It is a strange adjustment to have to re-evaluate everything you take by mouth because you know that your nursing infant will be directly affected by it. Suddenly my diet becomes quite bland and my favorite vegetables are on the “don’t even think about eating that” list due to the fact that I don’t want my baby screaming with gas pains.
Every child is different, but for most moms, working with a newborn means changing one’s diet. Popular offenders are strong seasonings such as garlic and certain vegetables like broccoli and brussel sprouts. Then there are substances which contain caffeine such as chocolate. Certain spices can actually decrease your milk, such as basil. And you may need to avoid highly citrus foods (so long grapefruits…I’ll miss you).
This is of course going to be different for each mother and child. I know some moms who can eat anything that they want and not see any problem in their baby. However, most the moms that I talk to have found that certain food combinations do not work well for them while nursing.
As a matter of fact, after my son was born in 2006, my husband got so used to not seasoning my steak when he grilled that he still forgets to add seasoning to it even now. The reason was that my child was extremely sensitive to what I ate. I was once told by someone, that I would only have to be aware of what I ate for the first three months and then it wouldn’t matter. I’m here to tell you otherwise, because my child could still have stomach pains for the first year, depending on what I ate.
The truth of the matter is that if you are nursing a baby, you will find out how their body responds to what you eat. I remember one day I was nursing my son shortly after having devoured a bag of popcorn, and I could smell the popcorn in my milk as he nursed. LOL.
Of course a “colicky” baby is quite common these days, but finding out what is causing the problem can be a challenge. Sometimes it’s a food allergy and it is often recommended that the mom try going off dairy or wheat to find out if that is the source. Sometimes, it can be something small that you wouldn’t think would affect an infant. Even food dyes can cause a reaction in some babies.
With our son, we had to develop several strategies for helping him work through intestinal pain. Gripe Water, smithicone drops, rubbing the tummy clockwise, jogging the legs rhythmically, swaddling, etc…they were all part of our arsenal to calm a crying baby.
That being said, I wouldn’t trade nursing for the world. It is worth all the hassle of thinking before eating. If I get really desperate for a certain meal that I know affects my baby negatively, I could always use the popular “pump and dump” method. Overall, it is the most satisfying feeling to know that I am giving my baby all the nutrients that she needs. So enjoy the extra calories that you ought to eat when lactating, just make sure that they are a good choice for both you and baby.
Was your baby affected by what you ate when nursing? Do you know of a nursing mom who’s baby was/wasn’t affected by her diet?