5 Surprising Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding for a Happier Baby

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Are you struggling with low milk supply? Have a fussy breastfed baby? After breastfeeding 4 babies, I learned that there are certain foods that actually cause lower milk supply. There are foods that can cause gas, colic and indigestion in your newborn baby, which makes breastfeeding (and mom life!) so much harder. Discover these surprising foods to avoid while breastfeeding

What to eat when breastfeeding can be confusing, but once you have an understanding of breastfeeding foods and how they effect you and your baby, breastfeeding is way easier. 

Now just to be clear – this is not a complete list. It’s just a few common foods that really surprised me when I took them out of my breastfeeding diet.

What was the surprise?

My babies were easier to care for because they were not suffering from symptoms caused by what I was eating.

This was shocking for me.

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Breastfeeding mom with baby trying to figure out what to eat

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What foods to avoid when breastfeeding?

When I had my first baby, I didn’t realize that there were foods that would affect my breast milk and my baby.

I ate pretty much what I wanted. It was basically a standard American diet. I struggled for months with a colicky baby who spit up after every feeding. It was like projectile spit up and scary.

There were so many tears. On my part and hers.

But seriously I thought that was normal. That’s what all the burp cloths and bibs are for, right?

Well, with each baby, I learned more and more about the importance of what you eat while breastfeeding.

Not only does what you eat affect the quality of your milk supply, but it also affects how your baby feels.

And ultimately, if breastfeeding is a good experience for you.

List What Not to Eat While Breastfeeding

This is a basic list of things to avoid while breastfeeding:

But there are way more nuisances to what not to eat when breastfeeding than just that!

Download our foods to avoid while breastfeeding list + meal plan by clicking the image below so you know exactly what NOT to eat and what to eat when nursing!

What not to eat when breastfeeding?

So let’s dive in to some foods to avoid while nursing that may irritate your baby. Not every baby will be affected by these foods, so it’s important to pay attention to your baby, their symptoms and only eliminate if you see problems.

The good thing is most babies are only sensitive to these foods in the first 6 months, so if you continue with extended breastfeeding you may be able to add them back in later without much issue.

Watch this video for an quick overview.

#1 Tomatoes while Breastfeeding –

Lots and lots of recipes call for adding tomato sauce or tomato paste. I found that tomato based foods like spaghetti, pizza, lasagna and chili gave me indigestion.

It was also too acidic for my sensitive newborns. Often they would get diaper rash after eating tomato based recipes. I also noticed that it contributed to acid reflux, or what’s called infant GERD.

Fresh tomatoes seemed less problematic. But in general, decrease tomatoes and tomato based recipes while breastfeeding to avoid acid reflux in your baby.

Read more about the foods to avoid when breastfeeding a baby with reflux here. 

Sorry, Italian food, there will be plenty of time to eat you when baby weans!

So what can you eat instead? Nourish your body and build breast milk supply with these 9 Healthy Soup Recipes for Breastfeeding Moms.

# 2 Dairy –

Many newborn babies are sensitive to dairy and some will have the milk protein allergy. Avoiding dairy in the first 6 months postpartum can really help reduce the chances your baby will have colic, eczema and sleep issues.  There is actually evidence of this you can read here

I found this out first hand. My 1st had very bad colic for months and it was miserable. She rarely slept, ate a ton, and spit up A LOT.

When I had my 2nd, it started very similarly, but my midwife suggested that I avoid dairy. Within days my baby was happy, cooing and a great sleeper. After a few weeks I thought, surely it wasn’t the dairy and added it back in, only to get a fussy, spitting up baby.

So after that I was sold and refrained from dairy with baby 3 and 4 from day 1! They were both relatively easy babies as long as I avoided the foods on this list.

Want to know the strange thing I noticed?

My younger 2 kids rarely ever spit up. Like almost never…unless I had dairy. If you are struggling with fussy newborn, dairy would be the first food to try eliminating.

Replace cow’s milk with nut milk and avoid cheese, sour cream, cream cheese and butter. This is not an issue for everyone, but definitely something to try if while breastfeeding your baby suffers from colic, eczema or sleep issues.

Want to know what foods to eat while breastfeeding? Sign up for our email list below to get a free Breastfeeding Food Guide printable PLUS breastfeeding friendly meal ideas and diet tips delivered to your inbox. 

  • Includes best foods to eat to increase milk supply
  • Includes foods to avoid while breastfeeding baby with reflux, gas and colic.
  • Know exactly what to eat to make more milk and keep your baby happy!

#3 Wheat flour and Gluten  –

This one is more for Moms, than babies. But in my experience what effects Mama, effects baby. 

While this may be somewhat controversial, grains can cause inflammation of an already sensitive and taxed postpartum gut. Also eating foods like bread, muffins and pasta fills you up, but contains less nutrients than other foods that are more beneficial for you, which can make it harder to lose the extra baby weight.

