Diet Restrictions While Breastfeeding

Different cultures and individuals believe different foods may harm a breastfed baby. Some women believe spicy foods will harm their baby, while other moms think that eating garlic or chocolate causes colic. Everyone says different, but if it helps, there are no scientific studies that show certain foods are dangerous to the health of your baby.

To feed your baby the healthiest breast milk possible, you need to eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet. Eat a variety of foods from all the food groups including plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Avoid, or consume in moderation, foods that are high in calories and low in nutrient value such as chips, soda and sweets. Drink plenty of fluids to help maintain your milk supply (1a).

If you have a family history of allergies, your baby may show signs of sensitivity to certain foods. If you suspect your baby may be allergic to a food you are eating, avoid that food for a few days then try eating a small amount. If his symptoms return, avoid that food while you are breastfeeding. A study in the journal Clinical Pediatrics reports breastfeeding actually helps reduce allergies in children up to the age of 15 (1b).

Some women believe drinking beer helps increase their milk supply. This is a myth. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding alcohol during breastfeeding. Alcohol does pass through mother’s milk. If you do decide to drink alcohol, the academy suggests drinking a small amount right after a feeding so your body has time to get rid of as much alcohol as possible before you nurse again. A study in the journal Pediatrics showed infants who were exposed to alcohol in breast milk slept less (1c).

Drinking less than 25 oz. of coffee per day shouldn’t cause any problems for a breastfed baby. Remember, though, caffeine can be found in some sodas, chocolate and some medications. If you are consuming these foods or medications along with coffee, your baby may be getting too much caffeine (1d).

Some babies may be more sensitive than others to certain flavors, spices or gassy foods such as beans, broccoli or cauliflower. If your baby is fussy, irritable or can’t sleep after you eat certain foods, it’s best to avoid them while you are breastfeeding. This will make you and your baby happier and more comfortable.



Second latch

Again, just like in ‘First Latch’ this breastfeeding video is showing excellent practice in lactation support. Mother and baby are both comfortable, Dr Jack Newman is quiet and respectful of them both. No coercion is happening at all, and most importantly, no hands are on the back of baby’s head, trying to force matters. Notice that when the mother trails her nipple across the baby’s top lip, and the baby opens its mouth really wide in response, that the mother and Dr Jack move the baby forward ever so slightly from the supportive position of holding the baby’s shoulders and the base of the neck. Nothing is pushing this baby out of alignment, just the whole body moving forward a quarter inch so that ‘gape’ now has a lot of breast in it.

If you think about it, and put your own hand on the back of your head now and push… what happens? Your head moves down, your mouth closes and your throat is constricted. This is not gong to help you open your mouth really wide and swallow well.

Baby’s head actually needs to move back and up, not forward and down. The positioning of the baby (presenting the baby to the breast) and the calm and confident way the mother is holding and supporting the baby along her body and on the shoulders and base of the neck, is allowing this baby to ‘gape’ without any stress.

But do remember – what works for your baby works for you! There is no ‘one way’ to do this. You’ll find your own path with your little one – trust yourself, trust baby!

If you ever see a breastfeeding video (especially on YouTube, where formula manufacturers place videos to lure you to their formula sites) where the baby is having its mouth forced open, or where the baby has a hand on the back of its head, being ‘pushed’ onto the breast – be aware this is not Good Practice – and may ruin your breastfeeding relationship for a while, until baby recovers from being forced.

Dr Jack discusses this so clearly in this video, that the conversation is just as valuable as seeing that powerful little mouth work that breast tissue and get loads of milk!

What he’s saying, and showing, makes good sense. Mothers need to be confident and supported and relaxed, and babies need to be with their mothers. A good milk supply comes from letting the baby have as much access to the breast as possible in the vital first few weeks. Taking baby off the breast, sticking a dummy or pacifier in its mouth when it cries, scheduling feeds for set times and for set amounts of time, having one bottle of top up formula to keep Grandmother happy… all these things can compromise your milk supply in the first few weeks. So be aware of the effect of such interventions, and use them wisely.
It’s hard being a new Mum, and you often feel you ‘have to get on’ and do other things in those first few weeks. But resting and letting baby breastfeed as much as you can, and getting others to do housework and laundry and bring you nice things to eat…is what ‘support’ is all about! (Not having people saying “He’s not feeding again!?! Why don’t you give him formula is he’s so hungry?” or “Well if you let me bottle feed her, I can take her off your hands and you get some sleep.” Advice like this is a poke in the eye with a blunt stick!)

