Can I Eat While Breastfeeding? Crumbs On Your Baby's Head Are No Big Deal
Parents are known for multitasking, even when they're doing something important like breastfeeding. You've probably checked your e-mail caught up on your Netflix list, and angrily commented on Facebook about Trump's cabinet picks while nursing your baby. But those things don't really affect your baby, and some parents are nervous about doing other things while nursing. The hungry moms among us may even wonder, "Can I eat while breastfeeding?"
Food is a hot topic for any breastfeeding mom: Will some foods help with supply? Will they cause your baby to feel gassy? Will they affect the taste of your milk? Are your favorite dishes off limits because they include jalapeños? There's a lot of misinformation about food and breastfeeding out there, and it can influence a lot of decisions you make, including giving up food while you're breastfeeding. If you're worried that eating while being a breastfeeding parent is going to cause issues, then obviously you can't actively nurse your child while enjoying a sandwich, right?
Wrong. Of course you can eat while you're breastfeeding. There's no reason to fear it. "Eat on, no worries. I tell moms about the studies that show amniotic fluid takes on the flavor of what she eats, and her baby has already tasted what she's eaten in pregnancy," Lori Atkins, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and owner of Oh, Baby Lactation Care tells Romper. "Moms tend to worry so much about foods and they usually don't cause a problem."
IBCLC Kristen Gourley, who works with Lactation Link, agrees with Atkins. "Breast milk is made from your blood, not your stomach contents," Gourley says. "This means that most babies don't have a problem with anything their mom eats, just like most older children and adults don't have restrictive allergies."
Gas is a huge concern for a lot of breastfeeding parents — lactation consultants hear it all the time. Parents are concerned that if they nurse their baby while chowing down on their favorite snacks, like a plate of raw veggies, their little one is going to turn into a tiny gas machine. Those fears really aren't necessary. "I always tell families that the foods that make us gassy do so because of the fiber content," IBCLC Rachel O'Brien says. "Fiber doesn't pass through to breast milk. There's no need to avoid high-fiber foods like broccoli."
In short? Food isn't an issue. Lactation consultant Tera Hamann tells Romper that it's easy to get caught up in the fad of diet restrictions, but it's seldom necessary. "It's truly very few babies that have food intolerance from mom's diet. Many have perceived issues that aren't actually the problem," Hamann says.
So don't let your nursing sessions become fasting sessions, too. In fact, because breastfeeding your baby can feel like a pit stop, it can help to have some snacks handy. "The physical challenge of latching and feeding might take two hands for some moms and it's not necessary to actually eat during a breastfeeding session, but finger foods or one-handed foods might be easy to do," Atkins says.
Hamann agrees. "I think the thing about eating while nursing is that you are nursing so often in the early days and during growth spurts that it's easier to have something in reach to grab when you are stuck and can't fix yourself something," she says. A basket of granola bars or cut up fruit and veggies can be perfect for while you're breastfeeding and help you get the nutrients you need when the rest of the day is a total blur.
Honestly, the biggest issue you'll have with eating while you breastfeed is sweeping crumbs off the top of your baby's head. (They'll live.) I can't tell you how many Cheetos landed on my kid's head when she was nursing. And if you drop any on yourself? "Food snagged from the cleavage is a special kind of yummy," Atkins says. Like you needed an excuse to save that cookie.