55 answers

Food Restrictions for Me While Breastfeeding?

Hi everyone,

I've been getting conflicting advice from the various doctors in my OB practice, as well as the nurses I've asked, so I wanted to see what you experienced breastfeeders out there have been told about this. What foods should I continue to avoid while breastfeeding? The one consistent piece of advice I've received is that I should continue to avoid sushi (darn!), but my OBs are mixed on whether I should keep staying away from smoked salmon, deli meats, hot dogs, soft (unpasteurized) cheeses, albacore tuna, eggs with runny yolks, and peanut butter. I was really looking forward to resuming my regular diet and not having to be so careful about food once the baby arrives, but some people have told me I should continue avoiding the above foods if I plan to breastfeed. Advice, please?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all for your advice and encouragement! After reading all your responses, I feel much more relaxed about eating normally while breastfeeding (within the limits of those foods that don't upset the baby's tummy!) I like the idea of starting to reintroduce foods into my diet slowly, so I will do that; also, I'll plan to avoid peanut butter for a while, as we do have some nut allergies in our family. Also, many thanks to those of you who referred me to the kellymoms site - it looks like a great resource!

More Answers

I breastfed four kids and never had I been told not to eat certain foods. However, I was not a sushi fan back then.
With my first, though, I found soon that he could not tolerate chocolate and I had to give that up. If I had even the tiniest bit of chocolate he would throw up as soon as he ate. It was terrifying for me as I didn't think I had enough milk left to feed him. But we got through it ok. I don't recall any problems with my other babies.
I've heard onions are hard on a babies tummy too but mine never had a problem.
Rest assured, whatever you do have to give up, you aren't going to be giving them up forever. It's a small price to pay to be sure your little one has the best. Have you contacted the local la leche league? They are a big help and support for breast feeding moms.

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First, I'd get advice from breastfeeding moms (like those in La Leche League) instead of OBs. OBs are surgical specialists, not breastfeeding experts. Remember that it is primarily because of doctors' "expert advice" that breastfeeding was nearly eradicated from this country a few generations ago.

If you do want to consider their advice, I'd suggest asking them *why* to stay away from these things while breastfeeding, and what evidence they have that these things are harmful.

It looks like you're being advised to stay away from foods that might contain listeria. I have no knowledge that any bacteria from foods you consume can in any way possibly transfer through your breastmilk. Also, my midwife (2 years ago) said that the listeria scare from a few years previous basically did the trick, and they are doing much better with the food supply (making sure there isn't listeria contamination in those foods), so she didn't advise me not to eat any of those things, except for the fish because of the potential for mercury content.

As far as the peanut butter goes, I think that's because of the assumption that the more peanut butter you eat, the more likely it is for your child to develop a peanut allergy. However, I've recently read that they've found the opposite is true. It would be helpful to find what actual evidence there is for dietary recommendations.

I didn't really worry too much about what I ate. Yes, when I got gas the baby got gas. No big deal. If you eat something that you know causes gas, then the next time you feed your baby, you can give him/her simethicone (gas-x) drops at the feeding to help minimize it. Babies get used to what they eat, whether it's the tastes of the food in your breastmilk or whatever. Do you think that foreign women who typically eat spicy foods (like Mexican, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, etc.) suddenly go to a bland diet when they start nursing? Unlikely. Babies adjust. They can taste the food you ate in your breastmilk, and that actually helps them prepare to enjoy the same diet.

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I don't know who told you to stay off all that stuff. What are you going to eat if you can't eat anything?
I breast fed 3 boys and 1 girl. I ate whatever I wanted and they told me if they didn't want it again. The only thing for sure that I stayed away from was onions and cabbage. I ate fruits, veggies, meats, eggs, seafood,.... you name it. If they seemed fussy a couple of hours after I ate something, I just made a mental note of it and stayed away from it. Sometimes I would try it a couple of months later to see if it affected them and sometimes it did and sometimes it didn't.

Honey just eat whatever you want. The baby needs all the vitamins and your immunities. Your body will give the baby what it needs before it will you. Just eat what you want and let your baby tell you what it dislikes.

Now stuff like RAW seafood I didn't eat and wouldn't eat it now and you aren't supposed to eat it while you are pregnant. It can cause hepititis A or C... one of those. So just stay away from raw stuff that you wouldn't eat anyway and you will be fine.

