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Question
Posted by: lana | 2005/06/10

37 weeks pregnat, want to know what foods to avoid when breastfeeding

Hi
I scanned the archives but could not find something.. SO I have heard a lot of contradictory advice with regards to the food and drinks you should avoid during breast feeding...
Like Orange juice, tomatoes, garlic, broccoli, chocolates...is it true?
Could you please maybe give me some advise with regards to that..I´m a first time mom and some what clueless as well as in a foreign speeking country to top it!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageGynaeDoc

Purple has given you good advice.

Best wishes

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Purple | 2005/06/10

Something that isn't an old wives tale is cabbage leaves for your breasts if they get engorged.

If you demand feed your baby your breasts should not get engorged when you milk "comes in" - changes from colostrum to full milk. Your breats will get very full but shouldn't be painful. However, if your baby goes longer than usual between feeds, you could get a little engorged. Keep some green cabbage leaves in the fridge, cut out a hole for your nipple and wear them in your bra. They really help.

Also remember that breast feed babies like to feed between 2 and 4 hourly. They have growth spurts at about 3 weeks, 6-8 weeks, 12 weeks, 4 months and 6 months when baby will feed more often (in some cases every hour to hour and a half). This is so that baby can increase your milk supply. It will last from 4 days to a week and then baby will revert back to his original pattern.

Also remember that up until about 12 weeks, babies cluster feed in the mornings and evenings, so in the evenings from about 3 until about 7 baby might want to feed as often as every 45 minutes. The morning cluster feeding is from about 6 to 8 a.m. This is all to build up your milk supply. Remember it works on supply and demand.

On some days your baby will want lots of feeds and on other days your baby will just want a few short feeds. Always let your baby feed for as long or short as he wants. Its the same as the way that some days we just want a salad, but on other days we want a garlic roll, roast chicken and veg with potatoes, pudding and buscuits and cheese.

there is no need to give your baby bottles of water to drink at 6 weeks of age (your mother will tellyou differently). If your baby is thirsty, he will have lots of short little drinks in order to get lots of the watery foremilk (which is 90% water).

Remember that so long as you let your baby feed for as long or short as he likes, he will always get the right amount of fore and hind milk. You don't have to worry about how long on each breast. There are many women who have exclusively fed a child from one breast - its supply and demand so the breast just produces whats necessary.

Don't start solids until 6 months, and you can start with fruit. breast milk is very sweet, so your baby will take vegetalbes after fruit just fine.

You know your baby is getting enough milk if you can hear baby swallowing (loud gulping sounds), baby has 6-8 wet nappies and 2-5 poo nappies a day, and is putting on weight each week. (if a nurse wants to test weigh before and after feeds - this doesn't tell you anything - find a new nurse). All women (unless you have had surgery or a genuine hormonal reason) produce enough milk.

Get yourself the best breast pump you can afford. There are some great manual ones, but the electric ones only cost slightly more.

Try and find a lactation consultant. Do an internet search for a board certified lactation consultant and see if you can find one in your country. They are experts in human breastfeeding and will advise and help you from the earliest days onwards.

Wishing you a wonderful birth experience and a joyful breastfeeding journey.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: Purple | 2005/06/10

Most of what you read and hear about foods while breastfeeding is old wives tales.

Firstly, you just need to eat a normal, healthy diet while breast feeding.

The food you eat does flavour your breast milk, but this is a good thing as it means that your baby is easier to get onto solids than a formula fed baby who only ever tastes one flavour.

You don't need to avoid tomatoes, citrus - oranges etc, garlic, curry and other spicy foods. Don't eat an extremely spicy curry as your baby might refuse to feed, but a mildly spicy one is fine. Its been shown that mothers who eat a lot of garlic tend to breast feed for longer because babies love the flavour it gives to milk.

All food is digested and causes wind. However, you digest your food in your stomach, not your breasts, and little air bubbles cannot pass through your nipples and into your baby to give your baby wind. Your baby gets wind from digesting your milk. You can eat broccolli, cabbage etc and it will not give your baby wind. Your baby will get wind about ten minutes after a feed when s/he has digested the milk.

You must not smoke when breastfeeding as the nicotine passes straight into your breastmilk unaltered, in the same way that it goes into your bloodstream.

You can drink a little alcohol while breastfeeding - no more than about 2 small glasses of wine a week. Wine and beer are fine, but avoid spirits, which are much stronger. I have a friend who if she had more than half a glass of wine, her baby would vomit. I could drink a glass of wine without a complaint from my baby.

If your baby refuses to feed after you have eaten a particular food, then you know to avoid that food. This will be different for different babies though.

Another favourite for old wives tales is about how to increase milk supply. Demand feeding and feeding more often and expressing are the only ways to do this. Milk stout, oats etc will not increase your milk supply.

You don't need to do anything to prepare your nipples for feeding - they are designed for feeding and are ready all by themselves. They are made of erectile tissue like a penis, and scrubbing them will damage them. It will also cause your nipples to be very painful when you feed.

Have your baby put on your tummy immediately after birth and let him suckle straight away - the sucking reflex is strongest in the first hour after birth. Cracked nipples can result from a bad latch, so this is very important.

Remember that any pain or cracking is a sign that you have a latching problem. Don't let any nurses tell you its because your breats are tired from feeding too much - this is a load of nonsense. Your breasts can be quite sensitive at first, but they should feel tender from teh feeding in the beginning - not sore. Use Lansinoh cream or gently squeeze out some breast milk (it will be colostrum at that stage) and gently rub it onto your nipples.

Breastfeeding is a wonderful experience. Enjoy it.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: Tash | 2005/06/10

This week in our Anti natal classes we covered breast feeding. Our Midwife told us that you can eat the same foods you ate during your pregnancy as the baby has already been exposed to them.

Gas causing foods tend to give you gas, and could give your baby gas too.

Orange juice can give you and baby heart burn or acid reflux.

Coke, Coffee and tea has caffien in and makes your baby hyper or not be able to settle down properly.

You can have a glass or two of wine, just feed the baby just before you drink it. If you feed your baby after you have been drinking, the alcohol will make the baby grubby and not "mellowed" out - like it will do to you. Otherwise feed it on expresed milk.

Hope this helps a bit. Oh and she also said that if you find your baby is not happy, try cutting out milk - it could have an allergy - if baby seems fine after 3 days it was prob the lactose. If baby is still not happy try cutting something els out of your diet. (hope that made sence)

Reply to Tash
Posted by: Moi | 2005/06/10

I avoided foods with a lot acid, like tomatoes, and also spicy foods, and then things like cabbage and broccolli. i had also been told that you shouldnt eat garlic, but recenlty, i was told that you should eat garlic when you are breastfeeding, cause it's good for the baby, so i dont know anymore!

Reply to Moi

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