A question LMS nurses are often asked is, “What foods should I stay away from when breastfeeding?” The answer? NONE.
Probably because we’re always searching for reasons why baby is crying so we can fix it, conventional wisdom keeps reinforcing the myth that spicy foods, gassy foods and acidic ingredients make a fussy baby. But this is just not true. Breastmilk is made from what passes into mom’s bloodstream, not by what goes into her stomach or digestive tract. That’s why alcohol would affect baby, but spicy Tandoori would not.
Certainly there are babies born with sensitivities to certain foods and in rare instances a milk protein intolerance, but a varied diet of fruits, vegetables and whole foods for mom is universally encouraged. So while broccoli may make mom gassy, it will not affect baby because it never reaches mom’s bloodstream. For more information on possible (rare) sensitivities, please see the KellyMom website.
Caffeine is a substance that may affect your baby if ingested in larger quantities. Most experts agree that having 1-2 cups of coffee or soda per day will not affect baby’s mood or ability to nap and sleep, especially if mom consumed caffeine during pregnancy. As with anything, moderation is the key to staying healthy and balanced when consuming caffeinated beverages.
More good news is that there are many foods that affect mother’s milk and health in a positive way! Oatmeal for example is high in iron and protein and usually has a calming, cozy association to boot. A varied diet with fruit and vegetables is also always a good rule of thumb. While we search and search for reasons baby may be fussy, mom’s diet is not usually the reason.