Be Aware Of What To Eat And Avoid While Breastfeeding
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Giving birth to a baby is said to be a life-changing experience for the new mother. When the baby is born, the woman needs loads of nutrients as her body is still recovering after giving birth, and it is essential to look after the infant's nutrition as well. The infant's diet also depends on the food and nutrition of the mother.  

As soon as the baby is born, they are given breast milk, which is said to be the best food for at least six months as it provides the best nutrition. Mother’s milk is not only necessary for the overall development of the baby but also protects the child from several diseases. During breastfeeding, it is essential to take care of your diet. It is important to know what to eat and what to avoid while you’re breastfeeding. Certain food items can affect the health of the baby and the quality of breast milk. 

According to Natalie Castro, the Chief Wellness Dietician at Baptist Health South Florida, mentioned in the YouTube channel called ‘Baptist Health’ that, “When you’re breastfeeding, you want to make that you’re following a healthy diet because even though you’ll no longer have the baby inside of you, you’re putting nutrients inside the milk you’re providing the baby.” “Eating a very balanced diet packed with fruits and vegetables, low in processed foods and fried foods, making sure you’re getting your proteins, vitamins and minerals and fibre are very important when you’re breastfeeding,” she furthers stated. 

In this article, we have jotted down the foods that must be included as well as avoided while you’re breastfeeding the newborn. Take a look:   

Foods And Nutrients To Be Included  

  • Protein  

Protein plays a crucial role in tissue repair, immune function, and the synthesis of enzymes and hormones in lactating mothers. Besides, protein is a building block for the growth and development of the infant, as breast milk serves as the primary source of nutrition in the early stages of life. Some of the best sources of protein include lean beef and pork, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds.   

  • Vegetables   

It is said that mothers who are breastfeeding their children should indulge in consuming three cups of vegetables per day. Packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fibre, vegetables provide the necessary nutrients to support the mother's postpartum recovery and energy levels. Moreover, they play a significant role in maintaining a balanced diet, aiding in digestion, and preventing constipation, which can be common post-delivery. Additionally, vegetables enhance the quality of breastfeeding milk. Include vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, spinach, red sweet peppers, kale, and sweet potatoes in your diet.


  • Dairy   

During pregnancy and lactation, women pull calcium from their bones. Thus, it is absolutely necessary to increase the intake of dairy products. Moms should consume three or four cups of dairy products per day. These nutrients are beneficial for postpartum recovery, energy levels, and overall health. Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yoghurt can be included in your diet.   

  • Grains  

Grains, particularly whole grains like oats, whole wheat, quinoa, and brown rice, provide complex carbohydrates that supply sustained energy levels necessary to meet the increased demands of lactation. Grains are also a significant source of dietary fibre, aiding in digestion and preventing constipation, which can be common postpartum. Furthermore, it improves the nutritional composition of breast milk and provides the growing infant with essential nutrients required for optimal development and growth.   

  • Fruits  

Fruits like bananas, oranges, grapefruit, apricots, cantaloupe, mangoes, and prunes can be included in the diet of breastfeeding mothers. Fruits have an array of essential nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants that contribute to both maternal well-being and the nourishment of the breastfeeding infant. Rich in vitamins like vitamin C, A, and various B vitamins, as well as dietary fibre, fruits offer a natural source of energy and support the mother's postpartum recovery and immune function.    

Foods To Be Avoided   

  • Raw Vegetables  

It is important to avoid raw and gassy vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli. It is difficult to digest and can cause gastrointestinal discomfort in both the mother and the child. Besides, raw vegetables may contain harmful bacteria and pesticides that may be transmitted to both the mother and the breastfeeding baby. Cooking vegetables thoroughly can help eliminate these risks and make the nutrients more easily absorbable.   

  • Caffeine   

If you’re a lactating mother, you must avoid the consumption of caffeine-rich drinks like coffee or tea. Caffeine transfers through breast milk to the baby, who has an immature metabolism. High caffeine intake by breastfeeding mothers has been associated with irritability, fussiness, poor sleep, and even gastrointestinal disturbances in some infants. Instead, opt for water or caffeine-free herbal teas to ensure the well-being of both the nursing mother and the child. Dr Aparna Sharma who talks about health, nourishment and wellness in her YouTube channel mentioned that “You must avoid food that possess caffeine like tea, coffee or soda.” 

  • Fish   

These fish contain high levels of mercury, which are harmful for pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children. Examples of high-mercury fish include sharks, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. Consumption of these fish leads to mercury poisoning, thus affecting the nervous system, brain development, and cognitive function. It is advised to consume low-mercury alternatives like salmon, shrimp, and tilapia for a healthier diet.   

  • Herbs  

Although some herbs are beneficial during lactation, some are believed to suppress the production of breast milk. Herbs like peppermint, sage, and parsley may affect the production of breast milk when consumed in large amounts.