When breastfeeding, it is important for a mother to watch what she consumes. This is especially important if one is struggling with producing enough milk for their baby. While there are many different foods and herbs that can help to increase milk supply, one should also know what foods affect breast milk supply negatively. So here are some foods mothers should avoid consuming large quantities of if they are struggling with milk production.
There are a several herbs that are known to negatively impact milk production. The most common culprits are parsley, sage, and oregano. Using these herbs to flavor foods is okay, however, one must be aware when consuming large amounts. For example, dishes with lots of parsley, such as tabbouleh, and drinks such as sage tea should probably be avoided when a mother first begins breastfeeding. There are many other herbs that doctors suggest avoiding, as they can also interfere with lactation. These include aloe, anise, mistletoe, rhubarb root, and many more. Always check with your doctor before drinking tea or eating foods with herbs you are not familiar with.
Caffeinated beverages are okay in moderation. However, several cups of coffee, caffeinated tea, or cans of soda per day may decrease the amount of milk a mother can produce as well as cause sleep disturbances in the baby. If one notices that they have issues with milk production or their baby is become irritable, then it is a good idea to cut down caffeine intake. Caffeine can also cause dehydration, so always drink plenty of non-caffeinated fluids throughout the day as well.
Alcohol of all kinds will inhibit a mother’s milk ejection reflex. This means that it is more difficult for the babies to be able to get milk from the mother’s breast. An occasional alcoholic beverage is safe for a mother to drink, but they should only be consumed after a breastfeeding. After consuming alcohol, a mother should also wait at least two hours after drinking to breastfeed. This allows time for the alcohol to be digested and metabolized.
Mothers who enjoy eating peppermint or spearmint each day may also notice a drop in milk production. Occasionally chewing mint gum or drinking a cup of peppermint tea will be okay. Eating several hard mint candies that contain peppermint or spearmint oil per day, however, will have an adverse effect.
Remember that when breastfeeding, almost all foods are okay to consume in moderation. It is when certain foods are consumed in large amounts that one’s milk supply and baby can be negatively affected. For those struggling with producing enough breast milk for their baby, it is important to look at both what can increase milk production as well as what foods affect breast milk supply negatively. So before taking extra supplements, try monitoring and reducing your intake of these four foods.