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You really can't ever be totally safe in the world. You can live in a bubble, but do you really want to? If you or your husband suffer from severe allergies, you might want to avoid foods that trigger allergic reactions, just in case those things would sensitize your baby, who is likely to end up allergic anyway, but at least you wouldn't feel guilty about it. I can see staying away from potential food poisoning, so limiting sushi or raw meats at least for the first few months is reasonable. If you worry about raw eggs, you can buy eggs pasturized in the shell--these are more expensive, but you only have to buy them for a year or so. The fish is probably due to mercury levels, so just eat it once a week or so and it's not that big a deal. Deli meats and hot dogs are again due to the food poisoning thing, probably safe but you could get listeria.

I nursed three kids for well over a year each, and ate whatever I pleased. I never noticed anything bothering them. When my third daughter was a month old, I got a stomach bug that was so awful it was probably food poisoning, and I got dehydrated to the point that my I didn't have any milk for about 12 hours (I gave her frozen milk but let her keep nursing so that I'd produce milk again when I kept some liquid inside.) She never got sick at all, so she was protected from either the food poisoning or the virus by her inborn immunity.

Everything in life is a gamble. You could get hit by an astroid and all your careful dieting would be wasted. For the next 20 years, when trying to decide how to raise your child, think of what could happen, and what is likely to happen, and decide if it's worth changing the quality of your life to keep yourself or the child safe. Decide what makes you too uncomfortable and what you can live with. I personally gave up flying with my kids because I read a horror story in a magazine and knew that I never wanted to be unable to save them in a plane crash. How nuts is that? I put them in the car, which is much more dangerous!

So only you can decide what your comfort level will be. None of those foods is really very likely to cause immediate damage to your baby, and probably won't cause long-term damage (I drank an entire bottle of champagne a week before finding out I was pregnant the first time, and my 18 year old son is a perfectly behaved National Merit Scholar, even though everyone would have you believe he should have fetal alcohol syndrome.)
You're the mom, and you have a natural sense of what is best for your child. Listen to your heart and you'll be fine.

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I breast fed 1 daughter and 2 sons for a total of 5 years (and worked a full-time job outside the home) and never limited my diet before eating the food. For instance, if I ate spicy food and the baby was irratated I would avoid spicy food. If the baby was constipated I would eat dark chocolate and the baby would poop. I believe you should eat "vegetable" sushi and avoid the raw fish. I loved breast feeding and used it to the fullest advantage for each child. If they were happier when I consumed more carbs and less red meat then that's what I did. You are going to be the one in the driver's seat and will know before anyone else what effect your diet is having on your baby. Also, my husband's family was smothering me when I had our first child. They wanted me to pump breast milk so they could feed the baby. My pediatrician told my husband that the breast feeding bond was between mother and child and everyone else needed to keep out. Things went much smoother after that. It sounds like you have more advice than you need. Just relax and realize women have been birthing babies for centuries without medical doctors or nurses on hand and they've done just fine.
Trust yourself and enjoy the adventure!!! A. Burnette, Hillsborough, NC

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I don't have any advice, but I wanted to say I am excited for you - I am also 31 and expecting my first a few months. All the new moms I see are in their early 20's so it's nice to know I'm not alone out there :-)

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Hello C.,

It is really not a big deal to resume your regular diet while breastfeeding. Trust me you will need all the calories you can get from good food!!! As for some of the thing you mentioned...sushi is from what I understand a no no. As for the deli meat, make sure it is fresh and I always throw mine in the microwave for about 10 seconds and I continue eating even when I am pregnant (not everyday, but when I want a sandwich, Hot dogs are I did the same. As for the salmon and tuna I went with the ped. he said no albacore because it was a larger fish and had the potential of more mercury but the other and salmon was fine about oune a week (this was the advice he gave me for my son when he turned one so I am taking that advice while I am pregnant again. I figure if it is okay for him it should be okay for me on a limite dbases. The only other thing is Peanut Butter...it is an allergy thing, if you have no allergies in you family then everyone has told me it is okay to eat it. As for the one person who mentioned broc, apples, and things that cause gas... I personally never had a issue with them affecting the baby.

BUT as many said start bland and add new foods as you go seeing how the baby reacts especcially with things that could cause allergies...dairy, soy, eggs... By the end I was eating everything in the book including onions and spicy food!!!


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I had breast fed my two children. My first born, I ate only healthy foods, no caffine, no choclate no junk foods. Plenty of vegetables, and fruits. Drank plenty of liquids, juice, milk & water. I had few problems with him, he had a little bit of colic, not bad. However I got pregnant for my second child when he was just 6 months old. I did continue to breast feed until he was about 9 months and then at that time my milk wasn't enough to make him gain the weight he should. I had enough in volume, but not richness. Now I was a little more care free with my daughter, but did notice that if I took in caffine or chocolate that she would be fussy. Between the 2 she was a little more harder to handle with the colic, couldn't take her out allot until she was over 6 months old.
Good luck!!!

