During pregnancy, it’s important to be mindful of certain foods as the growing baby may not be able to cope with bacteria that can be found in unpasteurized dairy products or alcohol. In contrast, breastfeeding does not require as much attention to one’s nutrition as pregnancy; but still it is necessary to pay attention to the diet in order to feed the baby safely. Fortunately, the human body is designed to do the best it can get. Even if a diet is inadequate, research around the world has shown that breast milk still has the right combination of nutrients to effectively feed the baby. If the mother’s diet is poor, the body’s own stores of nutrients will replace what is missing in milk – as stores allow.
However, a healthy diet is important for the well-being of mother and baby. A wide variety of diets are also beneficial for infants to get different tastes and smells of breast milk. It helps develop the taste buds and can also help lay the foundation for cultural preference in the kitchen. This explains, for example, why a breastfed baby on a bland diet might push off a bowl of curry food. Studies have shown that the mother’s food choice during pregnancy and lactation affects the baby’s palate in the same way.
On the other hand, some mothers have confirmed that there can also be certain foods that have a negative impact on the baby’s health. They see their babies gassing after eating cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, onions or cauliflower. This view has not been scientifically proven. In addition, some babies may even have allergic reactions to the mother’s diet, mostly dairy products. There may also be more reaction accounts; Therefore, every nursing mother has to find out what her baby can easily swallow and what cannot. It takes 2 to 6 hours from the time a particular food is eaten until it affects the taste and smell of the milk. Therefore, if the baby shows signs of discomfort while digesting milk, it is helpful to remove the suspect food for a few days and observe if it causes any change in the baby’s symptoms.
What foods are better to avoid
Breastfeeding mothers should limit their alcohol intake as much as possible. Ideally, they should have no alcohol at all because it can be detected in milk, albeit to a much lesser extent than drinking.
Caffeine in coffee and theine in tea should be kept no more than one or two cups a day. If you drink too much, it can affect your baby as well. It should be noted that caffeine may not pass through their bodies as efficiently as adults and may actually accumulate in their systems. It’s worth considering decaffeinated alternatives while breastfeeding.
If a family history of food allergies is known, peanuts should be avoided. Peanut consumption has been shown to leave traces of allergens in breast milk and contribute to the infant’s risk of developing allergies later in life.
Try to avoid processed foods that show a long list of additives. So-called e-numbers affect the health of the mother and baby and should always be avoided. However, some e-numbers have natural origins and are allowed (visit The Soil Association for more)
To minimize exposure to mercury, it is important to keep fish no more than 340g (12oz) per week. In addition, the FSA recommends limiting canned tuna to 280g (strained) and 170g fresh tuna per week.
Finally, the sweetener known as saccharin should be consumed with extreme caution, as its long-term effects are not yet known. The better option is sucralose (Splenda), which offers a safe, calorie-free sugar substitute.