18 Foods To Avoid While Breastfeeding

Medically reviewed by Maria Sarino, MD FACT CHECKED

While there are many benefits to breastfeeding, it can also be one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do.

That’s why knowing what foods to avoid while breastfeeding is necessary – not only for your mental health but also for the health of your baby.

Foods to avoid while breastfeeding

Check out these eight foods to avoid while breastfeeding –

  1. Fried Foods

    When breastfeeding, it is important to avoid fried foods. These foods can contain unhealthy oils and fats that can make breastfeeding difficult.

    Fried foods also tend to be high in calories, which can lead to weight gain in breastfeeding mothers. Instead, try eating healthier snacks like fruits and vegetables.

  2. Fish

    It is important to avoid eating any type of fish. Fish contain mercury, which can harm your baby’s developing brain and nervous system.

    Additionally, many other types of fish are high in toxins that can be harmful to your baby’s health. Instead, try to eat lean meat, nuts, and seeds.

    These foods will provide the nutrients with your baby needs while breastfeeding and won’t contain any harmful toxins.

  3. Alcohol

    Alcohol consumption can lead to a decrease in milk production and could even damage your baby’s brain development.

    In addition, consuming alcohol while breastfeeding increases the risk of giving your child breast milk tainted with alcohol.

    If you do decide to drink while breastfeeding, make sure to limit yourself to light alcohols such as wine or beer.

  4. Smoking

    If you’re breastfeeding, you may want to avoid smoking. The nicotine in cigarettes can be absorbed through the skin and into the milk. This can hurt your baby’s health.

    Additionally, secondhand smoke has been linked to several health problems, including premature birth, low birth weight, and more serious cases of lung cancer.

    If you do choose to smoke while breastfeeding, make sure to avoid direct exposure to e-cigarettes and cigars.

  5. Spicy food

    While spices are a great way to add flavour to your meals, they can also be irritating to your skin and lungs while you’re breastfeeding.

    It’s also important to drink plenty of fluids while breastfeeding so that you don’t experience any dehydration.

    If you do eat spicy food, limit yourself to only a small amount and drink lots of fluids to make sure that you’re hydrated.

  6. Eggs

    Eggs are a great source of protein and vitamins, but many mothers avoid them while breastfeeding because they contain cholesterol.

    Some mothers also worry about the harmful chemicals that may be in commercial eggs. If you’re breastfeeding and trying to live a healthy lifestyle, it’s best to avoid eggs altogether.

    Other foods are great sources of protein and vitamins that mothers can enjoy while breastfeeding.

  7. Nuts and peanuts

    Nuts and peanuts are foods that are high in tyramine. Tyramine is a naturally occurring molecule that is responsible for the flavour and smell of ripe fruits and vegetables.

    It can also be found in certain types of cheese, processed meats, and some alcoholic drinks.

    When breastfeeding, it’s important to avoid foods that contain tyramine because it could potentially cause a miscarriage.

    Eating nuts and peanuts can also lead to a headache, agitation, rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, lightheadedness, and seizures.

    If you are pregnant or nursing and you have any concerns about the foods you’re eating, talk to your doctor.

  8. Processed food

    It’s important to avoid processed foods while breastfeeding. This includes foods that have been heated up, such as hot dogs, sausages, and microwave meals.

    These foods can increase the risk of latching onto the wrong nipple and having difficulty breastfeeding successfully.

    Although it may be hard to break these habits early on, it’s important to do so to guarantee a healthy breastfeeding experience for both you and your child.

  9. Some herbal supplements

    Avoid any herbal supplements that could potentially interact with the infant’s vitamins and minerals.

    Some common supplements that mothers should avoid include Ginkgo biloba, Siberian ginseng, and St. John’s wort.

    These supplements can interfere with the infant’s liver function and cause problems such as jaundice and breast milk stagnation.

    If you are taking any of these supplements, speak to your doctor first to ensure that they are safe for breastfeeding mothers.

  10. Raw vegetables

    Some vegetables are okay to eat while breastfeeding, but raw vegetables, especially those that are deep green, are not recommended.

    This is because they may contain toxins that could harm a nursing baby. Instead, many mothers choose to eat cooked vegetables while breastfeeding.

  11. Sweets

    It’s natural to crave sweets while breastfeeding, but you should avoid them as much as possible. Sweets are high in sugar and can be harmful to your baby.

    Sweet foods can cause your baby to become hyperactive and irritable. They can also lead to tooth decay.

    If you have to have a sweet snack, choose something low in sugar and calories, like a piece of fruit or yoghurt.

  12. Grapes And mangoes

    These specific fruits contain a compound called oxalic acid which is known to be harmful to infants. Oxalic acid can cause diarrhoea, constipation, and vomiting in infants.

    Additionally, it can also interfere with the absorption of calcium and other nutrients from breast milk. Instead, eat foods like avocados and carrots.

    These are all low in sugar and are safe for breastfeeding mothers to eat.

  13. Stone fruits

    When breastfeeding, it is important to avoid foods that contain high levels of stone fruits. These include apples, apricots, cherries, peaches, nectarines, and plums.

    These fruits are high in natural sugar and can increase the risk of developing postpartum depression in moms.

    Additionally, they can cause an increase in breast milk production which could lead to weight gain in nursing moms.

  14. Powdered yeast

    Powdered yeast is a popular additive in many foods. It’s often used to make the dough rise, and it’s also used to thicken sauces and gravies.

    While powdered yeast can be safe to eat in small amounts, it’s not recommended to eat large amounts of it while breastfeeding.

    Powdered yeast can cause an allergic reaction in some people, and it can also increase the risk of food poisoning.

    If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s important to talk to your doctor about which foods are safe to eat.

  15. Peppermint

    Peppermint is a great herb to avoid while breastfeeding. It can cause irritability in infants and can interfere with breast milk production.

    Additionally, peppermint can be toxic if it is consumed in high concentrations. Therefore, it is best to avoid peppermint while breastfeeding unless it is specifically included in a breastfeeding diet plan.

  16. Onions

    Onions are a food to avoid while breastfeeding because they can be harmful to your baby’s health.

    Onion juice can cause anaemia in infants, and onions themselves can cause irritability, poor feeding, and breathing problems in infants.

    It’s also important to remember that onions contain a chemical called allium that can trigger an allergic reaction in some people. 

    If you’re pregnant or nursing, it’s best to avoid eating onions altogether.

  17. Chocolate

    It is important to remember that chocolate is a food that is not recommended during breastfeeding.

    Chocolate contains caffeine, which can interfere with the milk supply and cause jitteriness, fatigue, and digestive problems in infants.

    Additionally, chocolate contains several other chemicals that may be harmful to a baby’s development.

    So avoid eating chocolate while breastfeeding and your infant will be safe and healthy.

  18. Tomatoes based recipes

    These include canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato soup, and tomato juice. Tomatoes are a common component of many recipes that are typically eaten while breastfeeding.

    However, these foods can contain high levels of lycopene which can be harmful to the baby’s development.

    Lycopene is a cancer-fighting agent and it is also present in other foods that are typically eaten by pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.

    However, the levels of lycopene in these foods are much lower than the levels found in tomato-based recipes.

    Therefore, it is recommended that pregnant mothers and breastfeeding mothers avoid eating these types of recipes.

Conclusion

When you’re breastfeeding, it’s important to avoid foods that could potentially harm your child. Foods like cheese, meat, dairy products, and eggs can be harmful to a baby’s development.

if ingested in high quantities or during lengthy breastfeeding periods.

Instead of relying on personal opinion or a few online articles, consult with your doctor or lactation consultant about which foods are safe for breastfeeding mothers and their babies.