I was never told to avoid anything specific when breastfeeding. My children are 10 and 5 years. I was given advice to avoid spicy foods and to much fresh onion because they could upset my babies' tummies, but other than that the doctor's gave me no list. I have dealt with eczema in my daughter since she was 3 years old and constipation in my son since he was about 3 years old, but I am sure neither condition is a result of my diet while breast feeding. We have a history of eczema in our family and my son has a finicky digestive system. Unless you have a history of a specific food allergy I don't see why you would really need to avoid so many yummy foods. I say eat up and enjoy! :)

Congrats on your upcoming birth. You've already found what ended up being my pet-peeve. Too much advice. And it all conflicted. Here's a link about foods during breastfeeding from my FAVORITE website, kellymom.com
Here's an excerpt:

"There are NO foods that a mother should avoid simply because she is breastfeeding. It is generally recommended that you eat whatever you like, whenever you like, in the amounts that you like and continue to do this unless you notice an obvious reaction in your baby to a particular food. There is no such thing as a "LIST OF FOODS THAT BREASTFEEDING MOTHERS SHOULD NOT EAT" because most nursing moms can eat anything they want, and because the babies who are sensitive to certain foods are each unique - what bothers one may not bother another. If you have a family history of allergies, you might want to avoid certain foods (for example, peanuts or dairy), but again, this would be different for every child."

I found this to be the ONLY site out there that had FACT BASED info, not just a bunch of moms sharing out dated advice. With that being said, though, I did enjoy the forum section where moms can talk to each other. It's the premier site for breastfeeding moms. Those first few weeks can be tough. I said every day for the first few weeks that "today is my last day breastfeeding". I swear, without kellymom, I would have stopped for sure. My ped and OB were not very supportive and even other breastfeeding moms were not very helpful (surprising). Good luck to you!! I wish you the best!!

I've never heard of anyone advising not to eat certain foods while breastfeeding. It's totally different than when you're pregnant. I breastfed my daughter for over a year, and I ate pretty much anything I wanted. Certain foods can make them gassy, and too much caffeine can have the same effect on them it does on us (keeps them awake), but aside from that I'd eat whatever I wanted. I don't know about sushi since I don't eat it anyway, but I think you're safe with everything else unless your baby shows some sort of allergy.

Good luck with the breastfeeding! It was very difficult for us at first, but if you push through it gets easier and easier.

I have been BF for 10 months now. No one at any time has told me about diet restrictions. Not my OB and not my son's pediatrician. I resumed my regular diet immediately except: caffeine. It is tranmitted so unless you want a wired infant, i would lay off. baby's aren't supposed to eat eggs or peanut butter until they are older, and I eat both on a weekly basis- therefore so does my son. I also watch spicy foods and gas inducing foods- but that is just to be nice. I believe there is a book on the market specifically for this topic, you may want to google it. good luck J. b.

Within hours of the birth of my oldest son(3 years old) my husband went to the store and bought me more sushi than I could eat in a week. I was obviously in the hospital and not a single nurse or doctor said anything to me other than I bet you've been waiting a while for that. We also did the same thing with my youngest(5 months). I've resumed a completely normal diet, including hot dogs, deli meat, tuna, sushi, blue and brie cheeses(at least 3 times a week), peanut butter etc. I've never heard that you have to alter yourt diet as extremely as when you are pregnant, just continue to eat healthy and you'll be fine. Congrats and Good Luck

Hello C.,
My kids are all grown up so its been a long time since I breastfed,but I can offer you the advice that I was given back in Britain many years ago.Basicaly its like a rule of thumb,whatever food you eat is also feeding your baby.For example,if you had a fancy for a hot chilli,then the baby will also be getting it in their next meal,and that can cause the baby some discomfort.I learnt that one the hard way!The best way to start off is by eating the good old fashioned meat and veg dishes which are rich in vitamins and iron ,they will be beneficial to you,as well as the baby. Then slowly introduce you regular diet back into the mix.I would definately stay away from raw fish and also salmon,but fresh water fish should be fine.As for hot dogs and deli meats thats a new one on me.They used to advice women to stay away from them whilst pregnant for obvious reasons,so I cant offer any help there,but again,your milk is your baby's source of all the goodness he/she needs to thrive,so just think healthy well balanced meals.
And remember that breast feeding is a different experience for every woman,so just relax,go with the flow and you will soon get into the routine.And remember its not a sin to express some of your milk and put it in a bottle for someone else to feed the baby,your going to need some well earned rest.
All the very best to you.

