Breastfeeding diet: The 3 foods and drinks to AVOID while breastfeeding

Stacey Solomon gets emotional while discussing breastfeeding

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Almost 68 percent of women in the UK start breastfeeding and 48 percent continue beyond six to eight weeks. Sometimes mothers have health conditions that stop them from breastfeeding or they simply choose to bottle feed with formula. If you are breastfeeding your little one, the breastfeeding and diet experts at Lansinoh have revealed what you should and shouldn’t eat to keep your baby safe and healthy.

Breastfeeding diet

Breastfeeding doesn’t require a special diet, you just need to eat healthily.

The NHS recommended you eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and a healthy mix of starchy foods, fibre, protein, dairy and lots of fluid.

This will help you to fuel your body with the right vitamins and minerals for you and your baby.

The one exciting thing about breastfeeding is that mothers get to consume an extra 300 to 400 calories a day to ensure they have enough energy to produce milk!

The 3 foods and drinks to AVOID while breastfeeding

You don’t need to be too restrictive when it comes to your diet when breastfeeding. However, there are three things you should be avoiding.

Oily fish

You should have no more than two portions of oily fish (e.g. fresh tuna, sardines, mackerel, trout) a week.

This is because these contain high levels of mercury, which can damage your baby’s developing nervous system.


Too much caffeine while breastfeeding can keep your baby awake, or make them unusually fussy, so it is better to limit the number of drinks you have containing caffeine (not only tea and coffee but also energy drinks).

Some cold and flu remedies contain caffeine, and chocolate also contains a substance (theobromine) that is very similar and can produce the same effects.


Alcohol passes to breastfed babies in very small amounts and it is unlikely that having an occasional drink will harm your baby.

However, it is sensible to drink very little (no more than one or two units once or twice a week) when you are breastfeeding.

If you intend to drink more than this on a special occasion, expressing breast milk in advance is a good idea.

Also, if you have been drinking alcohol, never share a bed or sofa with your baby.

You have to be careful with how much water you drink when breastfeeding.

If you notice your breast milk production decreasing alongside tiredness and dark coloured urine – this is a sign of dehydration.

The experts said: “Breastfeeding women can often feel thirsty and dehydrated due to the production of breastmilk, so make sure you drink enough fluids – water, milk and unsweetened fruit juice are good options.

“Also, you should always ensure you have a drink to hand when you settle down to feed the baby.

“Drink to satisfy your thirst, but don’t overdo it – there is no proven link between fluid intake and milk supply.”

If you’re concerned about not getting enough nutrients, focus on incorporating DHA, vitamin D and choline into your diet.

Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) is the most abundant omega-3 fatty acid in the brain and eyes and supports healthy infant growth and development.

The experts said: “Recent research even suggests that DHA may play a role in decreasing the development of childhood food allergies, such as eggs and peanuts.

“In addition, a growing body of evidence suggests getting enough omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the incidence of asthma in children.

“Research also suggests there is a link between DHA levels and better sleep.”

You can get DHA from fatty fish (anchovies, salmon, tuna, mackerel, halibut) and eggs but the Department of Health recommended limiting fatty fish intake while breastfeeding due to concerns over mercury, so you’re better off taking a postnatal vitamin that includes DHA.

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus, supports healthy bone development in children and plays a role in immune health.

Sources include fortified milk, salmon, and 15 minutes of exposure to sunlight, but your post-natal vitamin should also provide Vitamin D.

Choline tends to be one of those nutrients we forget about, but it is so vitally important for breastfeeding women to consume because our bodies don’t make sufficient amounts of it.

Most of us, especially breastfeeding women, aren’t getting enough choline through our diets. But, choline is important because it supports the neurocognitive development of infants.

Sources of choline include beef, eggs, chicken, fish, pork, nuts, legumes and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, or kale.

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