What Not To Eat While Breastfeeding


Breastfeeding is an essential part of infant nutrition and health. However, it is not always clear what foods are safe to consume while breastfeeding. This article will explore What Not To Eat While Breastfeeding and a range of food items that may be detrimental to the health of the mother and baby when consumed during this period.

What Not To Eat While Breastfeeding

  1. Chocolate: While chocolate is generally safe to consume in moderation, some babies may be sensitive to the caffeine and theobromine found in chocolate. Monitoring your baby’s behavior and reactions after consuming chocolate is recommended.
  2. Honey: Honey should be avoided during breastfeeding due to the risk of infant botulism, a rare but severe illness caused by the bacteria found in honey. It is best to wait until your baby is at least one year old before introducing honey into their diet.
  3. Shrimp: Shrimp is generally safe to consume while breastfeeding as long as it is properly cooked. However, suppose you have a known allergy to shellfish. In that case, avoiding shrimp and other shellfish is best to prevent allergic reactions in your baby.
  4. Spicy food: Some babies may be sensitive to spicy foods, which can cause gastrointestinal discomfort or irritability. Consuming spicy foods in moderation and monitoring your baby’s reactions is recommended.
  5. Sushi: Raw or undercooked fish should be avoided while breastfeeding due to the risk of foodborne illnesses such as salmonella or listeria. It is best to choose cooked or vegetarian sushi options to ensure your and your baby’s safety.
  6. Processed foods: Processed foods, such as fast food, snacks, and sugary drinks, are often high in unhealthy fats, sugar, and additives. These foods provide little nutritional value and can negatively impact the mother’s and baby’s health. It is best to focus on consuming whole, nutrient-dense foods for optimal breastfeeding outcomes.
  7. Garlic: While garlic can flavor breast milk, some babies may be sensitive to its taste and smell. Suppose your baby shows signs of discomfort or refuses to breastfeed after you consume garlic. In that case, it may be best to limit your intake.
  8. Fish: While fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, some types of fish may contain high levels of mercury, which can harm a baby’s developing nervous system. Choosing low-mercury fish options, such as salmon or trout, and limiting consumption of high-mercury fish, such as shark or swordfish, is recommended.

Each food item has potential risks or benefits for the mother and baby. It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for personalized guidance on what should or should not be consumed while breastfeeding.

Can you Eat Chocolate while Breastfeeding?

Can you eat chocolate while breastfeeding

The consumption of chocolate while breastfeeding has not been definitively linked to any adverse effects. Research on the subject is inconclusive, and opinions vary among medical professionals.

Some studies have suggested that the caffeine in chocolate may pass through breast milk. However, further research is needed to confirm this potential effect. Other components of cocoa, such as antioxidants, may also be transferred from mother to child through breast milk.

The general consensus is that moderate amounts of dark chocolate are unlikely to cause harm when nursing. However, it is important for mothers to consider their health concerns when deciding whether or not they should eat dark chocolate while breastfeeding.

For instance, mothers with a family history of allergies should consult their physician before eating large amounts of food containing cocoa products, including peanut butter and shrimp sushi. Additionally, while there are no known risks associated with consuming honey while nursing, experts recommend avoiding raw honey due to potential bacteria contamination that could pose a risk for both mother and baby.

Based on her health history and preferences, each mother must decide if she feels comfortable incorporating small amounts of dark chocolate into her diet during lactation.

Can you Eat Honey while Breastfeeding?

Can you eat honey while breastfeeding

Consuming honey while lactating has been a debate in the medical community. It is advised that nursing mothers avoid eating raw or undercooked seafood, including sushi, due to the potentially high levels of mercury and other contaminants in these foods. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that pregnant and breastfeeding women should not consume more than 12 ounces of cooked fish per week. Therefore, nursing mothers should limit their consumption of sushi while lactating.

Mothers should also avoid honey due to its potential to contain spores from the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, which can cause infant botulism. If an individual must consume honey, heating it to above 160 degrees Fahrenheit will reduce the risk posed by these spores. Although some studies suggest that pasteurized honey may be safe for infants over one year old, consuming unpasteurized honey is not recommended for nursing mothers due to the potential health risks associated with botulism in infants.

It is important to note that no large-scale studies examine the safety of consuming sushi or honey while lactating; thus, further research is needed before definitive conclusions can be made about their safety as part of a balanced diet during lactation. To ensure optimal nutrition for both mother and baby, consulting with a healthcare professional before making diet changes while breastfeeding is highly recommended.

Can you Eat Shrimp while Breastfeeding?

Can you Eat Shrimp while Breastfeeding

Due to potential sources of contamination, nursing mothers may need to evaluate the safety of consuming shrimp while breastfeeding. A common source of contamination in seafood is mercury, which can cause nervous system damage and developmental delays in infants. Shrimp are low in mercury content compared to other seafood, but they have been found to contain harmful bacteria and parasites that may be passed on through breast milk.

Eating undercooked or raw shrimp increases the risk of bacterial infection as cooking helps kill any microbes present in the seafood. Additionally, if a mother experiences an allergic reaction to shrimp, her baby could also experience an allergic reaction through breast milk.