Hey C., My name is M., I'm a mother of a 3 year old boy whom I breastfed exclusively for the first year. I am also a natural foods chef.You still need to be very conscious of everything you eat while breasfeeding, but it is really all common sense.Any reactions that foods cause in adults, they will cause in babies. For example the first time I had broccolli sauteed in garlic fo dinner, I was up all night with a crankie gassy baby. No bottom dwelling or raw fish, tuna mackrel sword etc. As far as dairy goes I tried not to over do it, but enjoyed cheese daily. Watch the caffeine this one is very important. Good luck to you, I wish you a speedy beautiful birthing experience. If I can help feel free to e-mail. ____@____.com

Hi C.~
Congratulations and welcome to the world of motherhood! I'm so happy that you chose to breastfeed. There are many benefits to both of you. The foods you avoided during pregnancy should continue, and especially during the first few months of breastfeeding. The foods you included in your post should continue to be avoided. You can actually have sushi, it just has to be veggie. Also any high allergy foods such as nuts and berries should be avoided for a while. Especially stay away from foods that you are allergic to or high allergy foods that run in your family. The internet is a great resource too - check out www.babycenter.com This site can give you guidance.
I've EBF my son for the past 10 months. I honestly cut out those taboo foods for the first few months, but then I did have some deli meats and also some unpasturized cheeses. Everything in moderation. I did not have any raw sushi though. My son had trouble with digestive problems and me eating spicy Mexican, so I stayed away from it for a few months, then I slowly introduced it starting with chips and salsa and then he was better with digestion. Good luck with your little one!

I breastfeed both of my boys, and I never heard of a food restriction. I noticed that the food I ate would sometimes give them gas... from chocolate. I think that once you have your baby gurl and start getting into the grove of being a momma you'll know what you should be eating or not eating. Good luck with all the advice!!! Don't stress over it just cherish your lil baby.

Congratulations on expecting your first baby! I just had my first one last June. Here is an excellent website for all the breastfeeding info you will ever need, and this section is about nutrition while breastfeeding http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/mom/mom-foods.html#sushi
There are no foods that you "cannot" eat while breastfeeding. So go ahead and enjoy that sushi!! If you do want a hot dog though, I suggest getting an all natural one like Coleman or Applegate Farms. They are made without toxic preservatives.

Hey C.! I was able to resume regular diet except for garlic, brocolli, Chickfila lemonade. Theses things killed my child. I wish you luck! Congratulations!

D. S.

Hi C.. I breastfed my son for 26 months and am currently breastfeeding my 6 month old daughter. I eat what I want to eat. The only problem I had when breastfeeding my son was that he got really gassy when I would eat cabbage or coleslaw. Other than that, I ate what I wanted. Trust me, you'll know what to avoid if it gives your baby gas or upset tummy. But as far as I know, you can eat pretty much anything you want.

There are two things that you may want to ovoid while breastfeeding: caffeine and alcohol consumption. The baby's system (liver) is not prepared to metabolize and therefore eliminate easily these compounds.
Otherwhise, you only need to eat healthy and mantain good habits.
By the way, you may need some support in the beginning, especially for preventing nipple cracks using the rigth technique for breastfeeding. This is a link where you can find more information:

My dissertation (PhD) was on breastfeeding duration and I did it during the same time I was nursing my baby, It's a nice experience. It's important to start breastfeeding as soon as you can (preferable whitin an hour after birth if posssible).
Congratulations and good luck!!

A. C.

I have four children and tried to breastfeed everyone, the last two did wonderfully. Stay away from garlic and anything spicy! The baby will taste these and won't eat. Before you eat, just think, is this a stong tasting food? If it is, reconsider something not as overwhelming for the baby. I would probably stay away from anything raw until the baby is at least a few months old. I was never told to stay away from deli meats and hot dogs until my last pregnancy and I started eating them as soon as I got home from the hospital. My youngest daughter is three and a half months old.
GOOD LUCK WITH THE NEW BABY! (My first two boys were both a week late getting here. Walking helps incourage the baby.)

I breast fed all three of my children and only stayed away from under cooked meats while I was nursing. I ate tuna from the can, hotdogs, deli meats, cheeses of any kind and peanut butter. After all, WIC gives vouchers to nursing mothers for peanut butter and tuna! Just varry your diet and don't eat tuna everyday for a week. As for the eggs, I eat mine fried with a bit of yellow to dip my toast in and never heard that I shouldn't have eaten them that way while pregnant or nursing. My children are all healthy and not over weight or under weight and do not have food allergies, although one did have GERD from the time she was 3 1/2 months to when she turned 9 months, but that was once she started on solids, not while she was nursing alone. Just pay attention to what you eat and watch your baby to see if something new causes a different reaction.

