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Why You Should Not Have Spicy Food While Breastfeeding

By Bindu Vinodh

There can be no substitute to healthy lactation. Therefore, a healthy lifestyle and balanced nutrition is a must for nursing mothers. As your bundle of joy arrives into this world, ensuring his/her proper growth and development should be your prime concern as a mother.

If you think you are what you eat, so is your nursing baby. Therefore, while giving your baby the best nutrition in the world, you should also avoid certain foods that are likely to cause any harm to your baby.

reasons not to have spicy food while breastfeeding

While many new mothers strike off entire food groups from their list to benefit their baby, according to health experts, there isn't any food that you need to completely avoid when breastfeeding.

However, as a nursing mother, you should know about the foods that may not be suitable for your newborn when breastfeeding, as these foods may cause a negative impact on your baby.

While there is no special diet that you need to follow when lactating, you may have to make some modifications to your diet if your baby is sensitive to a particular kind of food. This is because traces of what you eat or drink can get into your breast milk and if your baby is sensitive to that particular food, it may affect your baby.

For example, do you love spicy food? Are you concerned that your intake of spicy food may harm the baby? Then, read on to find out more in this section about the concerns it can raise.

Does Breast Milk Alter Based On The Food You Take?

Yes, unlike formula milk, the taste of breast milk alters, depending on the food you take. For instance, if you have more of a garlic-based diet, your breast milk may have a similar taste. Therefore, your baby may have more feeding spells if the flavour of the milk changes.

However, experts say it is the best way to introduce the taste of foods to your baby. The sweetness and natural sugars present in the milk will dominate the flavour.

Studies have shown that babies who are exposed to certain flavours while they are in the uterus or when breastfeeding may like the same flavours when they grow up. Psychology experts have found that it is generally easier for breastfed babies to feed later on, as they have this kind of variety experience of different flavours from early stages in their life.

But, formula-fed babies have a uniform experience, and hence, it may be difficult to introduce new flavours to them later on.

However, you should consider an alteration in your diet if you find that your baby is upset or irritable after taking a particular diet. This indicates you should give more time for your baby to accept the new flavour.

How To Know If Your Baby Is Sensitive To Spicy Foods?

In many cultures, mothers continue to eat spicy food and do not make any drastic modification to their diet when breastfeeding. So far, there have been no evidence-based studies to show that babies get fussy or irritable when mothers consume spicy food. However, if you notice the following symptoms in your baby, you should re-think about having spicy foods:

• If the baby cries for a long time

• Seems uncomfortable

• Turns fussy after feeding

• If you notice any skin reactions on your baby

• If your baby wakes up abruptly

• If you notice mucus or green stools in your baby

• Diarrhoea

• Wheezing or congestion

However, please note that not all these signs are a response to spicy food, as at times, they could also be due to an allergic reaction to certain other foods like citrus, dairy or corn.

What Can You Do If Your Breastfeeding Baby Is Sensitive To Spicy Food?

If you have consumed spicy food while you are nursing and observed any of the above-mentioned symptoms, you should refrain from eating such food for a week. Then, re-introduce the food later and observe the baby's behaviour.

While some babies can get fussy if their mother eats a considerable amount of spicy food, others may slowly get accustomed and enjoy the new flavour. However, if you notice that your baby is more irritable or upset, give your baby more time to accept it. Go by the trial-and-error method.

If you can't do without spice, have it in moderation. The best thing to do is to stick to varied, healthy diet, and modify your food, depending on what makes your baby comfortable. You can schedule an appointment with your doctor in case you need any assistance regarding your diet alteration.

So, do you love spices like garlic and chilli pepper? Did it make your baby sensitive too? Please do share your food experiences in the comments section.

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    Read more about: breastfeeding foods
    Story first published: Tuesday, May 29, 2018, 19:00 [IST]
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