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What Should You Eat While Breastfeeding?

Breastmilk naturally has the perfect ratios of fats, proteins, water, and carbohydrates for your baby, and is overflowing with vitamins, minerals, and healthy bacteria. So once you’ve decided to feed your baby tailor-made human milk, you might be wondering, “Do I have to eat the perfect diet to make the perfect food for my baby?” Take a deep breath because the answer is definitely “No.”

Your stomach is not directly connected to your breasts. This means that the food you eat does not pass directly to your baby. Instead, the food you eat gets broken down by your stomach and intestines, with help from organs called the pancreas and liver, and only the simplest forms of nutrients pass into the blood stream. The blood then travels to the breasts to deposit nutrients and make milk.

This means that if you’ve been avoiding certain foods during pregnancy, you can happily reintroduce and enjoy these foods after baby is born! Spicy foods, beans, broccoli, garlic, sushi and other fish are all fine to eat while breastfeeding. Despite common belief, eating these foods will not cause your baby to be gassy or fussy. There are no specific foods all nursing parents need to avoid.

And there are no specific foods you have to buy or eat to make lots of nutritionally-rich milk for your baby. While there are lots of products on the market, including cookies, bars, and teas, that advertise they’ll help you make more milk, this is mostly marketing.

You may find yourself especially hungry and thirsty while breastfeeding, as breastfeeding does burn extra calories. Listen to your body and eat as you’re hungry and drink as you’re thirsty. Keep in mind that making well-rounded food choices as a new parent will help to keep you healthy long beyond your breastfeeding journey, but you don’t have to eat the perfect diet to make the perfect food for your baby.