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What not to eat when breastfeeding

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As much as is reasonably possible, new moms should aim to maintain a regular regime for meals when breastfeeding to keep the essential nutrients and to also increase breast milk levels. Also crucial is to watch your new baby for reactions whenever you eat something you’re not particularly used to and check with your general practitioner if anything worries you.

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Is alcohol okay when breastfeeding?
The occasional glass of wine after a feed is fine. Little amounts of alcohol have no significant effect on breast milk.

If a mother has a glass of wine after just feeding her baby and is not planning on feeding again for a while, then it’s fine.

Mothers will be wise to sensibly limit how much alcohol is consumed though. Too much alcohol regularly can affect brain development in your baby, so it is important to only indulge occasionally. There’s a very slim chance that that having an occasional drink will harm a new mom or her baby, but it might affect how easily the baby feeds. So when breastfeeding, It’s usually sensible to consume very little amounts of alcohol. For instance, no more than 1 or 2 units once or twice a week.

It’s worth noting though that when mothers do drink a glass of wine, there’s a high chance that the alcohol goes into your milk. However, once the alcohol has gone from your bloodstream it will disappear from your milk, within a few hours. It’s a myth that if you enjoy a drink, you need to ‘pump and dump’ your milk. If milk is made and not used up, it is reabsorbed into the body and new milk is made.

Is caffeine and coffee safe when breastfeeding?

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Some moms will argue the need for coffee now but while some decaf coffee may be OK, it’s important to know that caffeine has varying effects on your breast milk. Babies’ bodies are not prepared to process caffeine as quickly as an adult’s body, so if your baby is struggling to sleep, then having a cup of coffee will not aid its snoozing experience.
Excessive amounts of coffee and tea should be avoided, as caffeine does transfer into  breast milk.

Some babies do respond to caffeine more than others. Caffeine has a long half-life, around six to eight hours, which means it stays in the body for quite a while and in some cases affect the brain development of the baby. It can take over 24 hours to be totally eliminated from your body. Combining a coffee and a redbull means the effect multiplies.

Is ‘acidic’ foods bad for breastfeeding?

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Some new mothers believe that ‘acidic’ foods, such as tomatoes, citrus fruits or curries, can have negative effects on breast milk and breast feeding. The belief is that it can cause conditions such as reflux or indigestion – there is, however, actually little evidence this is the case.

If you’re feeling stressed about a particular food item, then the placebo effect can mean that could have an impact in itself. If a mum believes that eating spices or another food will affect her baby, then she’s likely to be over-sensitive to any changes in her baby’s behaviour and read any fussiness as a result of the food. Research does not support the notion that different dietary habits make babies fussy as a matter of course.”
Is it safe to eat peanuts when breastfeeding?
Peanut allergies are one of the UK’s most common, with around 1% of people suffering from them. The current advice from the Government’s Food Standards Agency states that it’s okay to choose to eat peanuts or foods containing them when you’re breastfeeding, unless you yourself are allergic to them, or your health professional has advised you not to.

This advice follows a major review that found eating or not eating peanuts during breastfeeding, pregnancy and early childhood seemed to have no clear effect on the chances of a child developing a peanut allergy.

However, if you, your baby’s dad, or any of your baby’s siblings has a peanut allergy or other allergic conditions such as asthma and eczema, then your baby may be at a higher risk of developing a peanut allergy, so you may wish to avoid eating them while breastfeeding.

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Anything else you should avoid eating when breastfeeding?
Some standard medicines people use in winter, such as decongestants, can also affect milk supply so always double-check with your doctor and pharmacist, and read the label before you take anything.

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