food for nursing mothers

6 Foods Nursing Mothers Should Limit and Avoid

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Nursing mothers should be more careful of their diet and lifestyle than ever before. As it is not just about their own self, rather the nutrition of their little one is all dependent upon them too. Thus nursing mothers should adopt a more balanced approach when it comes to diet.

Generally, nursing mothers can eat almost everything. However, there are few exceptions that they need to take care of. Experts believe that things that mothers consume affect the milk content. Thus eating a simple, nutritious, and well-balanced diet will help to ensure that the baby gets the best and it is far away from even the shadow of any unhealthy food.

Which Products To Avoid During Pregnancy?

A nursing mother should aim to avoid certain foods; however, if it seems hard, then even limiting the intake of such foods can work well. Let us go through the list of foods a nursing mother should avoid.

1. Mercury Rich Fish

Fish generally make a good source of healthy fats and abundantly supply omega-3 fatty acids than any other food source. However, there are some fish and seafood that are rich in mercury. Mercury is a highly toxic metal that can prove fatal to the health of little ones. Nursing mothers must avoid mercury-rich fish and seafood as long as they are feeding infants.

Mercury poisoning can impair the normal growth and development of infants in numerous ways. Swordfish and tuna, king mackerel, and tilefish are some examples of mercury-rich fish. It does not mean to skip fish while breastfeeding completely. Ensure adequate intake of omega-3 from fish sources with relatively low mercury levels.

2. Avoid Smoking

Nursing mothers, at all costs, should stay away from smoking. Right after smoking, the nicotine levels tend to increase in the blood of the nursing mother and milk that is produced inside her body. This can increase the risk of pneumonia and other respiratory issues in infants.

Switching to the least harmful substitutes can work well for nursing mothers. Vaping is considered safe, and it is not as harmful as traditional cigarettes. Women can even find a wide range of flavors. For example, they can choose menthol flavor E-liquid because it is tasty and will satisfy them. 

3. Herbal Supplements

Natural herbs such as basil and cumin seeds are considered good for nursing mothers. Adding these herbs to your routine diet gives a boost to the milk supply. However, this cannot be said about herbal teas and supplements. Herbal supplements are not regulated by the FDA, and thus there is always a safety concern when it comes to its usage.

Nursing mothers on the safer side should avoid such herbal supplements as they might become the cause of trouble for you or the baby. Take professional advice from your physician before using any kind of herbal supplement. Nursing mothers usually take herbal supplements to enhance their milk supply.

4. Alcohol

Nursing mothers should abstain from alcohol due to multiple reasons. The first and foremost reason is that alcohol can directly affect milk supply. Consuming alcohol excessively can reduce the milk supply. Secondly, alcohol is injurious to mental and physical health, and it may impair the normal growth and development of the baby.

Women must look to avoid alcohol, especially while they are nursing babies. Studies show that alcohol remains in the body for two to three hours after ingestion. Thus when mothers nurse babies, there are strong chances that it might get transferred into the body of little ones through milk.

5. Caffeine

Many people are really fond of caffeine as it is not as harmful and injurious as tobacco and alcohol. Caffeine comes in many variations, such as beverages, coffee, chocolates, and tea. Experts recommend that a woman should not exceed 300 mg of caffeine per day. When a woman ingests too much caffeine, It ends up in the milk and eventually in the baby.

Excess of caffeine in babies can cause major issues. Infants need more sleep hours than adults, and caffeine can make it hard for little ones to manage sleep. This can turn babies irritable. It is also difficult for infants to process and get rid of caffeine. Thus women should watch their caffeine intake, especially while breastfeeding.

6. Highly Processed Food

Nursing mothers should look to avoid processed foods in any form. Processed foods have the least value to offer in terms of low fiber, more unhealthy fats, more calories, and fewer nutrients. We are aware of the fact that nowadays, food is both mechanically and chemically processed. This leaves food with artificial flavors, preservatives, and even chemicals that are unhealthy.

When a nursing mother relies more on processed food, then the milk has little nourishment to offer to the baby. Nursing mothers are encouraged to eat fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins by all means. A well-balanced diet will sufficiently support the normal and healthy growth and development of a baby.

Other Considerations

A nursing mother should be vigilant of the impacts of her diet on the baby. No doctor or expert would tell you about it, and a mother herself has to notice and learn about it. Many times eating certain types of food such as garlic, some spices, and refined grains can turn a baby fussy and irritable.

A woman should also avoid such foods, which may cause discomfort to the baby. Nursing mothers will come to know about such food with experience and a little vigilance.  

Take Away

There is no substitute for breast milk for a growing baby. Milk is the source of nourishment for babies and provides all essential nutrients and minerals needed for normal growth and development. However, the food that a mother eats has a lot to do with milk supply, and therefore a woman should avoid certain foods while nursing a baby. It is essential to avoid all possible problems associated with those foods.