Third latch

A really short clip that shows very clearly the baby’s jaw going up and down, and shows the ‘pause’ as the baby’s mouth fills with milk. So many mothers have their confidence eroded by others well meaning (and not so well meaning) comments, become paranoid that Baby Isn’t Getting Enough Milk!!!

Proper hydration is vital for the baby, especially in the first few days, whilst you wait for the transmission of your milk from gold milk (colostrum) to white milk. Production is low in the first few days, in order not to flood baby out, and let baby build in both confidence and skill. Constant licking and stimulating of the nipples as it laps up gold milk, will keep baby well hydrated, even if its not latching on yet. It will also build your milk supply wonderfully!

First Latch

This is an excellent breastfeeding video, by the wonderful Dr Jack Newman. showing a classic cross-cradle hold, and a baby latching well. Notice how gentle and respectful of the baby Dr Newman, and the mother, are. Only two interventions happen – one to pull the baby’s hand gently out of the camera view – so you can see what’s happening, and one very gentle encouraging finger to the chin after latch has happened.

This baby is small and quite young. Notice how easily the mother is supporting the baby’s shoulders and neck, and managing to keep the length of the baby’s body snug and secure across her body. This can be an excellent hold for new mothers, but all that’s important is that you and baby are comfortable, and the breastfeeding is working well. As baby gets older, and heavier, Mum and Baby will find different holds that keep them both feeling supported and happy.

The important part of this video is what’s happening at the mouth/nipple exchange. You hear Dr Newman say to wait for the ‘gape’ and then you let baby attach. The point is that quite a lot of breast needs to go into the mouth, for milk to transfer.

Baby having too shallow a latch is a classic way to have sore nipples. If it’s painful – something is wrong!

Incidentally that jaw action you see is one reason breastfeeding contributes so much to the overall development of the baby – that jaw action is working on moving the plates in the baby’s head back into place from the birth canal squish, and is building excellent muscle tone in the jaw and face, helping build up to good chewing and speaking skills.


Breastfeeding toddlers

Babies breastfeed, and if they are very lucky, in the West, they are allowed to follow their biological norm and breastfeed into toddler-hood.


There is no ‘natural’ time to fully wean an infant, and thus refuse it your breast. All infants give up breastfeeding themselves, when they have finished with it, and move on. This usually occurs sometime between their 3rd and 4th birthday, but many leave the breast earlier, some leave the breast later.…


Culture, and how we live our lives, usually interferes with the infant’s decision, and imposes a ‘set’ time on the activity. This can be from as early as 6 weeks!


Jesus, as part of his own culture, was probably breastfeeding until he was 3 years old, and then there would have been a weaning party, for everyone in the community to celebrate his growing into another phase of his life.…


3 years is a common ‘set time’ for many cultures, as it appears to give the child as much support and comfort and brain building milk as it needs, and then returns the mother to fertility for another child once those needs have been met.


The Koran asks that every mother allow their baby to breastfeed for at least 2 years.


The West (where sexual ownership of the female’s body has deemed that breasts are first and foremost sexual, as opposed to how you feed babies) is the most severe in repressing breastfeeding toddlers. Such is the confusion and anxiety about breasts, there are ingrained attitudes that even newborn babies breastfeeding is actually an imposition on the sexual nature of the breast! Some areas of countries such as the USA, demands that male babies are weaned from the breast faster than female ones, as the sexual nature of the breast somehow threatens the father, the mother, and the baby.


