First and foremost, while breastfeeding, you want to avoid ingesting any food or substance that might cause harm to your baby. Some foods, such as broccoli, onions and cabbage may alter the taste of breast milk, making it less enticing to your baby. Certain foods may cause gassiness or contribute to colic symptoms. Watch your baby's response to the foods you eat and talk with your doctor about foods to avoid while breastfeeding.
Alcohol passes through your milk to your baby, says the American Academy of Pediatrics, and long-term consumption may cause harm. An occasional drink is OK, but drink immediately after nursing and wait at least two hours before you breastfeed again. Otherwise, pump and dump breast milk after drinking alcohol.
You can safely consume up to 300 milligrams of caffein per day, the AAP notes, but if you notice that your baby seems jittery or irritable, it's best to reduce caffeine intake. Space your caffeine consumption throughout the day, and pay attention to how much caffeine you're consuming in tea, coffee, chocolate and soft drinks.
Catch of the Day
Avoid eating fish known to contain high levels of mercury, which can cause damage to your baby's nervous system. Opt for salmon, catfish, shrimp and canned light tuna rather than shark, swordfish, tilefish and mackerel, which are known to contain high levels of mercury, the AAP recommends. Check for advisories about fish from local waters before consuming them.
The Gas Factor
You may want to avoid certain foods while you're breastfeeding if your baby seems fussy or gassy, says Dr. Dyan Hes, a New York based pediatrician. Broccoli and cabbage, caffeine, onions and dairy products are common triggers for colicky reactions, according to the AAP. Eliminate only one food from your diet at a time and watch your baby closely to see if eliminating the food really makes a difference. Colic often has multiple causes, and restricting your diet may or may not help.
In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated its guidelines on food modification for babies with a family history of allergies. The AAP no longer recommends that breastfeeding mothers avoid essential foods, such as eggs, dairy products or fish. The AAP says that as of 2014, research hasn't proven the efficacy of these practices in reducing the risk of allergies and asthma, although modifying your diet may reduce the risk of eczema for your baby. Because evidence indicates that eating peanuts during pregnancy might increase the risk of a peanut allergy for the infant, however, the AAP suggested that the recommendation against consuming peanuts during pregnancy remain in place. Follow your doctor's recommendations for foods to avoid while breastfeeding if you have a family history of allergies. Watch your baby for signs of food sensitivity, such as a skin rash, trouble breathing or unusual stools, adds the AAP, and report these changes to your doctor.