Are you What you Eat? How Diet Affects a Mother’s Milk

Are you What you Eat? How Diet Affects a Mother’s Milk

You don’t have to maintain worry that many of the foods you eat are going to affect your baby when you’re breastfeeding. There is, in fact, no common list of foods to avoid. What affects one baby may not have any effect on another.

If your baby is affected by what you are eating, you will notice more than just a general fussiness. Some of the symptoms you may notice when your baby is sensitive to what you are eating are vomiting, nausea, spitting up excessively, rashes, hives, wheezing, dry skin or a sore bottom.

How does a Mother’s Nutrient Intake Affect Breastfeeding?

It is always important to eat a healthy, balanced diet while breastfeeding for your own sake. And if you do so, it’s not necessary to take vitamins or supplements. If due to any reason you feel that your diet is not what ideally it should be, you should start taking the vitamin and nutrition supplements.

The amount of fat you eat does not affect how much fat your breast milk contains but it does have some influence on the kind of fat in the milk. For instance, a study has shown that mothers’ eating a traditional maize diet have less monounsaturated fatty acids in their breast milk than urban mothers eating more fats and animal proteins.

Research has shown that what drives the fat content of the milk is the fullness of the breasts. The emptier your breasts, the higher the milk’s fat content.  But it is the volume of the milk that correlates with growth in fully breastfed babies.

What foods should I avoid while breastfeeding?

When you are breastfeeding, you do not have to avoid any foods unless the baby reacts when eating a particular food. You can generally eat what you like, and in the quantity you like.

It is commonly believed that nursing mothers should stay away from spicy foods and ‘gassy’ foods but breast milk is not made up of what goes through the mother’s digestive tract but what passes into her blood.

There are certain foods that everyone, including nursing mothers, should avoid, such as types of fish that are high in mercury. Certain fish that feed on other fish, like shark and swordfish, may accumulate high amounts of mercury.

  • Caffeine is fine in moderation, but babies whose mothers avoided caffeine during pregnancy may be more sensitive to it. Younger babies are also more sensitive to caffeine so you may be able to drink coffee without any ill effects when your baby is older.
  • Current research has established that babies are not harmed by the occasional use of alcohol while breastfeeding (1-2 drinks on occasion). Nursing should take place at least two hours after drinking the alcohol to minimize the concentration in the breast milk. A newborn has an immature liver, and it is more affected by the alcohol content of the milk.
  • Cow’s milk and peanut butter does pass into breast milk. This can be a problem if food allergies exist. Some mothers prefer to eliminate allergens that are common in their families, such as cow’s milk, peanuts, eggs, soy, and wheat.
  • If your baby has a bad reaction when you eat a certain food, you should try cutting it out of your diet for a while to see if the symptoms improve. It may take quite a while before you notice an improvement. If you eat that food again and your baby reacts, you need to eliminate it completely.

What is needed to maintain your milk supply?

The simple fact is that the more your baby feeds, the more milk you produce. Under normal circumstances, the breasts continue to make milk as long as the baby continues to drink it.

Excessive dieting or forgetting to drink enough may affect your milk supply. Drinking to satisfy your thirst and eating to satisfy your hunger should be enough to maintain an ample milk supply. The best advice is to pay attention to the signals coming from your body.