Best Foods to Eat (and Avoid) while Breastfeeding

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As a new mother, times are scary and many mothers feel uneasy. My goal is to help new mother’s transition into parenthood easily and by offering educated information for everyone about not only breastfeeding but taking care of women postpartum. Breastfeeding carries its own mixed bag of challenges that can frustrate even the calmest of parents.

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Myth Busters: There are so many myths about foods to avoid while breastfeeding, and these myths have been passed down for generations. For example, eating spicy food or broccoli will not make your baby gassy and fussy, but a glass of milk or some chocolate covered almonds really can. Food needs to contain a protein to enters the mother’s bloodstream in order to enter the breastmilk, so most foods simply change the flavor of the milk but don’t cause gas issues.

Here are the best foods to eat during breastfeeding:  

Excellent foods to eat include oatmeal, barley, brown rice, beans, sesame, dark green leafy vegetables, apricots, dates, figs, and cooked green papaya. These foods boost prolactin levels, the hormone produced by the brain that controls milk production.

Have a gassy, fussy, or excessive crying (colic) statistically baby? The most common cause of a food protein intolerance is dairy products. Because whey is a natural component of milk, avoid yogurt, ice cream, sour cream, and other dairy products. An easy swap? Switch to coconut or rice milk. Always read food labels and look for hidden sources of the cow’s milk protein including whey, casein, and ingredients that start with the prefix “lact-.” These ingredients can be found in cookies, waffles, and salad dressings. After cow’s milk, other foods to consider avoiding are nuts, chocolate, egg whites, corn, pork, citrus fruits, berries, and tomatoes. I recommend to stop eating and drinking dairy for 72 hours, then start eliminating more foods one at a time if symptoms persist.

Jennifer Ritchie, IBCLC
Tinybeans Voices Contributor

Jennifer Ritchie is an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), Ritchie spent more than a decade helping countless parents navigate breastfeeding challenges, including latching difficulties, painful nursing, low milk production, inadequate weight gain, and induced lactation.


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