Childhood Diseases

Posted by: Aneesha | 2010/03/17


What to eat when breastfeeding

Hello doctor
I am a 33 yr old indian women that just gave birth to a beautiful baby boy and he is purely breast fed. He has a bit of wind in his tummmy. I want to know if the gases from certain foods, like sugar beans and pea dholl as well as other foods that are gasious, are transfered to my baby thrugh the brest milk. I am sure the nutrients from these foods will be transfered but does the gas also get transfered. Also i need to know if eating cabbage dries up brest milk.

Expert's Reply



It is true that small fractions of virtually all foods you eat will pass into your breastmilk. This is particularly the case with legumes of all sorts eg peas,beans and lentils.The gas as such does not get transferred and the cause of your baby being windy is more likkley to be due to some mild degree of lactose intolerance which can occur with breast milk as well.Eating cabbage will not cause your breast milk to dry up.

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user comments


Posted by: Purple | 2010/03/17

You can eat just as you usually do when you are breastfeeding. Just eat a normal, healthy diet. You don''t have to avoid spicy food or garlic or tomato, or dairy or citrus or anything - just eat as you usually would.

Most of the information on eating and breastfeeding is just old wives tales.

Its also not true that you need huge amounts of fluids - just drink water or juice when you are thirsty as you normally would.

No, cabbage will not dry up your breastmilk. What dries up breastmilk is anthisthamine, feeding a baby in a strict routine and giving bottles of formula or water, giving solids too early, using dummies to stretch between feeds and limiting how long you let baby feed on the breast.

Nothing that you eat will give your baby gas. Air bubbles cannot pass out of your nipples and into your baby - it is not physically possible.
Milk is made int he breasts in a similar way to how your body manufactures blood. If something can get into your blood stream, it can get into your milk (this is a very simplistic explanation). The nutrients from the food you eat are carried around your body in your blood stream, they fed your baby through the umbilical cord and now they are in your milk and feeding your baby that way.

Your milk is flavoured by what you eat, and that is a good thing. Your baby will happily move onto solids when the time comes because it is used to a variety of tastes.

If your breasts are full and painful from engorgement, a cold cabbage leaf with a hole cut out for the nipple will ease the pain. A hot face cloth will also help. Remember to wash off the breast after using a cabbage leaf as the taste will not be pleasant for baby.

All babies get wind from digesting their milk, it is quite normal.
If baby has cried a lot before a feed, or hasn''t latched properly then she might have taken in air before the feed which will make her windy. When latched correctly there is a perfect seal and no air will get in. You can tell if baby is latched correctly or not by whether you have pain or not. If she is latched correctly you might feel a bit of discomfort but if she is latched badly you will have pain and could even get cracked nipples which I have heard can be excruitiatingly painful. You need professional help with latching if you are having these problems.

People worry so much about wind because bottle fed babies get so much wind because they gulp in air as they feed on the bottle.

If your baby is pulling her legs up to her tummy, try feeding her more often. Feeding every 2 - 4 hours is normal, and more often during a growth spurt which happens at around 3 weeks, 6 - 8 weeks, 3 months, 4 and a half months, 6 months and so on right through childhood and the teenage years but is far less noticeable when on solids after 6 months.

Remember that babies cluster feed in the mornings and evenings from early on right up till around 12 - 14 weeks. From about 6 - 8 am and about 3 - 7 pm baby will have short little feeds every twenty minutes or so. This is quite normal. It is not a sign that you have too little milk, or that your baby has colic.

Please come and join us on the breastfeeding peer forum.

Reply to Purple

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