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Does my diet affect my milk?

Deborah Sue, Advisory Service Manager

You may find that your baby will notice when you eat and drink things that can alter the taste of your breast milk as its flavour changes with the foods you eat. There are a few foods which will affect the taste more than others though, and this section provides a guide to knowing what these might be. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch!

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You are what you eat!

Your baby’s diet depends on what they get through your breast milk, but in many cases it can be a matter of taste. Strong flavours in your diet can create strong flavours in your breast milk which your baby may not be used to. Similarly, any caffeine in your diet will be passed to your baby through breast milk, which can then affect their sleeping patterns, so it’s definitely good to limit your caffeine.

Drinking plenty of fluids (about 10 glasses of water a day) will maintain good hydratation and keep a reliable milk supply for your baby. Water is best; otherwise milk or fruit juice is fine sometimes.

Foods you might want to avoid eating

A lot of new mums say that steering clear of, or limiting spicy, strongly flavoured, rich or very acidic foods will avoid affecting breastmilk. The truth is every baby is different, so take notice how your baby responds after feeding and learn what works best for you both.

Keeping that in mind, here are a few foods that may affect your baby more than others:

  • Hot, spicy curries – these may cause you and your baby some digestive discomfort and wind.
  • Caffeine can wake you up if you're feeling tired, but it can mean your baby has difficulty sleeping too. It can be found in coffee, tea, some kinds of soft drink and chocolate.
  • Onions, garlic, cauliflower, cabbage and brussel sprouts can all give your baby wind and make colic worse.

Drinking alcohol and breastfeeding

Avoid alcohol completely when breastfeeding since alcohol is passed directly through your breastmilk to your baby.

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