You can read more about breastfeeding diet tips here that can help you better optimize your milk supply and lose weight while nursing.

I talk a little about my experience going gluten free in this post on pregnancy eating mistakes. I went gluten free during my 3rd pregnancy, but thought the radical health changes were just some kind of fluke pregnancy thing.

So I decided to eat pizza and calamari a few weeks postpartum, only to have my baby break out (and get fussy from the tomato sauce). And a tiny psoriasis patch appear on my leg the next day. Coincidence? Maybe. But, I went back to gluten free real quick.

If your baby is experiencing digestive upset, it may be worth a try to eliminate gluten and see what happens. You can always add it back it after awhile and at that point if you see a change 

Remember – it takes up to 2 weeks to fully eliminate any of these foods from your system, but usually you can start to see results with a few days.

What to eat instead of pasta and bread when breastfeeding?

Stop eating bread and pasta all together, or opt for gluten free versions. This is my favorite gluten free bread and this pasta you won’t even realize the difference. 

Need more carbs? Add in more rice, potatoes, oats (gluten free) and quinoa to your breastfeeding diet.

Struggling to lose the baby weight and build a healthy milk supply? You just need a plan to make it happen. Check this FREE 5 day jump start! It’s a diet and exercise program designed especially for breastfeeding moms!

#4 Certain common herbs –

Parsley, peppermint, oregano, thyme and sage are very common herbs used in many recipes. I was shocked to learn that  these common herbs are actually shown to decrease breast milk supply. Mostly because I breastfed 4 babies and just found this out!

These are common spices included in many pre baby freezer meal recipes you will find on Pinterest and Google. They are also common ingredients in spice mixes, so be aware when using them while cooking.

Herbs to avoid while breastfeeding

  • Black Walnut
  • Lemon Balm
  • Oregano
  • Parsley 
  • Peppermint 
  • Periwinkle Herb 
  • Sage 
  • Sorrel
  • Spearmint
  • Thyme
  • Yarrow

Are you making pre baby freezer meals? Don’t waste your time making all those freezer meals until you read this!

#5 Broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus and Brussels sprouts –

While these are all super healthy foods that are definitely good for nourishing your pregnant body, they can cause gas in newborn babies. When babies have too much gas they can become uncomfortable and fussy.

Many babies will squirm and even turn red when they have trapped gas. If you notice these symptoms in your baby, try moderating these gassy foods while breastfeeding for a week and see if your baby has less gas. 

My babies also seemed to get diaper rash from broccoli in particular. 

Many breastfeeding Moms and babies can tolerate these vegetables without trouble. So the only reason to avoid this food group is if you notice negative symptoms in YOUR baby. 

If you have gotten to this point and are wondering what the heck can you eat – keep reading for some suggestions below. 

Want to boost milk supply the easy way? You have to try this protein powder I’m loving called Milk Dust. It’s the only protein powder designed specifically for breastfeeding moms to help curb sugar cravings, boost nutrients and help you make more milk. The best part is it’s dairy free, gluten free, plant based and GMO free!


How does healthy diet make breastfeeding easier?

Well simply put, when you have a good milk supply, baby is happy. When baby is happy, Mama is happy.

So much of the stress of breastfeeding is around the struggle with milk supply. The better you eat, the better your milk supply will be.

A happy baby sleeps well, coos and smiles after feedings and is generally peaceful. THIS makes Mom life so much easier because you are not constantly soothing a crying and uncomfortable infant.

This means you are less weary and able to respond better when needed. Which means you will worry less and spend more time enjoying your newborn.

But no fear, Mama, if your baby is not the happiest. There are things you can do! Try some of these tips for soothing a colicky baby.

And start looking at what you are eating and consider removing some of the foods from the list above.

It took me 4 babies to get it right. While these foods seem innocent enough, they really can wreak havoc on your your baby’s delicate system.

It’s important to pay attention to YOUR baby as not all babies will be effected by the foods listed above! Watch them for these signs:

  • diaper rash
  • spitting up a lot after feedings 
  • excessive gas
  • visible discomfort after breastfeeding
  • eczema
  • baby acne

If you notice any of these symptoms, then start to look at the above foods and which to eliminate. 

Save this breastfeeding infographic below for future reference:

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Foods you may not need to avoid while breastfeeding

There are soooo many breastfeeding myths! Especially about what you can and can’t, or should and shouldn’t eat while breastfeeding. There are lots of foods that you will find on both the foods that support and foods to avoid when breastfeeding lists depending on the source you consult. Which makes it kinda confusing for a Mama to know what to eat!

In many ways, the best advice is to pay attention to your body and your baby.

