6 Thanksgiving Foods You May Want To Avoid If Breastfeeding

by Tara Saltzburg November 20, 2017

Hey There,

Ahh, Thanksgiving! The wonderful gift-free holiday where friends and family come together for good times and great food.

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If you’re a breastfeeding mama enjoying the holidays this year with your little one in tow, there are some things to keep in mind. While the irresistible food might be delicious to you, it could be irritating to your nursing baby. Eating well is extremely important when breastfeeding in order to gain vital nutrients and to keep breast milk levels high, so be sure you’re keeping an eye on the foods you’re picking from appetizers and egg nog to the array of foods on the dining room table. Although not all babies react the same way to the same foods, the following have been known to cause digestive problems in babies. If you want to give your baby quality nourishment without negatively affecting them, you may want to avoid these foods (or keep them at a minimum). 

1. Caffeine

The hustle and bustle of the holidays means that extra cup of joe might be pretty tempting. And, if your little one still isn't sleeping through the night, you need your coffee more than ever. Although some caffeine may be fine, it’s important to know that caffeine does come through in your breast milk. Your baby’s body doesn't process caffeine as quickly as your body, so it may negatively affect their napping schedule and make them irritable. Your best bet is to wait until your baby is napping to enjoy that cup of coffee.

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2. Fish

Most of the time Thanksgiving is filled to the brim with meats like turkey, ham, and duck. But sometimes fish ends up on the dining room table and it’s important to be selective about what types you're eating. While you don’t need to avoid fish entirely, some fish is higher in mercury than others, which can end up in your milk supply. To be safe, follow the same rules for eating fish as you did when you were pregnant.

3. Chocolate

This hidden source of caffeine doesn’t need to be eliminated entirely but some nursing moms find that chocolate has a laxative effect on the baby. Before you indulge on the holidays, you may want to see how your baby reacts when you eat chocolate. Watch their behavior and be sure their poop isn’t extra runny. If it is, you may want to pass on chocolate desserts this Thanksgiving.

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4. Sage, Parsley and Peppermint

Sage and parsley enhance many holiday dishes and the popularity of teas and cocoa make it hard to escape peppermint this time of year. While these herbs are okay in small amounts, eating them too frequently may adversely affect your milk supply.

5. Dairy

Acid reflux is a real problem for many breastfed babies and dairy may make the issue worse. Your baby could be fussy because dairy in your breast milk is giving her diarrhea, eczema (or other skin problems), or allergies. It may even cause sleeping issues due to discomfort. If you notice any of these issues, you may want to avoid dairy and items containing dairy.

6. Alcohol

Cheers to the season! Even if you do the old “pump and dump” trick, you may not eliminate all of the alcohol from your breast milk. If you do decide to have a drink, alcohol doesn't stay in your breast milk any longer than it does in your bloodstream, so once you're completely sober, you’re fine to resume nursing.

Keeping these foods in mind this holiday season may reduce the risk of cranky baby syndrome. And a happy, smiling baby is something we can all be grateful for this holiday season! 

XO, Tara