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Foods that I should not eat while breastfeeding

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Breastfeeding is an important stage for the development and growth of the newborn, who, through breast milk, will obtain the necessary nutrients and antibodies to strengthen its immune system. That is why it is essential to have a balanced diet since the nutritional quality of the mother’s milk will depend on this.

Although breast milk provides nutrients, hormones, enzymes, and water for the child’s well-being, there are also other components obtained from food that is transferred through it, and that can cause discomfort and irritability to the baby. When you notice adverse effects on your child after breastfeeding, don’t hesitate to stop eating the food you suspect is causing until the reaction subsides. On the other hand, we must pay attention to the properties of certain foods, such as egg proteins and cow’s milk, recognized for their high incidence of allergens. At FastlyHealwe will give you some foods you should not eat while breastfeeding.


Although it can be drunk occasionally or in low amounts, it is recommended that it is not consumed during lactation since it passes into breast milk between 30 and 60 minutes after ingesting it.

The effect that alcohol will have on the infant will depend on the amount consumed by the mother and the time that has elapsed since ingestion. Some reactions that have been observed are that prolonged consumption causes deterioration, sedation, psychomotor retardation, and irritability in the breastfed baby. On the other hand, acute consumption inhibits oxytocin in the mother, reducing milk production by between 10 and 25%. If this intake is excessive, it could have terrible effects on the infant, such as seizures or leaving him in a coma.

Another less harmful but no less critical reaction is that alcohol modifies the smell and taste of breast milk, which may not be to the baby’s liking, and reject it. If you still decide to drink alcohol, you can breastfeed your child before drinking or expressing milk in advance. If you have had a drink of beer (335 ml), you must wait at least two hours to be able to provide the milk, and preferably that you have eaten and drunk enough liquid.


Caffeine is a component that we can find in coffee, chocolate, carbonated drinks, and some herbal products such as green or black tea, or those containing guarana, yerba mate, or cola nítida.

When the mother consumes a portion of food containing caffeine, it appears in the milk within an hour and a half after ingesting it. When passed to the infant, caffeine is metabolized very slowly, so it accumulates in the body if consumed in excess, and the effects can take up to a week to wear off.

Upon entering this component into the infant’s system, you will notice that he is irritable, restless, active, and alert, and his hours of sleep have been modified, or he sleeps little. If you observe any of these symptoms in your baby, we recommend that you do not consume any caffeinated product for a few weeks until his behavior returns to normal. Although consuming foods with caffeine is not prohibited during lactation, if its low intake is recommended, no more than two cups of coffee a day or an occasional carbonated drink.

Vegetables and legumes

Although health associations do not determine that certain vegetables or legumes cause reactions in the infant through breast milk, cases have been observed where the infant has shown discomforts such as intestinal gas and irritability.

It is essential that pregnant women who are wondering what foods that they should not eat while breastfeeding knows that they are, mainly those that have a high fiber content:

  • Beans
  • Broccoli
  • The pumpkin
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • The chickpeas
  • Peppers

It is believed that the remaining carbohydrates in these foods pass into breast milk and cause gas in the infant; However, another position in this regard is that these properties of vegetables are maintained in the mother’s digestive tract and are not transmitted to milk. These foods can also modify the smell and taste of breast milk, which may cause the baby to not like consuming it until this alteration disappears.

First of all, after you consume a vegetable or legume, observe how your child reacts to milk. It may not cause any effect, but temporarily suspend that food if you notice any discomfort. Remember to consult with the doctor before any reaction you see in the infant.


It is considered that the consumption of certain spices can cause colic and intestinal gas in the baby through breast milk and that it is preferable to avoid them, including cumin, curry, pepper, chili, and garlic.

Although there have been cases where the baby has suffered from effects after the mother ingested some highly spicy food, it is not a fact that it happens for all infants. This will depend on the sensitivity and organism of each one.

On the other hand, it has been observed that garlic and chili can transmit their smell and taste to a lesser extent through breast milk, and although it does not necessarily cause discomfort to the infant, if they may not like the taste of milk and refrain from her for the moment.

Herbal supplements or shakes

So far, there have been no specific studies on the effect of the transmission of certain properties of herbs to the infant through breast milk. Still, there have been cases where the baby has presented secondary reactions, so It is suggested as a precaution to avoid or consume these foods in moderation. However, you must consult your doctor before taking any herbal supplement.

Some herbs consumed in high amounts can decrease breast milk production or contain toxic substances that can harm the infant. The most common herbs that have been contraindicated during pregnancy and lactation are:

  • Aloe vera: can trigger spasms, intestinal pain, and diarrhea.
  • Star anise: could decrease milk production.
  • Cascara sagrada causes diarrhea in the infant.
  • Ephedra: decrease the amount of milk.
  • Eucalyptus: its consumption is not recommended due to the toxicity of its essential oil. It provides a distinctive smell and taste that may be unpleasant to the infant.
  • Fucus: has high iodine levels and is susceptible to accumulating heavy metals. Hypothyroidism has been documented in infants.
  • Fennel: can cause lethargy, hypotonia, and vomiting in the child.
  • Kava: Cases of fulminant liver failure have been published.
  • Butterbur: due to the presence of substances that can be carcinogenic, it is recommended not to consume them.
  • Licorice: could reduce milk production in the puerperium stage.
  • Salvia: possible decrease in milk production.
  • Uva-ursi: can cause a reduction in the amount of breast milk.

Other herbs in which you should take special care of their possible side effects risks are basil, alfalfa, poppy, green anise, mugwort, boxwood, boldo, calendula Caulophyllum, comfrey, buckthorn, goldenrod, Angelica root, ginseng root, rhubarb, and senna.


The intake of fish is highly recommended during lactation; however, we must avoid those that contain high levels of mercury or other heavy metals, which can harm the development of the baby, mainly:

  • The swordfish
  • The shark
  • Mackerel
  • The blanquillo
  • Albacore or white tuna, in moderate quantities.

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Foods that I should not eat while breastfeeding, we recommend that you enter our Pregnancy and baby health category.

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