Posted by: Ives | 2004/11/02


Breastmilk and food

How much of what you eat gets into your breastmilk (I have had so many different opinions) and effects baby? If food does influence winds etc through your breastmilk what foods should one avoid? Also - What is the time period of you eating a meal and that meal coming through the milk? I have been told it could be the very next feed, is that correct?

Expert's Reply



My personal opinion is that you should not be too aware of all this advice, because everyone has a different opinion. As long as you eat a healthy balanced diet your child will get everything that is required and you can see for yourself (by trial and error) if any particular foods affect your baby in any way. The effect is usually seen within the next feed or two and may be associated with discomfort or crying, but it is important to remember that none of the effects are harmful to your baby.

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.

user comments


Posted by: dr anonymous | 2004/11/04

Spot on "Purple"!

Reply to dr anonymous
Posted by: Purple | 2004/11/03

Contact a lactation consultant, you have been pumped full of old wives tales.

What you eat does flavour your breast milk. This is a very good thing, as it means that your baby is exposed to a variety of tastes, and when going onto solids at 6 months, will be keen to try all the different tastes.

You don't need to avoid any foods when breast feeding. Yes you can eat citrus, curry, dairy, tomatoe, noion, garlic etc. If you have had an extremely spicy curry and your baby doesn't want to feed at the next feed, then eat less spicy curry next time.
Avoid alcohol while breast feeding (though two small glasses of wine a week are fine). Don't smoke when breast feeding as the nicotine passes straight through into your breast milk.

It is important that you eat a balanced diet while breast feeding, so don't cut out any foods. Your body will make milk no matter what you eat, but obviously the better quality your diet (the healthier the food you eat), the more nutritious your milk will be.

On what to avoid for wind. You digest your food in your stomach, not your breasts. Bubbles of air can't travel through your breasts. Nothing that you eat will give your baby wind. The old wives tale about broccoli is just not true!! There is no enzyme that causes broccolli to make your baby have wind.

As you've probably also been told that certain things will increase your breat milk. This is not true either. The way to increase milk supply is to feed your baby. Demand feeding ensures that you will always have enough milk, as you feed more often during growth spurts (3 weeks, 6 weeks, 4 months, 6 months), and you feed during the morning and evening cluster feeds, so baby doesn't cry in the evenings. This all makes more milk.
A relaxed frame of mind and not rushing around also ensures lots of milk.
Milk stout, champagne, oats, shehen elixer etc will not increase your breast milk.

I would strongly recommend seeing a lactation consultant (one for your area will be listed in the back of all baby and pregnancy magazines).
All these old wives tales do serious damage to people breast feeding, as some people give up feeding because they are so busy avoiding foods - when they don't need to avoid any food.

Reply to Purple

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