It’s one thing to know what foods can help increase breast milk supply, but it’s another to know what foods you need to avoid. There are so many different food choices available today and it is so easy to consume things that can actually lower your breast milk supply.
I will walk you through a list of ten foods that breastfeeding mamas should avoid in the hopes that you can avoid consuming things that will negatively affect your body’s ability to lactate.
1. Lemon Balm
Lemon Balm is a scented essential oil which is commonly used to alleviate gas, sooth upset stomachs, and provide relief from itchy insect bites. It is highly effective in calming the nerves and can help aid in relaxation.
In small amounts, it is considered to be safe for breastfeeding mamas and their babies. However, a decrease in breast milk supply can occur when too much lemon balm is consumed. (Source)
2. Peppermint & Spearmint
Peppermint and spearmint are popular mints that can be taken in orally, topically, and via inhalation. Mints such as peppermint and spearmint have been known to provide a multitude of health benefits. However, one study revealed that a reduction in breast milk supply was found in breastfeeding mamas who used peppermint and spearmint.
While there is insufficient data to support the discovery, it is safe to say that you are better off staying away from these mints because even something as harmless as a peppermint candy can affect your breast milk supply. (Source)
Parsley is a diuretic which can cause dehydration and, because such a large percentage of breast milk consists of water, anything that can decrease the amount of water in your body can also decrease the amount of milk that your body is able to produce.
While a few sprigs probably won’t cause too much of an issue, but you are better off staying away from parsley in the form of concentrated supplements as well as any dishes that contain parsley in large amounts. (Source)
Oregano is one of the most common spices used in cooking. It is even considered to be an effective treatment for lactation-related Candida infection of the nipples.
However, when consumed in large amounts, breastfeeding mamas may find oregano to negatively impact lactation. (Source)
Sage is an exceptional herb that adds flavor to food and provides several health benefits. But it is also a natural form of estrogen – a hormone found in the body that inhibits the body from producing breast milk.
In fact, sage tea is used to reduce lactation and can help breastfeeding mamas who are either weaning or dealing with an overabundant milk supply. (Source)
Cabbage is a leafy green which contains Vitamin K, C, B1, B6, manganese, folate, potassium, and dietary fiber. In recent years, breastfeeding mamas have found that, when applied topically, cabbage leaves can actually help reduce breast engorgement and combat lactation-related infections.
While there is no scientific explanation for this, some suspect it is due to the fact that cabbage contains high amounts of Sulfur which are known to have anti-inflammatory properties. (Source)
Ginseng is a popular herb which is often used for its medicinal properties. Known to provide energy-boosting effects, breastfeeding mamas may feel like using ginseng to battle fatigue.
However, the use of ginseng in breastfeeding mamas is not recommended due to its possible estrogenic activity which can decrease breast milk production. (Source)
8. Breakfast Cereal
Breakfast cereal is a tasty treat for people of all ages. Loaded with lots of nutritional value, it is definitely one of the quickest go-to foods available today. However, breakfast cereals contain high amounts of Vitamin B6 which has been known to inhibit lactation.
That said, it is important to keep in mind that Vitamin B6 is essential for your body. You probably don’t want to deny yourself of such a nutrient because it supports the nervous system, immune system, and even digestion. Just make sure not to go overboard. (Source)
9. Alcoholic Beverages
There is a myriad of reasons for breastfeeding mamas to avoid alcoholic beverages. Aside from the fact that becoming intoxicated is ill-advised, the alcohol in your bloodstream can find its way into your milk and affect your baby’s sleeping and eating habits.
However, when it comes to lactation, the real issue lies in the fact that alcohol can inhibit the release of oxytocin which is the hormone responsible for the let-down reflex. (Source)
10. Caffeinated Beverages
Anything that contains caffeine is best avoided by breastfeeding mamas, and that includes coffee, tea, soda, chocolates, and energy drinks.
Much like alcohol, caffeine in your bloodstream can find its way into your milk and may cause your baby to become irritable, colicky, and generally unhappy. (Source)
As a breastfeeding mama, it is your responsibility to find out what foods can decrease your breast milk supply, especially if you are dealing with lactation issues. I sincerely hope that this list will serve as a useful guide that will help you as you move forward in your breastfeeding journey.