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Spicy Foods, Herbs Nursing Mothers Should Avoid

food for nursing mothers

Sometimes your baby is fussy, crying, having diarrhea, having difficulty going to the toilet, and experiencing general discomfort, and you can\’t lay a finger on it. It is time to sit back and check the list of what you eat. When you were pregnant, you were probably given a list of things to avoid in your diet, and you thought to yourself that it would all end after pregnancy.

Sorry to burst your bubbles, but as a nursing mother, it is essential to monitor what you eat. Below we will discuss a list of foods to avoid while breastfeeding

Fish high in mercury 

Fish is a good source of protein for you and your baby. You should stay away from the shark, king mackerel, tilefish, swordfish, marlin, Bigeye tuna because of the high level of mercury present in them. Mercury isn\’t safe for babies because mercury can affect the brain and central nervous system development. Mercury can pass from mother to child through the placenta in pregnancy and breastmilk in nursing infants. 


Alcohol is not recommended for nursing mothers because a certain amount of alcohol enters into the breastmilk. It is best not to drink alcohol, but if you must take, then you either breastfeed your infant first or wait at least two hours after taking alcohol to breastfeed. Alcohol can affect a baby\’s brain development, cause restlessness, and fussiness.

Dairy and dairy products

Babies display little or no tolerance to cow\’s milk. You should stay away from cow\’s milk and its product for some. Take in small quantity to see how well your baby tolerates lactose from cow\’s milk in your breastmilk. Some babies experience diarrhea, gas in their stomach, fussiness, and a whole lot of discomfort. 

Soya beans or soy protein

It\’s best to avoid giving your baby soybeans directly or through your breastmilk. You are looking for a great source of protein that will serve you and your baby, and because of the high nutritional values and great taste, you go for soybeans. Some babies have shown allergic reactions to soy protein. Soybeans can also cause constipation in babies, rashes on the skin, especially for babies less than a year old.

Coffee and tea

Coffee and tea are not totally off-limit to nursing mothers, but it is in the best interest of mothers to avoid them because of the presence of caffeine. I can understand if the first thing you want to take in the morning is a hot coffee after staying awake most of the night. Consider that your baby that is less than nine months old and cannot metabolize the caffeine that would be passed to your baby through your breastmilk, you want to find a healthier alternative for would be right for you both. And when you are ready to start taking coffee while still nursing, you should not take more than three cups in a day or switch to decaffeinated. For tea, there are healthier herbal options like green tea to the black tea. Caffeine can disturb your baby\’s sleep schedule, make her restless, and cause her to be colic.


It has a lot of health benefits, including fighting infections and boosting the production of breastmilk. But garlic is more beneficial to the mother than the nursing baby. The smell of garlic in the breastmilk can put off a baby from nursing. Garlic also causes colic and stomach upset in some babies. While you should stay off the garlic and find other options to supply you with the benefits found in garlic, you might still want to take garlic but in small quantities.


A little amount of peppermint that you consume is not harmful to your baby. It is when consumed in large quantities that it causes gas and upsets your baby\’s stomach. Peppermint is also known to reduce breast milk. The taste of peppermint in your milk can also put your baby off breastfeeding.

Parsley and Sage

There is no documented evidence that parsley and sage affect a nursing infant, but it is known to decrease milk supply. A high quantity of parsley can stop the flow of breastmilk. You should take parsley and sage in a minimal amount.


It is known to cause high blood pressure as well as low sugar in the blood of nursing mothers. Nursing babies are not left out of its effect as it causes diarrhea and colic in babies.

Black Walnut

Black walnut is a plant used for an herbal treatment. There isn\’t much about the negative effect of black walnut on nursing mothers and babies; that is enough reason to be mindful of consuming it. You shouldn\’t apply it to your skin or ingest it if you are pregnant or nursing, because this is, will reduce the likelihood of eczema erupting on your baby\’s skin or any other adverse effect.

Comfrey ointment

Mothers use comfrey ointment in the herbal treatment of sore nipples occurring from breastfeeding. But it is one of the herbs to avoid while breastfeeding. It is known to be passed from mother to nursing baby, and it is associated with causing liver damage in babies. In place of comfrey treatment for sore nipples, you should use lanolin or coconut oil on the sore nipple daily until it heals.

Signs your baby is having stomach upset

  1. The baby is crying with the legs up
  2. The stomach is swollen
  3. Unable to sleep and eat
  4. Frequently passing gas and not going to the toilet for days
  5. Diarrhea
  6. Vomiting
  7. Shows signs of pain when you touch the tummy.

You can help your pain find relief by

  • Lying her on the tummy
  • Look into what you have been eating and cut back on spices, caffeine, and herbs
  • Avoid gassy foods to see if she would feel better
  • Find ways to help your baby poop
  • Eat more fiber-rich foods and drink more water
  • Hold your baby close to you with her stomach touching yours. It gives them some relief.

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