Are You Breastfeeding? Here Are Foods to Limit or Avoid In The Process
Breast milk is incredibly nutritious. In fact, it provides most of the nutrients that your baby needs for the first 6 months of life.
While the composition of breast milk is tightly regulated by your body, research has shown that what you eat does have some effect on the contents of breast milk.
In general, no foods are off-limits. Instead, women are recommended to eat a balanced, varied diet. Still, there are some foods and beverages that you may want to limit while breastfeeding.
Some herbal supplements
The use of herbs and spices like cumin or basil to season food is considered safe during breastfeeding.
However, when it comes to herbal supplements and teas, there are some concerns about safety, as there’s a lack of research in women who are breastfeeding.
Herbal supplements aren’t regulated, and there’s also the potential for these supplements to be contaminated with potentially dangerous heavy metals.
While many women try supplements to help increase milk supply, there’s overall limited evidence on their effectiveness, with most studies finding no difference in breast milk production compared with a placebo.
It’s best to speak with your healthcare provider before trying out a supplement.
As most herbal supplements haven’t been evaluated for their safety during breastfeeding, it’s recommended to talk with your healthcare provider before using any supplements or herbal teas.
Highly processed foods
To meet the increased nutrient demands of breastfeeding, it’s incredibly important that you eat a healthy, balanced diet..
As highly processed foods are generally high in calories, unhealthy fats, and added sugars, yet low in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, it’s recommended to limit their intake as much as possible.
Early research has also suggested that a mother’s diet while breastfeeding may influence her child’s diet later in life.
Specifically, animal studies have found that flavors infants are exposed to through breast milk can influence their food preferences as they grow up.
One study observed that rats born to mothers with a high junk food diet were significantly more likely to prefer high fat, high sugar foods than those whose mothers had a balanced, healthy diet.
While more research is needed in humans, there’s a concern that frequent exposure to fatty, sugary foods as an infant may lead to less healthy eating habits and obesity as the child ages.
As highly processed foods are generally low in essential nutrients and may affect your child’s food preferences later in life, it’s recommended that breastfeeding moms limit their intake of foods that are high in added sugars and processed fats.