Breastfeeding: Do’s and Don’ts


Breastfeeding moms are advised to eat healthy diets to increase milk production for their newborns. However, not every breastfeeding mother knows what they should eat and avoid at this stage henceforth a healthy diet should include:

  • Starchy

– foods like rice, wholemeal bread, pasta, and potatoes.

  • Proteins

– such as egg, seeds, nuts, soy foods, fish and pulses, lean meat and chicken thus at-least 2 portions of fish per week is recommended which also includes some fish with oil.

  • Fruits and vegetables

– variety of fruits as well as vegetables on a daily basis. At least 5-portions of the aforementioned. Vegetables and fruits are a great source of calcium, folic acid, and iron. Calcium and iron contribute to your baby’s bone health.

  • Fiber

– plenty of fiber which can be found from eating wholemeal bread & pasta, rice, breakfast cereals, pulses such as lentils and beans, and vegetables and fruits. In some cases, after birth, some women develop bowel problems as well as constipation thus with proper intake of enough fiber into the body, this can help to solve these problems. In addition, they keep mothers fuller for longer periods and as well help you boost breast milk supply.

  • Dairy

– foods such as cheese, milk, butter, and yogurt. They contain calcium and are the great source of proteins as well which are vital in boosting your infant’s bone, teeth as well as muscle development.

  • Staying hydrated

– drinking plenty of fluids to keep you hydrated at all times and increase milk production.

fruits vegetables milk and yogurt


What to Avoid when Breastfeeding

Not every food is consumed by breastfeeding moms are healthy, some of these foods as well as medicines can pass through to your breast-milk. Therefore, if it happens after consuming a certain food or drink, your baby becomes very unsettled, it is advised that you should talk to your breastfeeding counselor or health visitor at your local clinic though, it might be a coincidence, however, keeping a food diary for yourself can help.

Here are certain foods and medicines to avoid when you’re breastfeeding;

  • Alcoholic drinks

The small amount of alcohol is most likely to pass into your breast-milk. Occasional drinks may not harm your baby but it’s best to limit or reduce alcohol drinks probably to less than 2-units a week. If you’ve established breastfeeding and you have introduced your baby to a bottle then you can express breast-milk for your baby before a special occasion that’s before drinking alcohol.

In addition, it’s advised that all parents need to stop or avoid being drunk that is, when caring for their baby and shouldn’t share a bed or even fall asleep with a baby.

  • Peanuts & other allergens

However, peanuts are not listed as one of the foods to avoid when breastfeeding by the Health department but for those who have a family history of allergies, it’s recommended that you speak to the pediatric allergy specialist or a GP.

  • Caffeinated drinks

When you take in Caffeine drinks, it passes through into your breast-milk and then acts as a stimulant to your infant. Caffeine can also be found in chocolate as well as in some medicine thus it’s advisable that you limit the amount of cold and hot drinks with caffeine that is, during the day.

In the USA, breastfeeding moms are recommended not to take more than 2-coffees or even fizzy drinks containing caffeine. Therefore, drinks that contain caffeine can affect your baby’s health; it may keep them awake thus you may drink caffeinated drinks occasionally while your baby is still young rather than on a daily basis.

  • Mercury

Though, it’s advisable for breastfeeding mothers to eat a diet rich in proteins and omega-3 fatty acids, fish being a vital source. However, nearly all fish contain certain traces of mercury which is a metal that naturally occurs in the
environment and mostly is increased by industrial-pollution. Many people are not affected by these small amounts of mercury in fish but for the little ones, mercury can cause damages to their nervous system thus, that’s why it’s recommended for childbearing age, pregnant as well as lactating women to avoid taking fish that are highly concentrated in mercury such as king mackerel, shark, swordfish, and tilefish.

Recommended fish to be eaten by breastfeeding moms that contain less mercury include salmon, catfish, shrimp. canned light tuna and pollock fish. Check with your local advisories on the safety of the fish to be eaten, if you like consuming fish that are caught in local waters. If the information is unavailable them limit or reduces your fish consumption to 6-ounces a week that is about one meal.

  • Pseudoephedrine, methergine & bromocriptine


Some of the medicines greatly affect breastfeeding moms which include;

  1. Pseudoephedrine – it’s an active ingredient in Sudafed as well as in similar cold medications
  2. Methergine – mostly used to treat severe uterine-bleeding that happens after childbirth
  3. Bromocriptine – brand names include Cycloset or Parlodel, they are used to treat a variety of issues such as hyperprolactinemia.

All these have shown or proven to have a negative side effect on breastfeeding women in regards to milk supply. Henceforth, if you are taking either of the listed medications and you’ve realized that your milk supply has dropped then, it’s advised that you ask your doctor for another alternative treatment. Therefore, with increased breastfeeding, supplementation with lactogenic foods and herbs as well as possibly additional pumping will greatly help you build-up your baby’s milk production yet again.

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