Hi C.. I am a 52 year old mom that nursed 5 out of my 6 children! After to listening to all the advice here is what I did......If the food gives me gas now, it will give me gas when I breastfeed........I ate exactly what I ate pregnant with no problem.......... Sushi is a no no so I just settled for California Rolls instead!.............I tried to lesson my intake of apples, brocolli, cabbage, etc. because of gas but other than these things, GO FOR IT! I ate normally.
The other advice I would give you is, eat often, drink A LOT of water, and don't give up. They don't always nurse because they are hungry. It soothes a cry every time! ENJOY! I DID! Debbie

I'd just like to share one of my experiences when I breastfed my daughter (who is now 17). I breastfed for 5 months due to allergies than run in my husband's family. When she was little we had some tummy issues & my mother in law was convinced she had colic, but there was no rhyme or reason or pattern to when she would have her belly problems. So we dealt with it whenever it happens. When she was a toddler- about 18 months old, no one had ever told me to avoid peanuts/peanut butter & she had a bite of a peanut butter cookie & swelled up like a blowfish & broke out in hives- I found out the hard way she is extremely allergic to peanuts! oddly enough, her father is NOT. That's when I figured out.... guess what my favorite lunch was when I breastfed? A peanut butter sandwich & milk! Pay attention to the cautions they are telling you, pay attention to what you eat & make notes of how your baby responds when you eat particular foods. Take cues from your baby & your instinct. Good luck!

Hello. The only thing I know for sure is that you should NOT drink much milk or eat much tomato sauce, no spaghetti! I did that and my son got such horrible gas pains we were up all night! No one told me that and I learned the hard way. No beans, no onions, nothing spicey. All bad for their tummy. I would not eat much peanut butter b/c they could become allergic but I did have some when I was nursing. As far as anything else, I ate them all except tuna and salmon. You can maybe research online under "foods not to eat when breastfeeding". Good luck!

W. M. in M'boro, TN

You're probably 'Mom' by now, but I breastfed all four of our (now grown) children for at least 1 year each. I ate everything. You just have to realize that onions, garlic, etc. flavors come through in your milk (natures way to introduce them to different tastes) and anything 'gassy' (broccoli, beans, cabbage, etc) will probalby also make them have 'tummy ache' several hours later (also nature's way to let them learn about 'the real world'! LOL). If you use any anti-histamines (pills, sprays, liquid), it not only dries up your breathing sinuses, but also milk sinuses inhibiting your production.

A few breastfeeding tips:
1) REST! Every chance you get, just relax. Get away from stress -- alone if possible, or just you and baby.
2) EAT AND DRINK PLENTY (of healthful foods/drinks)! You really ARE eating/drinking for two separate beings, NOW.
3) Stay around people who have a positive attitude toward breastfeeding.
4) Remember that baby will have growth spurts. Every few weeks/months s/he'll want to eat every few minutes. This is alarming, but the next day you'll FEEL the effects (bursting at the seams, so-to-speak). Nature has a wonderful way of providing for 'supply and demand'.

Good luck and God bless! Any more questions, feel free to contact me.

I have never heard of food restrictions while breastfeeding. I am now nursing my 3rd child and I eat what I want to. If your baby has a lot of gas issues, then you start cutting out foods that might be the culprit. But for now, don't worry about it. Just make sure you eat! And enjoy your baby!

I breast fed for 13 months and I was never told to avoid anything. I ate what ever I wanted unless my baby was showing signs that something I ate bothered her. I read the Le Leche handbook cover to cover and I don't recall anything about food restrictions. I would ask your childs pediatrician about food restrictions for you. I recall you could even have alcohol in moderation. Also if you are paranoid about food restrictions you may want to invest in a breast pump so if you need to get a sushi fix your husband can give your baby a bottle.(Some people are against this but I think it was nice for them) The pump and dump is really nice for those times when you just need a couple glasses of wine and some sushi. Afterall you could be breastfeeding for a long time depending on your child. Also I ate all kinds of wierd food when I was breastfeeding, my child is 4 years old and loves ethnic foods, spicy foods and will try anything. I am not sure if my crazy eating habits have anything to do with that.

I don't avoid any foods while breastfeeding. I have a 2 year old who I breastfed for 10 months. She is healthy and has always been in the 90th percentile. She is 2 now and I also have a 4 month old I am breastfeeding. I don't avoid anything but I limit my alcohol. I don't see how runny eggs and salmon and the other stuff can affect your breast milk.

Sorry to say C. , but i agree. You will have a fussy baby if you don't! Eat what you want if it is healty. Cheese is a bad food. It is mold and very hard for the body to metabalize,and if you let cheese after you cook it sit out for a day-oooooweeeeee! It really smells.

