee when it comes to levels of caffeine that could make for an unhappy baby sooner than later. But of course, this doesn’t mean you have to keep saying no to your favorite dessert or an amazing triple chocolate cake for the entire time you’re nursing. Experts over at Bun Maternity say nursing moms should wait several hours before breastfeeding after taking in and enjoying amazing chocolate. So all hope is not lost!

4 Spices

As much as we all love to add a little flair to food with our favorite spices like cinnamon and chili powder, it actually affects the way breastmilk tastes, which isn’t the best for the baby or their mood. According to Metro, spices such as curry, chili powder, and as stated above, garlic, could not only make the breastmilk taste a little awkward, but could make the child not want to eat because he/she hasn’t acquired taste for the spices yet. It might be tempting to show a little one cooking skills, but nursing moms might have to wait a little while to do that.

3 Common Allergy Foods

The items at the top of this list, according to Babble, are soy, wheat, corn, eggs and peanuts. Oh for the love of peanuts. As much as anyone (who’s not allergic to it) loves to binge watch Netflix with a jar of peanut butter and a spoon on hand, it could cause problems for the baby as peanuts are one of the foods that pass into breastmilk and impact the supply. For other infants, it could be wheat, egg, corn, and soy. Taking out these items from a daily health diet could help pinpoint any issues the little one might be having.

2 Wheat/Gluten

Craving an amazing peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Maybe think about holding off on the wheat and gluten while nursing an infant child. Gluten is a protein that’s included in wheat and is known as a common allergen. Bun Maternity also suggests that if Mom or Dad have a low tolerance with gluten and wheat, moms that are breastfeeding should be especially careful with consuming these foods. If a nursing mom notices their child is experiencing hives or swelling after eating, consider if the wheat is a cause. It basically has the same response that any allergic reaction could trigger.

1 Spicy Food

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 12: Bottles of Sriracha hot chili sauce are shown on December 12, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Huy Fong Foods, the maker of Sriracha, says it can't ship any more of its sauce until next month because in California, where the sauce is produced, the Department of Public Health is now enforcing stricter guidelines that require sauces be held for 35 days before they are shipped. (Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

To be honest, The Bump says spicy food pretty much has the same impact on a nursing mom and her baby as garlic. Again, if it’s a mom that loved spicy food while carrying, the baby is most likely already prepped and ready for them. Still, there is that risk that the child just might not like it. Either way, it does impact how a nursing mom’s breastmilk will taste. If a mom has been noticing her child is a little extra fussy after she eats spicy food and then nurses, simply cut back or avoid it altogether. Easy, right?

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