5 Surprising Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding for a Happier Baby

4 min

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Are you struggling with low milk supply? Have a fussy breastfed baby? After breastfeeding 4 babies, I learned that there are certain foods that actually cause lower milk supply. There are foods that can cause gas, colic, and indigestion in your newborn baby, which makes breastfeeding (and mom life!) so much harder. Discover these surprising foods to avoid while breastfeeding.

Once you have an understanding of breastfeeding foods and how they affect you and your baby, breastfeeding is way easier.

Now just to be clear – this is not a complete list. It’s just a few common foods that really surprised me when I took them out of my breastfeeding diet.

What was the surprise?

My babies were easier to care for because they were not suffering from symptoms caused by what I was eating.

This was shocking for me.

What foods to avoid while breastfeeding?

When I had my first baby, I didn’t realize that there were foods that would affect my breast milk and my baby.

I ate pretty much what I wanted. It was basically a standard american diet. I struggled for months with a colicky baby who spit up after every feeding. It was like projectile spit up and scary.

There were so many tears. On my part and hers.

But seriously I thought that was normal. That’s what all the burp cloths and bibs are for, right?

Well, with each baby, I learned more and more about the importance of what you eat while breastfeeding. Not only does what you eat affect the quality of your milk supply, but it also affects how your baby feels.

And ultimately, if breastfeeding is a good experience for you.

So let’s look at a few foods that you may want to avoid while breastfeeding.

#1 Tomato-based sauces –

Lots and lots of recipes call for adding tomato sauce or tomato paste. I found that tomato-based foods like spaghetti and chili gave me indigestion.

It was also too acidic for my sensitive newborns. Often they would get diaper rash after eating tomato-based recipes. I also noticed that it contributed to acid reflux or what’s called infant GERD.

Fresh tomatoes seemed less problematic. But in general, decrease tomatoes and tomato-based recipes while breastfeeding to avoid acid reflux in your baby.

Sorry, Italian food, there will be plenty of time to eat you when baby weans!

# 2 Dairy –

Many newborn babies are sensitive to dairy and some will have the milk protein allergy. Avoiding dairy in the first 6 months postpartum can really help reduce the chances your baby will have colic, eczema and sleep issues.  There is actually evidence of this you can.

I found this out first hand. My 1st had very bad colic for months and it was miserable. She rarely slept, ate a ton, and spit up A LOT.

When I had my 2nd, it started very similarly, but my midwife suggested that I avoid dairy. Within days my baby was happy, cooing and a great sleeper. After a few weeks I thought, surely it wasn’t the dairy and added it back in, only to get a fussy, spitting up baby.

So after that I was sold and refrained from dairy with baby 3 and 4 from day 1! They were both relatively easy babies as long as I avoided the foods on this list.

Want to know the strange thing I noticed?

My younger 2 kids rarely ever spit up. Like almost never…unless I had dairy. If you are struggling with fussy newborn, dairy would be the first food to try eliminating.

Replace cow’s milk with nut milk and avoid cheese, sour cream, cream cheese and butter. This is not an issue for everyone, but definitely something to try if while breastfeeding your baby suffers from colic, eczema or sleep issues.

Need a meal plan with foods you can eat? Sign up for our email list below and we’ll send you a blank meal plan printable PLUS a done-for-you breastfeeding meal plan pdf with breastfeeding friendly meal ideas. 

#3 Wheat flour and Gluten  –

This one is more for Moms, than babies. But in my experience what effects Mama, effects baby. 

While this may be somewhat controversial, grains can cause inflammation of an already sensitive and taxed postpartum gut. Also eating foods like bread, muffins and pasta fills you up, but contains less nutrients than other foods that are more beneficial for you, which can make it harder to lose the extra baby weight.

So I decided to eat pizza and calamari a few weeks postpartum, only to have my baby break out (and get fussy from the tomato sauce). And a tiny psoriasis patch appear on my leg the next day. Coincidence? Maybe. But, I went back to gluten-free real quick.

If your baby is experiencing digestive upset, it may be worth a try to eliminate gluten and see what happens. You can always add it back it after awhile and at that point if you see a change 

Remember – it takes up to 2 weeks to fully eliminate any of these foods from your system, but usually, you can start to see results with a few days.

What to eat instead of pasta and bread when breastfeeding?

Stop eating bread and pasta altogether, or opt for gluten-free versions.

Need more carbs? Add in more rice, potatoes, oats (gluten-free) and quinoa to your breastfeeding diet.

#4 Certain common herbs –

Parsley, peppermint, oregano, thyme, and sage are very common herbs used in many recipes. I was shocked to learn that these common herbs are actually shown to decrease breast milk supply. Mostly because I breastfed 4 babies and just found this out!

These are common spices included in many pre-baby freezer meal recipes you will find on Pinterest and Google. They are also common ingredients in spice mixes, so be aware when using them while cooking.

#5 Broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts –

While these are all super healthy foods that are definitely good for nourishing your pregnant body, they can cause gas in newborn babies. When babies have too much gas they can become uncomfortable and fussy.

Many babies will squirm and even turn red when they have trapped gas. If you notice these symptoms in your baby, try avoiding these gassy vegetables while breastfeeding for a week and see if your baby has less gas. 

My babies also seemed to get diaper rash from broccoli in particular. 

Many breastfeeding Moms and babies can tolerate these vegetables without trouble. So the only reason to avoid this food group is if you notice negative symptoms in YOUR baby. 

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If you have gotten to this point and are wondering what the heck can you eat – keep reading for some suggestions below. 

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