This flies in the face of all the scientific, and social, research into the issue. Time and again, the benefits of normal term nursing – allowing the baby to continue to breastfeed as it chooses to – are shown in study after study. With a safe and secure, comforting and loving physical environment from which to view the painful and confusing world that is toddler-hood, the toddler still having access to the breast is more secure, more resilient, more confident and more independent than those forcibly weaned before their time. And still benefiting greatly from the unique nutrition that builds their brains and bones and blood perfectly.…


Mothers benefit too, with protection from breast cancer etc, lost to the mother who has weaned, increasing her risk of such illness. Oxytocin from the breastfeeding biology, floods both mother and child with contentment, and helps both overcome the stresses of toddler-hood.


Therefore, the children least likely to benefit from the astounding brain building abilities of human milk, and the ones most in need of developing emotional resilience, are the ‘most privileged’ on the face of the planet. The cultures with so much, often give their infants too little.


The joy you can see on this 2 year old’s face, says it all, really. Her world is overflowing with the milk of human kindness.…


The World Health Organization recommends that all babies are allowed to receive only breast milk for the first six months of their lives, and then to be allowed to breastfeed for a minimum of two years. Thereafter, breastfeeding should continue for as long as mother and child mutually desire.…


The contradictions and confusions in the West are so extreme, that a mother allowing her toddler to breastfeed, can be viewed as abnormal, when she lives in a culture that uses images of breasts, to sell cars. Go figure.…


Few mothers start their journey with their breastfeeding babies, with the intent to keep going past 2 years of age. Most fall into just putting off the decision on giving up on something so worthwhile, and so important to their child. Pressure from others can be unbearable and some mothers wean to stop the criticism…….…


… but mostly, the attitude normal term nursing mothers take is.. if it ain’t broke, it don’t need fixed.…


You can post photos of your own breastfeeding toddler, at…


and there is a wonderful compilation video of breastfeeding children on:…

Breastmilk Weaning and Diarrhea

There is a direct correlation between weaning and diarrhea.

Infants are at the greatest risk of diarrhea when foods other than breast milk are first introduced. Diarrhea is more prevalent at this time because weaning infants are being exposed to food borne germs for the first time. At the same time they are losing the immune protection of breast milk which has antiviral and antibacterial properties.

High levels of contamination are often found in animal milks and other traditional weaning foods, especially cereal grains. Escherichia coli (E. Coli) causes at least 25 per cent of all diarrhea in developing countries, is commonly found in weaning food.

Feeding bottles and nipples or rubber teats are particularly difficult to clean. This bottle feeding paraphernalia is a breeding grounds for germs.

The need for infants older than 6 months to receive more than just breast milk in order to grow well, balanced against the risk that this will result in diarrhea, has been called ‘the weaning dilemma’.

It is important for health workers to work with local communities to identify and encourage safe weaning practices and to improve infants’ nutrition to increase their resistance to infections such as diarrhea.

Breastfeeding Weaning Best Practices

Improved weaning practices

Complementary foods should normally be started when a child is 6 months old. These may be started any time after 6 months of age, however, if the child is not growing satisfactorily. Good weaning practices involve selecting nutritious foods and using hygienic practices when preparing them.

The choice of complementary foods will depend on local patterns of diet and agriculture, as well as on existing beliefs and practices. In addition to breast milk (or animal milk), soft mashed foods (e.g. cereals) should be given, to which some vegetable oil (510 ml/serving) has been added.

Other foods, such as well cooked pulses and vegetables, should be given as the diet is expanded. When possible, eggs, meat, fish and fruit should be also given.

How can your family help while you breastfeed?

The family’s role

The family plays a major role in the breastfeeding relationship between you and your baby. One of the most precious gifts a family can give is to take care of you and encourage and support a healthy breastfeeding relationship.

For example, family members can do the many household tasks that take your energy away from nursing the baby. They can also call your health care provider or look in the phone book for community breastfeeding (lactation) resources if you have any problems breastfeeding once you get home.

There are many rewarding ways for family members to be involved in caring for the baby. Burping, diapering, playing, giving the baby massages, comforting (holding and rocking, etc.) and taking the baby for a walk are wonderful ways to help. They are also a good way to get to know the baby. Bath time is a great opportunity for eye contact and play for the whole family.