What affects one may not affect you, and what affects you, may not affect others. So, it’s always important to keep that in mind when reading advice online. These are just general guidelines.

For example, onion and garlic are often listed as foods to avoid mostly because eating them raw can be hard on baby’s stomach. But these nourishing foods actually are immune boosting and very good for you and baby when cooked. And spicy foods are tolerated well by some and not by others.

Eating sushi when breastfeeding is another one that many Moms think they should avoid. But really if you stick to cooked varieties from clean sources, it can actually be quite beneficial.

A good rule is to try things in moderation. Focus on eating a diet that supports lactation and boost milk supply. See how your body and baby react, and then plan accordingly.

You can be successful at breastfeeding if you focus on caring for your body and creating an environment supportive of breastfeeding.

And the good thing is, that most of these newborn food sensitivities while breastfeeding only last about 6 months.  So if you breastfeed past 6 months these food are much less an issue.

So what can you eat when breastfeeding?

It may seem like this eliminates a lot of foods and you may be wondering – what the heck can I actually eat?

Here are a few of our best resources that can help!

List of Breastfeeding Snacks – all healthy, dairy and gluten free. Plus low in sugar and high in protein so that you feel full longer and have more energy.

Lactation Recipes for Making More Breast Milk – dairy free and gluten free recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, homemade snacks, smoothies and desserts so that you can eat well all day long. 

Foods to Increase Milk Supply – all the foods on this list are good for you to eat and help make a high quality milk supply. This list includes recipes and product/supplement ideas for each food. 

Foods to Boost Milk Supply – these are foods to always have on hand to ensure you have a high quality milk supply. The foods on this list will help boost nutrients for you and baby. 

Breastfeeding Drinks – ways to stay hydrated, boost nutrition and increase milk supply with lactation drinks.

Breastfeeding Soup Recipes – soup is an amazingly nourishing food that can help you make more breast milk. Plus the recipes in this list can all be made in the slow cooker or instant pot making them super easy meals.

Pumpkin Lactation Recipes – do you love pumpkin? All these ideas are breastfeeding friendly and includes recipes for snacks, smoothies, breakfast, lunch, and dinner with pumpkin or pumpkin spice.

Healing Freezer Meals for Postpartum and Breastfeeding – This guide walks you step by step through preparing 12 easy, healthy freezer meals specifically tailored for breastfeeding moms.

Breastfeeding Meal Plan for Healthy Mom + Baby – This is a one week meal plan to support lactation. All healthy meal ideas that are dairy free and gluten free. 

More Breastfeeding Resources

Looking for some tips to make breastfeeding easier? 15 Moms share what helped them solve their breastfeeding problems. Learn their secrets for rocking breastfeeding here!

Are you planning on going back to work and need to learn how to pump breast milk and stock your freezer while on maternity leave? This awesome online breastfeeding course will teach you everything you need to know! 

Do you want to get back in shape and keep your milk supply up? Need a plan and a little motivation to make it happen? You will love the Postpartum Cure! Learn more about how to get back in shape after baby here. 

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Infographic list of foods to avoid while breastfeeding


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Breastfeeding Mom and baby foods to avoid

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11 thoughts on “5 Surprising Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding for a Happier Baby

      • I have had 4 children and the only thing that seem to bother my babies is the tomatoes based foods and broccoli, I eat flour gluten and basically everything on your list and thankfully my babies so far have been extremely happy and not fussy and yes I have nursed all of them so I think it’s just different babies have different bellies and you can’t base them all of the same list

  1. This is fascinating stuff. Unfortunately I can’t imagine being able to do it in our current financial situation, right now we survive on this whole list, lol. Haven’t had the first baby yet, so hopefully things will change soon, but I’ll definitely keep this in mind.

  2. I’m sure you are right about these foods, but that cuts out almost everything I eat. What is left? Seriously, what do you eat? I’d like a list and some ideas

  3. When I had my premature baby 4 years ago, he used to be very colicky, gassy, and used to have bloody stool. It didn’t take long to start looking into my diet, and after a heavy elimination diet, all issues started to resolve themselves. I’ve always wondered if I’d read this back then everything would have been simpler. Every breastfeeding mom should read this!

    • Oh my! As if new Moms aren’t overwhelmed enough! Yes it’s important to eat healthy while breastfeeding but this certainly isn’t true for everyone! Some babies are just more prone to digestive issues. My first was more fussy and spit up a lot, so maybe she could have benefited. But the only thing that seemed to affect the other 2 was if I drank regular coffee. My 4th is 9 days old, so we’re still figuring things out. I’ve always hoped I wouldn’t be one that has to give up dairy while breastfeeding! So far I haven’t. Plus it’s good to have a varied diet so they aren’t picky and have less chance of food allergies later. I wouldn’t think if you completely avoided all these, they would have more issues with sensitivity later on.

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