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Breastfeeding For New Moms

One of the most common questions by new moms who are breastfeeding is, “What food and medications are safe to eat or take while breastfeeding?”

Some nursing moms are lucky enough that they can eat whatever they like without causing their baby discomfort. This may be due to the fact that the baby swallowed a fair amount of amniotic fluid before birth, so when they taste those flavors again in their mother's breast milk they're already accustomed to them. But for most new moms, their baby can occasionally become fussy at the breast or even gassy.


How to avoid discomfort in your baby:

If a pattern of discomfort is seen in your baby after you eat a particular food or take certain medication, it’s best to avoid that food or medication for a few days. You can test whether that food or medication really was the cause by reintroducing it a few days later and see if there's an effect. While breastfeeding may seem like you are still pregnant due to some restrictions you may have on foods you can eat or medications you can take, breastfeeding is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your baby’s health.


Common culprits:

Many mothers report problems with breastfeeding after they eat, drink or take:

•    Spices such as cinnamon, garlic, curry and chili pepper.

•    Chocolate

•    Citrus fruits and juices such as oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, strawberries, among others.

•    Gassy veggies including onions, cabbages, garlic, cauliflowers, broccoli, cucumbers and peppers.

•    Fruits with a laxative effect, such as bananas, cherries and prunes.

•    Coffee. Anything more than a daily cup or two of coffee can interfere with your baby's sleep or make him irritable. Caffeine is also found in some sodas, teas and over-the-counter medicines. And yes, even decaf coffee has traces of caffeine so drink in moderation!

•    Alcoholic drinks should be avoided. Having more than one alcoholic drink increases your blood alcohol level to the point that the alcohol gets into your breast milk. Moderate or heavy drinking is definitely not recommended while breastfeeding.

•    Certain medications can cause irritability in your baby. Make sure to consult with your doctor which medications are safe to take while breastfeeding.


Allergies in babies:

Some babies have allergy symptoms such as eczema, fussiness, congestion or diarrhea. Although these symptoms may be caused by something your baby is in regular contact with, such as soap, detergent, mildew or foods he's eating, it may also be caused to a reaction to foods you eat that get into his system through your breast milk. This can be frustrating for new mothers as it can take a bit of detective work to find out exactly what's causing the symptoms. The most common culprits that cause problems for sensitive babies include:

•    Cows' milk products (yogurt, cheese, etc.)

•    Soy (milk and soybeans)

•    Wheat

•    Egg

•    Nuts

•    Corn (or corn syrup)


A good way to narrow down what may be upsetting your baby is to write down what you eat. You will usually see a pattern of symptoms from your baby two to six hours after you eat or take medication that are most likely causing the problem.

It is important to remember that anything you take, whether it is food or medication, will probably end up in your breast milk. Therefore, a good rule to go by in breastfeeding is to question yourself whether you would feed or give your baby what you are about to put into your own body.

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