Honestly it all depends on your baby! My son, I couldn't eat eggs, chocolate :(, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, or anything that caused gas! With my daughters I had to avoid only the broccoli! Go with your gut! After the baby is born, introduce something back into your own diet, one at a time and see what happens.
Happy Motherhood!

P.S. Drink Red Raspberry Tea-put me in labor 3 times and have some fun with the hubby! He got you into this "mess"-He can get you out!

I am also a Labor and Delivery Nurse any questions just email me back!

Well I resumed to my regular diet also. Most of it included the items you listed. Although that was a way we detected early dairy, peanut and soy allergies for my daughter. She had a reaction when I ate those items but I look at it this way it was good to know early of her allergies. So you can slowly introduce the items to your diet and see if she is more gassy or has a hive reaction, that way you can make your own decision. Good luck and remember to be patient with yourself while 'learning' to breastfeed. A good pump and some room for error will take you a long way on these early years. :) What works for 1 child/parent does not work for everyone.

I was able to resume a regular diet while breastfeeding. I think the food items you mentioned were to be avoided due to the possibility of bacteria in them affecting the development process of the baby. Once the baby is born, the foods you want to avoid while breastfeeding are potential allergens. If there is a history of food allergies in either your or your husband's family, you should avoid any food that could potentially be an allergen to avoid passing it on tothe baby before his/her system is able to handle it. The big ones are shellfish and peanut butter, but it is up to you to determine the risk level and what you are comfortable with. I started back to my regular diet slowly, one food at a time, to make sure there were no affects on my son and we were fine. He breastfed for almost 9 months and I could never have lasted 2 whole years without peanut butter. lol

Hi C.
as a mom who raised 2 on the brest, (youngest is 30 now) if as a general rule, if it does not bother you, and does not gas your little one up, ( believe me you WILL know!) GO FOR IT! enjoy!

a bit about me: i am a 57 year old mother of 2 step mother of 2, step grand mother of 7, grand mother of 3, and step grand mother of 5..... all brest babies.

Hello, C.! I know you are excited about your little girl! I have 3 children and each one was different. My daughter had no reaction to anything I ate (as always, avoid alcohol and caffeine); my first son had severe colic every night from 4-11 p.m. EVERY NIGHT! He would react to certain foods I ate. Just keep a journal. My second son only reacted to dairy products, so I stuck with soy products and didn't have a problem after that. You need to play around and see what happens. At first, don't avoid anything but if you notice her getting fussy or balling herself up (bringing legs to her chest with a very tightness in the stomach) then you may need to keep a journal of what you are eating and when that happens. There are some drops you can buy and those were my best friends. I cannot remember the name of the drops, but they are in the baby aisle. Whenever you notice her balling up, give her some drops and it helps with the gas. My doctor said you can give them the drops anytime and it won't have any effect on them. But like everything else in life, you need to learn by experience. Good luck!

I resumed eating pretty normal, with the exception of raw fish. I would stay away from peanut butter also, because the doctors say to stay away from that with your child until she is one year old. Remember our parents ate whatever they wanted when they were pregnant with us and when they breastfed us and we turned out fine.

Hi C.,
I Breastfeed my son and have since he was first born he'll be 6 months on April 10th, The only food I avoid is Sashimi but I do eat California Rolls ( gosh I really miss other kinds of sushi) but as far as Albacore goes eat it in moderation . I would avoid Runny eggs and Unpasturized Cheese, However I have had Blue Cheese Dressing with some hot wings and celery and my little man was just fine. I eat Almond butter instead of peanut butter it's really good. Deli meats I eat lean turkey no roast beef. Turkey dogs or better yet Tofu dogs are really good with chedder cheese on them. well congrats and enjoy the wonderful bonding you get from giving your little one the best nutrition possible. hope this helps

Hi C.

Congrats on your newborn (hopefully she has decided to enter the world now). I breastfed my second daughter until she was one and I am now breastfeeding my third daughter who is 3 1/2 months old. I resumed the way I was eating prior to getting pregnant. Like others have mentioned, I only tried to watch out for foods that made them gassy. Just remember that whatever you eat it does pass through your milk and into the baby. Your baby will let you know what she does and doesn't like.

The only thing my doctor told me was to continue taking the medicines that were okay to take during my pregnancy and to continue to take my prenatal vitamins. There wasn't any mention of continuing to restrict my diet.

Good luck.

