Breastmilk and Mom’s Diet

Many breastfeeding mamas stress over what they can and can’t eat, and look for lists of foods to avoid, but guess what? You can eat whatever you want! YES! That’s right. Unless your baby has been diagnosed with a true food allergy, you should be able to eat anything you are craving.

When you eat, your body breaks your food down into small components – molecules of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. These molecules are absorbed by your blood, and when they get close to the breast they are transported into the milk making cells of the breast via diffusion. Only certain things can cross this barrier (such as molecules used to make milk) and many things cannot (like most medicines).

The most common foods moms are advised to avoid are foods that can make her gassy (such as broccoli and cauliflower).  When you eat food that makes you feel gassy, the gas is caused by undigested carbohydrates that remain in your intestines instead of being absorbed into the bloodstream. Since your baby is not the one digesting that food, and therefore does not have undigested carbohydrates in his/her intestines, baby cannot become gassy because of the food you ate. (Thankfully) it simply does not work that way.

Baby can experience a variety of flavors via your breastmilk, but it is incredibly unlikely for that to be a bad thing – in fact, research shows that breastfed babies are less likely to be picky eaters, and theory is that it is because they get so many varied flavors from mom’s milk (versus formula, which always tastes the same).

So that said – enjoy whatever you want to eat! Do not deprive yourself of things you want simply because you think you are not “supposed” to eat them while breastfeeding.

*this information does not apply to infants who have identified allergies to large proteins such as a cow’s milk protein allergy or soy allergy*

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  1. Jen 5 years ago

    Is it true that my baby can get gassy because I eat/drink dairy?

    • Author

      Hi Jen! Very few babies are truly allergic to dairy. Some are intolerant and improve when mom cuts dairy from her diet, but I’d say the majority of babies are fine with dairy in mama’s diet. I would rule out other causes like tongue tie or overactive letdown before doing an elimination diet. Plus, don’t forget that babies are just gassy little creatures!! Check out Tipper Gallagher’s post, “Do You Fart?

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