It is considered safe for mothers who do not have food allergies or sensitivities to consume cooked shrimp while breastfeeding. However, it is recommended that nursing mothers avoid eating large amounts of shrimp due to its high levels of sodium and cholesterol, which may adversely affect a baby’s health. If a mother chooses to eat shrimp while breastfeeding, she should consult her doctor before adding it to her diet.

Shrimp consumption by nursing mothers should be monitored carefully as there are risks associated with consuming this type of seafood during lactation. To reduce potential health risks for both mother and child, it is important that cooked shrimp is thoroughly inspected before being eaten and adequately prepared according to applicable food safety regulations before being consumed by a breastfeeding mother. With careful consideration regarding consumption levels and preparation methods, eating small portions of cooked shrimp when breastfeeding can generally be considered safe for both the mother and baby.

Can you Eat Spicy Food while Breastfeeding?

Can you eat spicy food while breastfeeding

Spicy foods can be a source of concern for breastfeeding mothers, as the compounds that give them their flavor may also hurt the baby. Capsaicin is a compound found in chili peppers and other spicy foods linked to infant digestive issues. Studies have found that this compound can pass through breast milk, leading to discomfort for nursing babies.

In addition, some spices used in traditional remedies contain toxins that could harm an infant’s development. For example, turmeric is often thought to benefit nursing mothers but should not be consumed in large quantities due to its toxic effects on developing cells.

For these reasons, it is wise for breastfeeding mothers to avoid consuming large amounts of spicy food until their child has reached at least six months of age or older. However, some experts suggest moderate consumption of milder spices, such as paprika or cumin, may be safe for both mother and baby if eaten occasionally as part of a balanced diet.

Ultimately, it comes down to individual preferences and the advice given by medical professionals when deciding whether or not a mother should eat spicy food while breastfeeding.

Can you Eat Sushi while Breastfeeding?

Can you Eat Sushi while Breastfeeding

Sushi is a traditional Japanese dish that can pose potential risks to nursing mothers. It contains raw fish, which may contain parasites and bacteria that can harm both mother and baby. Additionally, many sushi dishes contain high levels of mercury, especially tuna, and mackerel, which could be transferred to the infant through breastmilk.

Nursing mothers should also ensure that they are not eating too much wasabi or pickled ginger, as these condiments are very strongly flavored, and it is possible for the flavor to pass through into the breast milk. Furthermore, some types of sushi contain shellfish, such as shrimp or crab meat, which may cause an allergic reaction in infants if ingested via their mother’s milk.

While it is generally safe for breastfeeding mothers to consume cooked sushi in moderation, it is best for them to avoid raw fish altogether while nursing. It is important for mothers to stay informed about what they eat so that they can take necessary precautions when breastfeeding their babies. Ultimately, before consuming any food while breastfeeding, nursing mothers should consult with their healthcare provider first for expert advice specific to their individual situation.

Can you Eat Processed Foods while Breastfeeding?

Nursing mothers should know the potential risks of consuming processed foods while breastfeeding. Processed foods are generally high in fat, sodium, and sugar content, which can pass through breast milk and negatively impact an infant’s health. For example, high salt intake can lead to increased infant blood pressure and dehydration due to excessive thirst. Additionally, processed foods may contain additives such as artificial colors or flavors not recommended for babies under one year old. Therefore, it is important for nursing mothers to limit their consumption of processed food items and focus on nutrient-dense meals such as fruits and vegetables instead.

It is also advisable to avoid certain types of fish that may contain higher levels of mercury than others when breastfeeding. Furthermore, many convenience snacks such as chips or candy bars can be extremely high in calories and low in nutritional value, which could contribute to weight gain during pregnancy or beyond. Lastly, it is important for nursing mothers to read labels carefully so they know exactly what ingredients are present in the food item before consumption.

By following these guidelines, nursing mothers can ensure they provide their babies with the best nutrition possible while avoiding any potential health risks associated with processed foods. With this knowledge in mind, we now focus on garlic consumption while breastfeeding.

Can you Eat Garlic while Breastfeeding?

Can you Eat Garlic while Breastfeeding

Moving on from processed foods, garlic is another food item commonly consumed by mothers and yet questioned for its safety while breastfeeding. Garlic is a popular ingredient in many cuisines worldwide and has long been used for medicinal purposes due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Despite this, some concerns exist about whether garlic should be eaten while breastfeeding.

The main concern with consuming garlic while nursing is that it can pass through the mother’s milk and affect the baby’s taste buds. This could cause babies to reject their milk or refuse to breastfeed altogether. Additionally, some experts believe that certain compounds found in garlic may lead to colic or digestive problems in infants who consume them via their mother’s milk.

However, there is limited evidence of any adverse effects of eating garlic during lactation, and no conclusive scientific studies have shown any harm to babies from consuming it through breast milk. Therefore, most medical professionals consider garlic safe for consumption by breastfeeding mothers as long as they eat it in moderation and follow general dietary guidelines recommended for all nursing mothers.