I pretty much ate whatever I wanted....I have never heard that you should cut back on anything other than caffeine and alcohol. You will find out what your baby doesn't have a good reaction to such as things that make him/her gassy or foods that make your breastmilk taste funny. Just keep note of these things and note any change in your baby's behavior after eating certain foods.
My son had horrible colic... one of those things that the dr said he would outgrow. The colic ended when I stopped breastfeeding (ironically) and returned to work when he was 4 mos. Screaming returned when we introduced a little egg at 1 year.... Come to find out he is severely allergic to egg... I at a TON of eggs while breastfeeding... Who knew?? I just didn't put two and two together... Don't make the same mistake I did! :)

you seem to have gotten plenty of advice! the few things i can remember not to eat were garlic, caffine and gassy foods, and of course, alchohol. the garlic really gave my son tummy trouble! make sure you stay extra hydrated, always have a glass of water with you when you get ready to nurse. and lots of rest! nursing can be VERY difficult in the beginning, but it does get easier. i nursed my first for 15 months and second for 8 months and enjoyed (almost) every moment. if you have any more questions about nursing feel free to email ____@____.com
god bless!

In Japan pregnant women eat sushi. In Spain pregnant women eat soft cheese, and limit themselves to one glass of wine per day. But breastfeeding and no sushi is not something I've NEVER heard of. I have 5 kids and love sushi. I eat it when pregnant as well as when breastfeeding. We also drink raw milk whenever possible (I trust my source, have used the same farmer for 7 years, through 3 pregnancies) and have never been sick as a result.

Maybe you need a new doctor, or a midwife. Or just use them for medical needs rather than advice. I love doctors when my kids need stitches or I'm worried about a broken bone, I have a special needs child who needs surgery sometimes- but we avoid them for everything else. Breastfeeding and nutrition and child rearing (where baby sleeps, how you discipline) are NOT big topics in medical school. You can learn more about breastfeeding than most doctors out there just by reading the Womanly Art cover to cover.

JMO, take what you like, leave the rest!

Dear C.,

My experience with breastfeeding was great, once I had figured out how to do it! The most important piece of advice I could give you is to make sure your baby is attached properly. It is breastfeeding not nipple feeding! My early breastfeeding mistakes caused me a lot of pain.

As for the food that you eat while breastfeeding, the most important question is there any allergies in your family's history or your husband's history. If there was I would not eat the peanut butter. Food tastes so wonderful when you are breastfeeding. I ate my regular diet but soon found that certain foods upset each of my babies. Cabbage and onions were ones that pretty consistently lead to a gassy infant. Like all things in parenthood, it is trial and error. I would be careful for the first six weeks and stick to the same diet you have been eating while pregnant, then add foods gradually. It takes about 4 to 6 weeks if you are fully breastfeeding to get into an easy routine. My only other advice would be to demand feed. If you have the time it is great and easy. The more relaxed you are the easier breastfeeding is. Good Luck! A.

Like you, I was very careful during my pregnancy of what I ate, but from the day my daughter was born in the hospital, I've eaten and drank what I wanted. (coffee in the hospital). My little girl hasn't reacted to anything and my OBGYN didn't tell me nor has my pediatrician told me to restrict what I eat. Of course, I only have an occasional glass of wine once she has gone to bed for the night and I know I won't need to feed her for awhile, and I limit my caffeine intake as well, but after a sleepless night last night I needed a little Starbucks today! hehe

I think you are in the clear unless you have reason to believe something you eat could cause fussiness or an allergic reaction in your baby. There are cookbooks available for nursing moms to help their diet prevent colic and gas.

No matter if you have given birth and the child is no longer a "part" of your body... if you are breastfeeding he/she IS still eating the same things you are there will be the same choices to consider and consequences about the foods YOU consume. I only breastfed for a month. The baby gets all the beneficial antibodies and good stuff in the first months of breastfeeding anyhow. My daughte never had an ear infection and rarely got a cold even when everyone else in the house was sick!!! The reason I only breastfed for the 1st month? Well, some of you will not like my SELF-CENTERED reason, but here it is. I wanted an alcoholic drink, some taco bell, some sushi, and lots of broccoli and cabbage. But, Knowing that my child would have horrible effects from the drink, and a crazy amount of GAS and what-not from the other cravings... I moved her carefully to a liquid formula and had no problems getting her to "take" to it. *I pumped, instead of latching on, as my child went to sleep immediately upon latching on, and after waking her, would immediately "pass out" again and again. I felt the need to know how much milk she was actually taking in.

