Foods To Avoid While Breastfeeding That Could Be Harmful To Your Baby

Foods that Cause Gas/Fussiness/Irritability

Crying baby

There are several foods to avoid when breastfeeding because they contribute to the fussiness that most babies experience at some point in their first few months. When you are exclusively breastfeeding, just about everything you eat goes directly into your milk supply, and thus directly into your baby. Most of the foods on this list can cause similar symptoms in adults, only to a much smaller degree since our digestive systems are more advanced than a baby’s.

1. Broccoli, Onions, And Cabbage

Broccoli onion and cabbage breastfeeding foods

Pixabay / Pixabay / Pixabay

We hate to be the ones to tell you not to eat your veggies, but these are some of the top vegetables to avoid while breastfeeding due to their reputation for causing gas. Young babies naturally struggle with gas, but these foods can add to the problem, leading to an overly fussy baby.

2. Spicy Foods

Red and green peppers

Similar to the gas-inducing veggies, spicy foods can irritate your baby’s immature digestive system, so it may be best to avoid them, at least for the first several months until your baby is past the typical gassy/colicky stage. If you’re a huge fan of spicy foods (and who’s not?) this may be a good time to experiment with other flavors to add zest and kick up your food a notch, and stay away from these gassy foods to avoid while breastfeeding.

3. Citrus Foods

Citrus fruits

We get it, you’re starting to wonder if we’re trying to get you to eat junk food! We promise we’re not, but it’s true that you may have to lay off those sweet, juicy oranges and tart, refreshing grapefruits for a while. Citrus fruits can make your breastmilk more acidic, which can lead directly to diaper rashes in young babies, thus—you guessed it—making them fussy. So, if you must indulge in citrus fruits, try to keep them to a minimum. Instead, substitute other healthy fruits, like melons and bananas, until your baby is ready to cut back on the breast milk a bit.

4. Coffee

Cup of black coffee

Most new moms would sooner give up a vital organ than a cup of coffee, but don’t sweat it: coffee isn’t a food to avoid during breastfeeding, but rather one to simply cut down on.

Think about it: coffee makes you more alert, right? Well, it does the exact same thing to your baby through your breastmilk. It’s totally fine to indulge in one or even two cups of coffee in a day, but it’s best not to exceed that, and if possible, avoid drinking any coffee late in the day unless you want to be up all night with an alert, super-fussy baby.

Foods That Can Affect Milk Supply

Baby drinking a bottle of milk

The list isn’t long, so don’t worry, but it helps to be aware of the fact that there are several herbs to avoid while breastfeeding. If taken in large quantities, these can reduce your milk supply, which leads to fussiness for a totally different reason—a hungry baby!

1. Peppermint

Peppermint leaves

According to La Leche League, “Peppermint [is] reputed to decrease milk production when consumed in large or concentrated amounts. Frequent brushing with toothpaste containing real peppermint oil or even eating potent peppermint candies has caused trouble for some mothers.”


2. Parsley

One bunch of parsley

Parsley is actually a member of the peppermint family, so it makes sense that it’s one of the herbs to avoid while breastfeeding. Again, in order to have much effect, you would have to consume parsley in large amounts, which isn’t a common thing to do, but there are some dishes that do call for a lot of parsley, like tabbouleh and some pestos, so check if you’re unsure.

3. Caffeine

Pile of coffee beans

It seems unfair that coffee (and related awesome foods like chocolate) would make this list twice, but unfortunately, when consumed in large quantities, caffeine can cause a reduction in milk supply. Our advice to tired new moms is to avoid worrying about drinking coffee during breastfeeding too much unless your milk supply is really suffering. Remember, it’s important to take care of yourself. If you look forward to your daily cup of coffee, it may not be worth giving it up without trying (lots of!) other things first.