As the mother, having people help and encourage you are some of the most important things you will need to breastfeed successfully. The first few weeks of breastfeeding are important. It is a time for learning what works best for you and your baby. It is also when your milk supply is being established. It can be a very frustrating time as well. You have just gone through labor and delivery and may be physically tired and emotionally drained. You and your baby may need to try several breastfeeding positions before you find ones that work. With strong support from family, friends, health professionals and volunteer counselors, mothers who may otherwise have given up on breastfeeding during the first weeks are able to succeed.

A good support network can help in many ways, such as providing accurate information about breastfeeding and helping you resolve any problems quickly. By doing other “duties,” your support network enables you to put all your energy into breastfeeding and getting to know your baby. Most important, they can help you feel confident in your ability to breastfeed your baby.

The most important support person for most new mothers is their husband or partner. Other support persons may include your mother or mother-in-law, other family members, friends who have breastfed, and health professionals, such as your physician, midwife, pediatrician or lactation consultant. Volunteer counselors from the Nursing Mothers Counsel, LaLeche League, WIC and other local breastfeeding support groups are also great resources.

How can your family and friends provide the best support for you?
The best thing they can do is to attend a breastfeeding class with you. In this class, they will learn about the benefits of breastfeeding, how to establish a good milk supply, and how to manage common breastfeeding problems. Your own mother may or may not have breastfed you. Either way, she can learn new things from a breastfeeding class, as there is a lot of new information on breastfeeding and its benefits. Sometimes even well-meaning family and friends can put your milk supply at risk by giving your baby bottles and pacifiers or advising you to limit nursing time or to “get the baby on a schedule.” The more your partner and family know about breastfeeding, the more they can help you.

It is very important for your support people to provide encouragement and emotional support during the first days when you and your baby are learning how to breastfeed. Many mothers decide to give up on breastfeeding during this period. Remember that it will take time for both you and your baby to get comfortable with breastfeeding. Even if you have breastfed before, each baby is different. You and your baby will learn what works best for the two of you during the first several days or a week or two together.

Your support people can help you with other household tasks, such as cleaning, laundry, shopping and cooking. Physical fatigue from trying to do too much can affect your milk supply. Nap when your baby sleeps to help in your physical recovery. Some women feel “low” or “depressed” after delivery. Exhaustion can make this feeling worse. Let others do things for you. Only you can breastfeed your baby. You should put all of your energy into recovering from your delivery, breastfeeding and getting to know your baby.

Finally, you and your partner should both be patient about resuming intimacy. You may temporarily lose interest in having sex after giving birth. This is common and can happen whether or not you are breastfeeding. You may have concerns and negative feelings about your body after pregnancy and delivery. Breastfeeding does not “ruin your breasts.” Although you may experience breast changes after childbirth, these changes were caused by pregnancy, not by breastfeeding. Breastfeeding does not make you gain weight. In fact, it may make it easier to lose your pregnancy weight when combined with proper diet and moderate exercise.

Tandem Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding more than one child at a time can be quite a challenge.  On one hand it is a great way to keep older child connected with their mother and also introduce them to the concept of sharing.

Tandem does not necessarily mean simultaneously nursing more than one child.  Usually it refers to nursing the new born baby first and then the older child.  It may also mean sequential nursing of children from a multiple birth experience.

Weaning your baby

When you have made the decision to stop breastfeeding, understanding will help you establish a firm plan and make the weaning process much easier for you and your baby. Some mothers decide to wean their baby when their child begins teething, other mothers wait for the baby to begin showing disinterest, and some mothers feel they cannot supply enough milk and make the choice to stop breastfeeding.

Here are some easy steps to try when you seek how to stop breastfeeding:

1.Feed one less time a day. Try and choose the least effective breastfeeding session and offer a sippy cup. A good transition is to use breast milk in the sippy cup.

2. Be consistent. When you breastfeed continue to do so in your and your child’s regular settings. When you offer the sippy cup choose a different setting.

3. Wean Yourself. Your body has become a “milk factory” and it is time to slow down production. Stay aware of the change in your milk production, if your breasts are feeling full, leaky, or hard you may wish to pump or express some milk. Do not go so far as to feel the “let down” or totally empty your breasts as that will only continue your milk production at the same level.