Hope ths helps you in your decisions.
A. Brown

Hi C.,

Like you I was told to avoid certain foods while breastfeeding but I couldn't resist the temptations. I have been nursing for almost 5 months now and I have been eating whatever my heart desires, in moderation of course. I even have that occassionaly soda. I just watch for signs in my daughter's behavior and her urine and stool if they become abnormal. I too like sushi and ate it a few times while pregnant. My daughter is healthy and arrived just 2 days before her due date, I think the Chinese dinner I had that night induced my labor but that's just a little joke me and my friend have. I am a 26 year old first time mother married for 2 years, and I also struggle with sticking to what the doctors say, all I can say is try it once and if theres no issues than continue to try other things.

Good Luck and Congratualations!!

I am 63, nursed 1 for 12 mo, and 1 for 18 mo. Ate everything I wanted. If something seemed to upset baby, didn't eat it again for awhile. Sushi- we didn't know about then, but I can't imagine it not being ok, once you have digested it. I did stay away from super spicy, and super gassy food.I ate tuna, eggs. I see that they are worried about contamination, and I think, we should be too.

Hello C.,
I breastfeed 4 sons with great success. I was told to stay away from spicy foods such as mexican and cajun and to also not eat anything that gave you gas because it would have the same effect on your child. The extra nutrition needed for a breasatfeeding mom can be comsumed in one peanut butter sandwich. Other than that I ate normally and enjoyed the experience. Good Luck....A.

maybe write down what you eat so if baby seems to have a real unhappy tummy you can figure out what it was and try to stay away from it. Broccoli causes a lot of gas so watch out for that too.

I've nursed all of my four children and each one was sensitive to something different. All of the foods you listed are risky due to E. coli and other bacteria. I ate all of the foods you listed (sparingly) but avoided garlic, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, peas, caffeine, spicy foods and sometimes eggs & dairy (two of my kids had allergies from the get-go). After the first three months, I could add some of those things back into my diet and just watch how the baby reacted to it.

Wow! What a list... I do think they are suggesting way too many restrictions, C., and that you are right to be wary. My kids are grown now, but breastfeeding was wonderful -- one nursed for 13 months, and the other past 2 years. I was warned about "cabbagy" foods -- like cabbage, broccoli, etc., and so was maybe a bit more careful about them, especially in the early months of nursing only. The only other thing was being cautious about extremely spicy things -- hot pepper type stuff. Relax! Eat what you're comfortable with, and if your baby doesn't seem to agree with something, just chalk it up to everybody's digestive tract being a little bit different, and be more careful about whatever seemed to cause the little upset. Sometimes I think, too, about cultures where lots of spicy and/or gassy foods are just normal diet -- and how many babies have been contentedly nursed over generations there? May you be a happy mom with happy milk and a happy baby!

I am a breastfeeding mom and a nurse. I eat sushi, I am just careful to only eat the fishes I know are not high in mercury. The only problem I can think of that can come from eating deli meats and soft cheeses is food poisoning, which could cause you to have vomiting or diarrhea. This could cause you to be dehydrated which can diminish your milk supply. With peanut or soy or eggs, I would think the only worry would be your child developing allergies to these foods. If you have a family histroy of food allergies, it may be wise to consult your pediatrician before eating these foods. Your pediatrician may have verydifferent ideas about what foods to eat freely or restrict than an Ob-Gyn. However, some foods may commoly cause infants to have gas or abdominal cramping. I think I would give the pediatrician the last word in what to feed your infant, even if you eat it first. :)

My daughters are currently 35 and 25. I breastfed and ate anything I wanted. It never seemed to be a problem. Both my daughters have never been picky eaters, and ate what other children hated in the line of vegetables, etc. Now my grandchildren eat everything too. My daughters also ate anything they wanted while nursing. Grandchildren are 9,5,5 & 4. I was told by doctors to stay away from certain foods, however since I liked them I tried those foods. If there had been a problem I would have stopped eating those food items. You may find your baby will have a liking to the foods you eat that come through your milk.

I am a mother of 4 all of which were breastfed. Unfortunatly, I found that you can not resume a "normal" diet. I did not stay away from anything just because I stayed away because the baby told me so. Every one of my children were different, but they all had things that they did not like. And there is nothing worse than a cranky newborn that you can not figure out what is wrong. I suggest that you start off with a very plain diet and add new things to find out what the baby likes. I found I was more restricted on what I ate while I breastfed than when I was pregnant. I would suggest to not eat anything off the wall until you know that your babies gentle little tummy can handle it.


Breastfeeding is not like being pregnant. While some harmful things can carry through to breast milk, just make sure you eat healthily since you still need to keep up the nutrients for two. Read labels. In general, don't be so strict or hard on yourself. You'll know if the baby doesn't like it, and you can make adjustments, but other than that you and your baby can share a yummy, happy meal without much concern!

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