Is it safe to… your most pressing breastfeeding diet questions answered!

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Here are some common breastfeeding diet questions:

Many mums wonder if it is safe to consume certain foods and drinks when they are breastfeeding. To help navigate this overwhelming world, we dug through our breastfeeding groups archived posts to surface some of the advice from other breastfeeding mums. Click the links in the responses to be directed to the community discussion thread.

Is is safe to drink the following when breastfeeding?

1) Can I drink artificially sweetened drinks when breastfeeding?

In order for anything you consume to reach your baby, it has to get into your bloodstream in high enough levels to be transferred into your milk. Then it has to be something your baby can absorb out of her stomach into her bloodstream. This double barrier makes most things acceptable for a nursing mum to eat or drink (with the exception of high quantity of mercury, caffeine or alcohol).

With regards to artificially sweetened drinks, yes, moderate consumption of approved sweeteners like equal or palsweet are considered safe when breastfeeding.

2) Can I drink alcohol when nursing? Do I need to pump and dump after having a drink?

It is safe to have a drink and breastfeed. You do not need to pump and dump after one drink, but it is advisable to wait for minimum 2 hours to let the alcohol clear out from your system, especially if you have had a premature baby. This should in no way be construed as encouraging mothers to become intoxicated – moderation in everything is key. So one drink is okay, getting drunk is not. A mum who has consumed alcohol would only pose a threat to the infant through loss of motor function (dropping baby, rolling over on it, etc) and not through the alcohol content of her breastmilk. To learn more about this refer to Dr Jack Newman’s post about alcohol while breastfeeding:

The following is from a blog by a mother who tested her milk for alcohol.  Not one of those useless kits that you can…

Posted by Dr.Jack Newman on Tuesday, 24 September 2013



3) Can I drink green tea when breastfeeding?

Yes, you can take green tea when nursing. Do note however your baby could be sensitive to caffeine, so do monitor for reactions. As green tea is a diuretic, make sure you are drinking enough water in addition to the green tea.

4) Can I take cold drinks when I am breastfeeding? What about during the confinement period?

Yes, you can take cold drinks when nursing. When you are in your confinement period and would like to follow TCM practices then it is best to drink warm water or drinks instead of cold water/drinks.

5) Can I drink coffee or tea when breastfeeding?

It may be a good idea to be more conservative if your baby is less than a few months old or is premature, but moderate maternal caffeine consumption (approximately 3 cups of tea/coffee) is unlikely to cause any problem for most breastfed babies. Read what our mummies think here.

6) Can I drink soya milk when breastfeeding?

For many mummies soya milk is actually their milk booster.  However, soy can cause phlegm in babies. Also soy milk contains phyto estrogens so might affect hormonal levels. You can take a bit first to try, if baby reacts to it then stop?

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