Should you avoid certain foods while expressing breast milk?

By | October 20, 2009

Every baby is different. The general advice is that there is no need to avoid any food and that gas in babies are more likely not to be related to your food. In my case and in the cases of other mothers I have talked with, there seemed to be a high correlation between food consumed and gas in baby.

At the beginning, I just ate everything without thinking and as my son seemed to be a gassy baby anyhow, I didn’t think that avoiding any food could actually make it better. It was also difficult to track what I had eaten two or three days ago as I was making more milk than my little one needed so I had the fridge stacked up. I’d noticed that there were good days when he didn’t have as much gas and then really gassy days, as well as some days where he had a red rash and even some bleeding in his stool.

At this point I talked to a few friends and they all confirmed that when they avoided certain foods their baby reacted much better and far less gassier. At this point I decided to track what I was eating and check the amount of gas in my son (total science :-) ). This was the result of foods I had to avoid:

  • Pineapple – worst reaction. Poor baby suffered from a red rash and blood in stool that came from the rashes on his bottom.
  • Onions – this seems to be common one across many mothers
  • Mushrooms – consumed in large amounts made my son extremely gassy
  • Broccoli, cauliflowers, beans and all other vegetables that generally create gas
  • Avocado

In general if your body is used to consume a certain food and you had it during your pregnancy then consuming this food during breastfeeding should be fine. That is why you hear about breastfeeding women in India who still eat their lentil curry and their babies don’t suffer from gas. In my case, I generally don’t consume a lot of avocado so maybe this was a reason why avocado was on my list. In general it’s better not to experiment with new foods during breastfeeding. On the other hand dairy products are on the list for many women but I guess as I always consumed masses of dairy products my body has gotten used to digesting this. If you suspect this could be the case, try avoiding dairy products for one day. Of course calcium is a necessity for your body especially during breastfeeding, so don’t avoid them unnecessarily.

If you are not sure which exact food was the cause of gassiness, avoid the suspected food for a few days and then reintroduce it and check for reactions.

Just remember that your body produces milk round the clock and in the best quality. If you are dieting and aren’t consuming the right nutrients it will take it from the nutritional storage in your body and you might then later suffer from other deficiencies. I have seen this with a friend of mine so make sure that you consume enough of the good stuff.

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