When a mom gives birth and starts to breastfeed for the first time, the first questions I am asked are, “What foods are okay to eat? What should I avoid during breastfeeding?” The answer to these questions is easy…Nothing! I’ll explain in this post.
Should I Remove Certain Foods from my Diet While Breastfeeding?
There is only ONE reason to remove certain foods in your diet. The reason? If your baby shows negative symptoms after drinking breast milk. Consider how your baby responds to breast milk after drinking it. If symptoms occur such as fussiness, irritability, crying, gas, increased spitting up and/or drawing their legs up due to tummy pain, write down everything you ate that day. This lets you carefully look at your diet instead of getting rid of foods that may not be the cause of your baby’s distress. Keep in mind, most babies are not affected by foods in their mother’s diet. This post will help in case there are.
What if I Can’t Tell What Foods to Remove from my Diet?
As a lactation professional in the Institute for Maternal-Fetal Health at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, I follow a specific order of food removal from a mom’s diet. The order of potentially irritating foods is:
- Coffee or other caffeinated drinks
- Junk food (i.e. potato chips, french fries, candy, etc.)
When going through the food removal process, it’s a good idea to consult with a lactation professional to help with questions and any concerns. To find a lactation professional, I recommend using the International Lactation Consultant Association website or you can call me at 1-323-361-6198" aria-label="323-361-6198.">323-361-6198.
Food Removal Process
- Remove foods from your diet one at a time. Start with dairy.
- Continue breastfeeding. After 48 hours check if your baby’s symptoms have decreased or stopped completely.
- If the symptoms have either decreased or stopped, discontinue eating or drinking that particular food.
- If your baby’s symptoms do not decrease or go away completely after 48 hours, then remove the next food item on the list, from your diet. Feel free to add dairy back to your diet!
- Repeat steps 1 through 3.
- If these steps do not help, consult with a lactation consultant. There may be other issues in your diet causing your baby’s pain.
PRINTABLE FOOD REMOVAL “HOW-TO” FLIER FOR YOUR HOME!
Refer to this simple how-to guide on how to remove foods from your diet while breastfeeding. This is a good flier to post on your refrigerator or family bulletin board. Why not send it to other mommas too!
What Kind of Diet Should I Have if I am Breastfeeding?
This is a simple answer….a healthy and well-rounded diet! If you’re breastfeeding, make sure you are getting enough nutrients to support your healing body during the post-partum period. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, proteins and carbohydrates is recommended. I suggest carrying healthy snacks at all times, such as trail-mix, an apple or granola bar. Being a new mom is very tiring and having healthy snacks on hand helps maintain strength throughout the day. Did you know you burn an extra 300 calories per day when you’re breastfeeding? So, eating a healthy and well-rounded diet is very important. I found this resource from the United States Department of Agriculture very helpful about nutrition and breastfeeding. Did you need to remove foods from your diet while breastfeeding? I would love to hear about your experience.