What to Eat While Breastfeeding

You can eat just about everything while you are breastfeeding. It’s all good food to share with your child.

You were sharing good food while you were pregnant. Through the umbilical cord, your baby absorbed nutrients and flavors. Then he or she urinated into the amniotic fluid, swallowed that ‘flavored’ amniotic fluid, peed it out again, and swallowed it again. Your baby was, literally, swimming in those flavors.

If you ate red peppers and garlic while pregnant, it’s okay to continue when you’re breastfeeding. Your baby will already know those tastes. Newborns can distinguish between sweet and sour. They prefer sweet… such as breast milk.

Your nursing diet influences your baby’s preferences. When you eat broccoli and onions, for example, that flavor is in your breast milk. Then broccoli and onion becomes a familiar taste that he or she will favor. In this subtle way, you’re encouraging your children to eat their vegetables!

Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, other cruciferous vegetables, beans and lentils are wonderfully nutritious. They also contain raffinose, a particular sugar that ferments in our intestines and causes gassiness. However, raffinose doesn’t transfer to breast milk so it’s only you who will become gassy.

Your baby will fart regardless of beans or broccoli. He will squint, grunt, kick and fuss about bowel movements. This is because intestinal digestion is a new activity in a baby’s wee body. If your baby has a reaction to a food, most likely you’d notice a rash, diarrhea or particularly irritable behavior.

Moderation, as always, is key. Chocolate is fine, one cup of coffee or a glass of wine is fine.

Trust this. Breastfeeding women all over the world get their food from many sources. Food is nutrition, food is love, and food is a fundamental joy of life to share with your children.

table with bowls of food

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