As a mother, you want to do everything within your power to ensure that your baby receives only the best nutrition. When you’re breastfeeding, however, it can be difficult to determine exactly what “the best” looks like—and what should be avoided. While many of the foods in our diet are safe for mom and baby alike, certain items could create problems for little ones if consumed in too large a quantity by their mothers. In this blog post, Matt Teeple discusses some of the key foods to avoid while breastfeeding and explains why they should be kept off your plate.
Matt Teeple Lists Foods To Avoid While Breastfeeding (With Reasons)
1. Caffeine: Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, chocolate and other foods. According to Matt Teeple, while it can provide the energy boost that some breastfeeding moms need to get through the day, too much caffeine can pass through breastmilk to the baby and make them irritable. It’s best to limit your intake of caffeine-containing products to no more than 300 milligrams per day—about 2-4 cups of caffeinated coffee or two 12-ounce cans of caffeinated soda.
2. Unpasteurized Dairy Products: Raw milk from cows, goats and sheep has not been pasteurized (heated), which kills any potentially harmful bacteria that may be present in the milk. It is important to avoid raw dairy products when breastfeeding, as unpasteurized milk can contain bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella that may make your baby sick.
3. Alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption while nursing can have a negative impact on the quality of your breast milk. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding drinking any amount of alcohol while breastfeeding since even small amounts can find their way into breastmilk and negatively affect your baby’s development. If you do choose to drink, it’s best to wait at least two hours after having an alcoholic beverage before feeding the baby again in order for the alcohol levels in your body to decrease significantly.
4. Fish High in Mercury: Many fish are high in healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, which is great for nursing moms. However, some fish contain high levels of mercury, a neurotoxin that can be passed on through breastmilk and has negative effects on the baby’s development. These include swordfish, king mackerel, shark, tilefish and fresh tuna. If you do choose to eat fish during breastfeeding, it’s best to limit your intake to canned light tuna (which has very low levels of mercury) or salmon once per week.
5. Fennel: Fennel is an aromatic plant in the carrot family with many health benefits; however, it can also, as per Matt Teeple, affect a baby’s sleep pattern if consumed by the nursing mother. Some mothers find it helpful as a galactagogue (a substance that increases milk supply); however, it’s best to avoid consuming fennel if you find it has an adverse effect on a baby’s sleep pattern.
Matt Teeple’s Concluding Thoughts
It’s important for breastfeeding mothers to take care, not to overconsume any of these five foods in order to ensure the health and safety of their babies. If you do choose to eat or drink any of them, moderation is key! According to Matt Teeple, taking time to research potential hazards and familiarizing yourself with what’s safe will help both mom and baby stay healthy. And remember, your child’s doctor can provide even more personalized advice regarding food choices while breastfeeding.