It is also important to note that individuals vary greatly in how they react to different foods – what might be fine for one person may not be suitable for someone else. If you are unsure whether consuming garlic is safe while breastfeeding your baby, then it would be best to discuss this with your doctor or health care provider before adding it to your diet.

Given the lack of evidence regarding potential risks associated with eating garlic while nursing and its numerous known health benefits when consumed moderately and responsibly, this pungent bulb appears safe mainly for expectant mothers when enjoyed as part of a balanced diet alongside other nutritious foods. With this being said, however, caution should always be exercised when introducing new foods into one’s diet, regardless of age or stage of life, especially when pregnant or breastfeeding.

With further investigation needed into the effects on infants directly exposed to garlic via breastmilk specifically, transitioning into discussing fish consumption whilst lactating is now warranted.

Can you Eat Fish while Breastfeeding?

Can you Eat Fish while Breastfeeding

Consumption of fish by lactating mothers is a common dietary choice that may have many implications for the mother and her infant. Fish can be a great source of nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, and calcium which are important to the health of both mother and baby.

However, it’s important to note that certain types of fish contain higher levels of mercury than others. This chemical can be toxic in large quantities and could affect breastmilk production or the child’s development if consumed excessively. Therefore, it’s suggested that pregnant or breastfeeding women should limit their intake to two servings weekly at most.

The species recommended include salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout, anchovies, and cod – all of which are low in mercury levels but rich in essential vitamins and minerals. In addition to these fish varieties, other seafood options, such as shellfish, provide similar nutrition benefits with fewer associated risks.

Although consuming seafood while breastfeeding is generally considered safe in moderation, it’s always best to consult your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet. Considering current research on the potential risks associated with high mercury intake can help ensure optimal nutrition for both mother and baby while minimizing any harmful effects from excessively eating fish during lactation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I drink alcohol while breastfeeding?

It is not recommended to consume alcohol while breastfeeding, as it can be passed through breast milk to the baby. Alcohol can reduce a mother’s milk production and impact the quality of breast milk.

It is also important to note that alcohol reaches higher concentrations in breast milk than in a mother’s bloodstream.

For this reason, it is best for mothers who choose to drink while breastfeeding to do so when their baby is least likely to feed, such as immediately after a feeding or when they have pumped and stored extra milk.

If consuming alcohol, it is important for the mother to plan ahead by expressing her milk before drinking and discarding any remaining amounts afterward.

Can I take certain medicines while breastfeeding?

It is important to consider the safety of medications while breastfeeding.

Generally, it is recommended that medicines be avoided while nursing unless prescribed by a doctor and deemed safe for use.

Mothers should always consult their physicians before taking any medication while breastfeeding, as some drugs may pass through breast milk and enter the infant’s system.

Additionally, certain medications may decrease milk production or affect a baby’s sleep patterns.

Therefore, weighing the potential risks and benefits when deciding whether or not to take any drug while nursing is essential.

Are there any foods I should avoid while breastfeeding?

It is generally recommended that breastfeeding mothers avoid certain foods while lactating, as these can pass through breast milk and potentially cause harm to the baby. These include:

  • Foods with high levels of mercury, such as certain types of fish.
  • Unpasteurized dairy products.
  • Caffeine in large amounts.
  • Alcohol.
  • Processed meats like salami or bologna.

Additionally, some babies may be sensitive to certain components of their mother’s diet, including cow’s milk protein or soy. If you suspect your baby is sensitive to something in your diet, consult a medical professional for guidance on what to avoid.

Can I take dietary supplements while breastfeeding?

It is generally safe to take dietary supplements while breastfeeding, but discussing this with a healthcare professional is important.

Dietary supplements such as multivitamins and iron can benefit both mother and baby, providing essential vitamins and minerals not found in breast milk.

However, certain herbal supplements may contain ingredients that could pass into breast milk, so caution should be taken when considering these options.

Additionally, some prescription medications can reduce the amount of nutrients transferred through breast milk; therefore, speaking with a doctor before taking any medication or supplement while breastfeeding is wise.

How often should I breastfeed?

Breastfeeding is an important part of a newborn’s development and should be done often. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies should breastfeed 8-12 times daily for about the first month.

After that, breastfeeding should still occur every 2-3 hours or more frequently if needed by your baby.

The frequency of feedings can also depend on how well the baby is gaining weight and how satisfied they are between feedings.

Paying attention to your baby’s hunger cues will help you determine how often they need to breastfeed.


Breastfeeding provides a valuable source of nutrition for infants and is important to maintain the health of both mother and baby. To ensure optimal health, certain foods should be avoided while breastfeeding.

Chocolate, honey, shrimp, processed foods, garlic, and fish are all safe to consume in moderation; however, it is best to avoid spicy food or sushi due to the potential risk of allergic reactions in babies.

Ultimately, mothers should consult with their healthcare provider regarding any dietary concerns related to breastfeeding. Staying informed about what not to eat can help ensure that both mother and baby receive the most nutritious benefits from breastfeeding.