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Breast Feeding

How Food Choices can Affect your Baby while Breastfeeding

Food Choices can Affect your Baby while Breastfeeding

Food Choice in Breastfeeding

Human breast milk is a highly complex fluid that has evolved to nourish and provide protection to infants. During the baby’s initial months, the main source of energy and nutrition is breast milk.

Breast milk contains high amounts of lipids, proteins, carbohydrates, and many immunoglobins that help the infant fight against various infections and maintain a healthy gut. Food choices in breastfeeding can harm the baby. Breast milk derives nutrients from the mother. Thus, the eating habits of the mother will affect the infant.

Do I Need Extra Calories when Breastfeeding?

Yes, when breastfeeding, you need to eat a healthy, balanced diet and consume extra calories to support milk production.

A healthy diet should include a variety of foods such as lean proteins, whole grains, and plenty of fruit and vegetables. Food choices in breastfeeding don’t leave good impact on baby’s health.

breastfeeding food choices

You may need to eat an extra 300-500 calories per day, depending on your individual needs. It’s important to listen to your body and eat when you’re hungry, while also making sure to stay hydrated and get enough rest.

You should take care of your diet with calories.

Symptoms to Observe after Breastfeeding in the Infant

  1. Allergies (rashes, redness, vomiting, itchy skin)

When you observe any allergy-related symptoms in your baby, it can be because of an allergen (allergy-causing agent) present in your diet. The baby can be allergic to substances that are non-allergic to the mother.

Breastfeeding will be the baby’s first exposure to various food substances because everything cannot cross the placenta when the baby is in your womb. You should immediately change your diet; for example, exclude nuts, corn, or anything you suspect can be an allergen to your baby.

  1. Disturbed bowels (loose stools, excessive gas, constipation)

If you take too many legumes (grams, beans, etc.) or are on a high-protein diet, it can produce excessive gas in your baby. Irritating moods and restlessness because of stomach aches are observed in infants. You can confirm this by gently palpating (pressing) the abdomen (stomach or belly).

Loose stools can be due to lactose intolerance or disturbance in the gut flora if the mother is taking antibiotics. A breastfed infant rarely gets constipation, but hard stools can scratch the intestinal wall or cut the rectal wall.

  1. Lack of sleep

Lack of sleep leads to restlessness and irritability in infants. This happens because of the high caffeine content in beverages (coffee, tea, carbonated drinks, etc.) or candies and chocolates. Do not take excessive caffeine, and reduce your daily consumption. Also, avoid taking tea or coffee late in the evening.

  1. Seizures or tremors

This rare condition is associated with fish, a common food ingredient. The high content of mercury in fish may also lead to neurological disorders. Also, get checked for any silver amalgam restoration (filling) in your mouth, as the amalgam also contains mercury.

  1. Change in heart rate

If you feel any change in the infant’s heartbeat, it can be due to the painkillers taken by the mother. But in case there is no relevance or for confirmation, consult a pediatrician immediately.

Do I Need to Take any Breastfeeding Vitamins?

While a healthy diet is important for breastfeeding, taking certain vitamins can also be beneficial. Breastfeeding mothers always make sure they get enough of the vitamins found in a healthy diet, such as vitamin D, vitamin B12, and iodine, as well as omega-3 fatty acids.

Food choices in breastfeeding should have high in these nutrients. These include such as fish, eggs, and leafy greens, and should be incorporated into your diet. It may also be helpful to take a daily multivitamin designed for breastfeeding mothers to ensure you’re getting the most important nutrients.

Consulting with a healthcare provider can help determine if you’re at risk of any nutrient deficiencies and what vitamins may be helpful for you.

vitamins in breastfeeding

Not only does the response of an infant’s body depend on your diet, but also, the production of milk may vary with changes in your diet when you focus on food choices in breastfeeding. If you like the flavor-rich mint leaves, you must know this can decrease the formation of milk, whereas parsley can promote it.

If you are on any long-term treatment, observe any side effects of the medicines on your infant and mention your prescription to the pediatrician.

You may feel dehydrated after feeding your baby, so keep yourself hydrated with water or fresh fruit and vegetable juices. It is important to consult your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and treatment of any symptoms.

Mamahood’s content is written by practicing physicians and healthcare professionals who rely on evidence-based resources, the latest research, and their experience to ensure our users get credible and updated information they can trust.

Our References

Mamahood content is written by practicing physicians and healthcare professionals who rely on evidence-based resources, latest research, and their experience to ensure our users get credible and updated information they can trust.

  • Woodside, B., Budin, R., Wellman, M. K., & Abizaid, A. (2012). Many mouths to feed: The control of food intake during lactation. Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology33(3), 301 314.
  • Teresa González-Cossı́o, Jean-Pierre Habicht, Kathleen M. Rasmussen, Hernán L. Delgado, Impact of Food Supplementation during Lactation on Infant Breast-Milk Intake and on the Proportion of Infants Exclusively Breastfed, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 128, Issue 10, October 1998, Pages 1692–1702,
  • Andreas, N. J., Kampmann, B., & Mehring Le-Doare, K. (2015). Human breast milk: A review on its composition and bioactivity. Early Human Development, 91(11), 629-635.
  • Bose-O’Reilly, S., McCarty, K. M., Steckling, N., & Lettmeier, B. (2010). Mercury exposure and children’s health. Current problems in pediatric and adolescent health care, 40(8), 186–215.
  • Spigset, O., & Hägg, S. (2000). Analgesics and breastfeeding: safety considerations. Paediatric drugs, 2(3), 223–238.

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