Foods to Avoid When Breastfeeding

10 Foods to Avoid When Breastfeeding

There are different opinions on whether you should avoid certain types of food and drinks when you are breastfeeding or not.

When I was breastfeeding my babies I was always being told by someone not to eat or drink certain things, at times I was too nervous to touch anything in case someone moaned at me.

Fortunately I never had any bad effects and my personal feelings are to eat and drink what you want in moderation. If you notice a change in your baby then cut out all of the things on this list and slowly add in one at a time over a period of time to see which one could be causing your baby discomfort.

Just bear in mind that although there are some foods that there are different ideas about and those are listed below, there are some things you should not be taking when breastfeeding.

Medication and Alcohol

Check all medication with your doctor before taking it, medication can pass through your breastmilk to your baby. At times you may need to take medication such as antibiotics while you are breastfeeding.

This does not mean you cannot take medicine if you really need to have it. It just means you need to be prepared.

The best is to express some breastmilk and store it for emergencies like this.

Then while you are on the medication you can pump and dump your milk while feeding your baby the expressed milk.

It will be important to keep expressing during this time to keep your milk supply up.

Alcohol is a risk to your baby while breastfeeding, so stay away from alcohol or if you really want to have a drink then pump and dump after having your drink.

Lots of women have also asked whether Herbalife is safe to take while pregnant and breastfeeding, this is up to you to decide but why risk it?

Foods to Avoid while Breastfeeding

If your baby appears to have a reaction to your breast milk here are some common foods that could be the cause:


Drinks containing caffeine can affect your baby and keep them awake. Try and only have the occasionally. Tea, coffee and chocolate all contain caffeine, as well as some soft drinks, energy drinks and cold and flu remedies.


Dairy can cause eczema and other skin issues, sleep difficulties and general fussiness. It is not easy to completely cut out dairy. If your baby is fussy consider being dairy-free for a few weeks to see if it makes a difference to your baby. Your baby could have a dairy allergy.


No more than 2 portions of oily fish per week (fresh tuna, mackerel, sardines & trout). This is because these are small levels of pollutants in oily fish.
Avoid eating more than one portion of shark, swordfish or marlin per week. These fish have mercury in them. Avoid these fish entirely if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.


The allergic components in peanuts can be transmitted into your breastmilk. Best to avoid eating peanuts until baby is a year old or weaned.


Your baby might have a gluten intolerance if he/ she has bloody stools. Wheat can also be the cause of fussiness and a sore stomach. Try cutting wheat out for a few weeks to pinpoint if this is the cause.


Citrus can cause diaper rash, fussiness and spitting up.


Chocolate contains caffeine. It can also be the cause of baby getting a runny tummy so watch out for runny stools and/ or fussiness if you have eaten some chocolate. I have also heard some people say that it causes breastmilk to taste sour so your baby might not want to drink. This could be an old wives tale but perhaps if you have been eating lots of chocolate and your baby is refusing the breast it could be the cause.


The smell of garlic is transmitted to breastmilk. If your baby is pulling away while nursing or refusing to nurse when you have had garlic try cutting that out of your diet. A lot of people claim garlic can make your baby have winds and a sore stomach but many others say this is an old wives tale.

Parsley and Peppermint

Parsley and peppermint can reduce your milk supply. Perhaps if you struggle with your milk supply try and avoid them, especially if your baby is about to go through a growth spurt.

There are plenty more theories on what foods to avoid when breastfeeding. If your baby appears to be affected by something you have eaten trying a process of elimination. Cut out foods that are commonly known to cause problems. Then slowly reintroduce those foods one by one into your diet to find out which one is causing the problem.

Have you eaten anything that has affected your baby when you were breastfeeding?

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  1. I didn’t know this about avoiding peanuts during breastfeeding time. I was on a program at the time called WIC that provides supplemental nutrition to pregnant women and new moms/babies and they always offered me peanut butter as an option. My daughter doesn’t have allergies now. So I guess no harm done.

    • I ate anything and everything while breastfeeding. I think this is something to look at more if it appears your baby has a reaction to breastmilk 🙂

    • Beverly it is more a guideline for if your baby reacts to your breast milk so that you know what to cut out and check for 🙂

  2. This is a breastfeeding myth, everything in moderation is fine

    • Hi Carina, these are only things to look at if your baby appears to be having a reaction to your breast milk, not to avoid in general just because you are breast feeding.
      I personally ate and drank whatever I wanted without having any problems. However a friend of mine couldn’t eat any chocolate or it would have an adverse affect on her baby.

      My aunt also ate a load of garlic and then later on fed her twins and they were up and fussing all night…so I do think in some cases yes what you eat can have an effect.

      • I agree that it differs with each person. I couldn’t eat onions , garlic was fine…but I once had like half a glass of Coke and that kept me and baby up all night because he had gas and cramps. I did notice that if I ate chocolate, he would drink less from me for a feed or so…so I think the thing about it affecting the taste of my milk is definitely true. I could eat WHITE chocolate, but nothing with cacao in. I could drink 1-2 cups of coffee per day and it was fine. I once had half a glass of wine, but just the idea that my baby might get some alcohol in (although I read millions of articles saying that it was safe) kept me from drinking more that that. When he was 3 months old I could eat foods with small amounts of onion in, and green peppers also made him gassy. When I started breastfeeding, I asked someone what was safe to eat and what not, The advice I got was: You won’t know till you try.

  3. I have a thing for green tabasco. I eat it on everything. I had it during the whole of my 1st pregnancy and I am again having it currently whilst pregnant. Then when I breastfed I kept having it but in smaller quantities and my baby was fine. we never had any trouble.

    I love garlic and my friends and family joke that I cook garlic with a bit of food. Again no adverse reaction.

    Each mommy and baby duo is different. Trial and error is the way.

    Oh and I also love peanut butter and have it regularly in my smoothies. Again no harm done. I did make sure to keep a close eye on baby the first few times I had it.

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