What Food To Avoid For Breastfeeding Mom: 6 Foods To Watch Out For

Are you wondering if you should skip any particular food when breastfeeding? Here’s a guide on what food to avoid for breastfeeding moms!


Remember how you had quite a lengthy list of foods to avoid during pregnancy? The good news is there are no specific foods breastfeeding moms should avoid, mainly because breastmilk is not made from what a mom eats.

“Breastmilk is made in the breasts, directly from a mother’s blood. It is not made directly from the food she eats,” La Leche League explains.

IBCLC-certified lactation consultant Lindsey Shipley tells The Bump the same thing, saying that most breastfeeding moms can continue eating the foods they usually eat. The critical thing for breastfeeding moms is a well-balanced diet and moderation.

The more varied a mom’s diet is, the better chances that your baby will be exposed to a variety of flavours–helping them become more open to different foods later on.

Now, while you can eat nearly everything, breastfeeding moms still need to set limitations on what to eat because certain foods can affect your milk supply and influence breast milk taste. Keep reading to find out what food to avoid for breastfeeding mom!


6 Foods To Avoid For Breastfeeding Mom

1. Alcohol

For the longest time, breastfeeding moms have been told not to drink alcohol at all costs because alcohol passes through breast milk. Unfortunately, the latter is a fact, making drinking while nursing your baby not ideal.

And if you drink alcohol, it’s not only potentially harmful to your baby’s development and growth but can also impact your milk supply. John Hopkins Medicine also highlights that alcohol “may inhibit your milk flow and reduce the number of milk babies get.”

However, alcohol isn’t a complete no-no. If a breastfeeding mom intends to drink, John Hopkins Medicine recommends waiting two hours after having one drink. Even the CDC says that moderate alcohol consumption of one drink per day is safe for infants.

What is a drink? It’s 12 ounces of 5% beer, 8 ounces of 7% malt liquor, 5 ounces of 12% wine, or 1.5 ounces of 40% liquor.

Why wait for two hours, you ask? This is because alcohol levels are highest in breast milk 30 to 60 minutes after drinking. But do note that the more you drink, the longer you have to wait until you can safely breastfeed again!


2. Caffeine

If you’re a new mama, caffeine is often the one thing helping you get through the craziness and newness of caring for a newborn. However, be careful with your coffee refills, as babies can be sensitive to caffeine, especially newborns. In general, it’s safe to consume 1-3 cups of coffee per day or up to 300 milligrams per day.


While you may feel energized after your fourth cup of coffee, your baby may act jittery, anxious, or even irritable. If you notice this, it’s a good idea to dial down your caffeine intake. Note that caffeine moderation doesn’t just apply to coffee but caffeine-rich beverages like tea and soda.


3. High-mercury seafood

While seafood is healthy, certain seafood contains high levels of mercury that can be dangerous to babies. Mercury is a known neurotoxin–a substance that alters the nervous system–that can affect a baby’s brain, so watch out for swordfish, tilefish, bigeye tuna, ahi tuna, shark, and king mackerel.

If you’re craving seafood, shrimp, salmon, and catfish are safer options because of their low mercury content.


4. Herbs such as Peppermint, parsley, and sage

Herbs are healthy, so why are some of them must be avoided by mamas? While herbs like Peppermint, parsley, and sage can help amp up the flavor of your favourite dishes, studies reveal that they also cut or decrease your breast milk supply. So Peppermint, for instance, is known as an antigalactagogue that even Peppermint candy can harm a nursing mama’s milk apply.


5. Processed foods

If you have managed to avoid processed foods and junk foods during pregnancy, try to keep it up during your breastfeeding journey. With all the unhealthy fats, sugars, and lack of nutrients in them, avoiding them ensures you’re getting healthier foods. But even better, it also increases the chances of your child favoring a more nutritious diet later on. 


6. Cabbage

Did you know that cabbage is widely used to remedy breast engorgement and control breast milk oversupply? Although there’s no solid scientific study to support this, many mamas have shared the wonders of cabbage to manage the overproduction of milk and help them wean their babies. That said, it won’t hurt to avoid overeating cabbage to keep your breast milk supply stable. 


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Hanna of Mama's Choice

A mama of one energetic toddler, Hanna likes to read books, watch baking shows, and play video games when her little one is asleep.


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