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Breastfeeding provides many benefits to your baby’s health (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development). However, it can also cause them harm. The difference lies in your diet, so it’s essential to watch what you eat very carefully. It’s tempting for mothers to start a weight loss diet to lose the pounds gained during pregnancy. However, as this can be bad for your child, you need to be careful and know which things not to do while breastfeeding.
Top 4 Things to Avoid While Breastfeeding: Tips for a Healthy Diet
Caffeine is very bad for the baby (American Pregnancy Association) so it’s essential to avoid it during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. If not, you run the risk of birth defects and complications, as well as sleep problems and overstimulation in the baby. Remember that while adults can metabolize caffeine easily, children cannot. So the stimulant your infant absorbs through breast milk will also wreak havoc on their organs.
You also shouldn’t forget that it’s not only coffee that contains caffeine. Other foods and drinks you should avoid while breastfeeding include; chocolate, energy drinks, black tea, Coke, any baked goods and other treats that contain chocolate or coffee.
Adding ginger and especially chili pepper to your diet is an effective trick that can boost your post-pregnancy weight loss program. These spices are some of the best tools you’ll have when learning how to control your appetite naturally. Adding a bit of either to your meals will stimulate your metabolism and help keep it at the maximum level. This enhances natural fat burning, thus boosting your weight loss efforts even while you rest.
However, you’ll have to wait for a few months before you can use the power of these spices. Babies who drink ‘spicy’ milk might develop skin conditions. If you eat those spices during pregnancy, your baby might even be born with sensitive, red, and flaky skin. The child might also develop issues with the digestive tract, like gastritis.
Note that this doesn’t happen in 100% of cases. Spicy foods are staples in many cultures and the majority of babies there are perfectly fine despite their mothers’ diets. However, in those cases, a life-long habit that breeds resistance might be the case. As for you, it’s best not to take unnecessary risks.
3. Fish high in mercury
While fish is good for you due to the essential omega 3 fatty acids, many types of seafood contain high levels of mercury. An adult’s body can deal with this stress, but it can be deadly for your baby.
The four types of fish to avoid completely are king mackerel, tilefish, shark, and swordfish. If you go fishing and want to enjoy your catch, check the quality of the local waters first. Fish get the mercury from their environment, so it’s the stream/river/lake/sea that determines if your prospective meal contains mercury.
And skip raw fish altogether. Sushi can wait until after you are done breastfeeding.
It goes without saying that alcohol is best avoided by default because it deals a lot of damage to your health. It’s even more harmful to your baby, whose tiny body is unable to cope with the stress.
An infant can become literally drunk from your breast milk. This can cause all the same types of damage as chronic drinking does to an adult, including permanent liver damage and impaired cognitive development. That’s why drinking is one of the mandatory things to avoid while breastfeeding.