After I had my babies, I was so excited to be able to eat and drink some of my favorites that I had avoided for 9+ months like sushi and the occasional glass of red wine. Being a doctor, I also knew that there are certain foods that I should avoid and/or pay attention to how they affected my baby after nursing. It’s hard to believe, but even things like chocolate can have a laxative effect on your baby. Each baby is different and you will know your baby best, so if you suspect that something you are eating is causing your baby distress then take it out and see what happens. It is worth eliminating something so that you and your baby can have the best nursing experience possible!
Below are 4 things that I recommend nursing moms avoid (for now):
• High-mercury fish. You may have avoided high-mercury fish while you were pregnant. I recommend avoiding it until you are done nursing because mercury is a neurotoxin, which even in small amounts could affect your baby’s brain. High-mercury fish include shark, king mackerel, and swordfish. Feel free to enjoy the lower-mercury fish such as shrimp, sardines, and salmon.
• High doses of caffeine. 2-3 cups of coffee or tea a day should be fine, but pay attention to what it does to your baby, especially if you have more than 2-3 cups. The caffeine could make your little unable to sleep well, which is not good for mom or baby. Everyone needs their sleep especially in the early weeks. If you notice that caffeine is an issue, try having your cup of coffee right after your nurse instead of beforehand. Also, indulging in a drink with a little less caffeine [insert green tea here] can help!
• Dairy. Dairy can be very irritating for your newborn. If your baby is fussy, not sleeping well, gassy, or showing signs of skin issues, dairy could be the culprit. Give it a few weeks to see if your baby gets better. If so, you have your answer.
• Peppermint. Peppermint can decrease your milk supply. Small amounts should be fine, but pay attention to what happens to your supply after you consume peppermint (tea, gum, etc.) and be cautious of using peppermint essential oil even topically as it can be harmful to your infant to even inhale! If you notice that ingesting peppermint causes your supply to drop, I would back off until you are done nursing.