Menu

What NOT to Eat When Breastfeeding

6 foods you should avoid if you are nursing.

What NOT to Eat When Breastfeeding

We spend so much time worrying about what we put into our bodies while pregnant, it’s easy to forget we’re still eating for two while breastfeeding! Now that your sweet baby is in your arms instead of your belly you can finally indulge in the things you’ve been missing: tuna tartare, a tall Sapporo, Italian subs. But there are some things nursing mamas want to steer clear of.

What we eat passes through our breast milk to our little ones. Certain foods we might love can upset their tiny bellies, make them gassy, or even affect brain development. We know you want to make sure you’re doing everything you can for your little one, so we’ve come up with a cheat sheet to help you keep track of what foods to avoid while nursing.

1. Foods with high mercury levels

Fish with high levels of mercury are a big no-no while nursing--so much so that the EPA asks pregnant and nursing moms to avoid those high mercury level fish like shark, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel. Being exposed to too much mercury can have an effect our babies tiny, developing brains, impacting their cognitive thinking, memory and fine motor skills. The EPA also suggests limiting canned tuna to six ounces per week while breastfeeding.

2. Sweet ‘n Low

While most artificial sweeteners are considered safe during pregnancy and the breastfeeding period, Sweet ‘n Low is not. It’s made of saccharin, a chemical compound 300 times as sweet as sucrose. In fact, the FDA says saccharin isn’t safe for anyone to ingest. Take a look at the ingredient list on your canned fruit and diet sodas to see if saccharin is included. If it is, you might want to leave them in the pantry, at least until you’re finished nursing. But it might not be as easy as you think – in a study of lab animals by Harvard, saccharine was found to be more addictive than cocaine!

3. Foods that can upset baby’s belly

Every mom knows the exasperation of a baby with gas pain. One way to help mitigate gas pain in your little one is to avoid foods that are known to make you gassy, like cucumbers, celery and cabbage. Babies, especially those with reflux, are also super sensitive to acid in citrus fruits. Culprits like oranges, lemons, pineapples, and strawberries are known to make reflux problems worse and create a mess of babies’ tiny gastrointestinal tracts. There’s no need to cut all of these fruits and veggies out cold turkey, but if you notice belly troubles with your baby – try cutting one or two out for a week and see if it makes a difference.

4. Cow’s milk

As many as 7.5 percent of babies in America are thought to have a cow’s milk protein allergy. Symptoms are quite varied, but include issues with their gastrointestinal tracts, respiratory systems and skin. Some telltale signs include: reflux, diarrhea, blood in stool, wheezing, and eczema. Not all babies have all symptoms. If you think your baby might have an allergy to the protein in cow’s milk, talk to your doctor and try cutting dairy from your diet completely. It may take as long as a week without dairy to see an improvement in your baby. It’s important to realize an allergy to cow’s milk protein is not the same as being lactose intolerant – so taking Lactaid won’t cut it.

5. Too much caffeine

Bring on the lattes! Yes, you can finally have more than 200 mg of caffeine a day, but you'll still want to temper your caffeine intake while nursing. Twenty-five ounces of coffee a day won’t cause a problem for most babies. That’s about two talls from Starbucks. However, too much caffeine can make your baby edgy, fussy and unable to fall asleep. We know caffeinated beverages aren’t easy on adults with acid reflux, and the same for your baby. If your little one has reflux, you might want to avoid these drinks altogether.

6. Too much alcohol

First, let's bust that myth that alcohol stimulates milk production. It doesn’t. But you can still drink it anyway (thank goodness!). The American Academy of Pediatrics says it’s fine to drink while breastfeeding, but you should have your glass of wine right after a nursing or pumping session, not before. Check out this Well Rounded chart describing how long you should wait to nurse or pump, depending on how much you’ve had to drink. If you want to be extra sure your milk is safe for baby, invest in in some breast milk alcohol test strips, like these from UpSpring.

After 4 kids, this is still the best baby gear item I’ve ever purchased

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work.

I have four kids 8 and under, so you might expect that my house is teeming with baby gear and kid toys.

But it turns out that for me, the more kids I have, the more I simplify our stuff. At this point, I'm down to the absolute essentials, the gear that I can't live without and the toys my kids actually play with. And so when a mama-to-be asks me what things are worth registering for, there are only a few must-haves on my list.

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer seat is on the top of my list—totally worth it and an absolute must-have for any new mama.

In fact, since I first splurged on my first BABYBJÖRN bouncer eight years ago (it definitely felt like a splurge at the time, but the five star reviews were really compelling), the bouncer seat has become the most-used product in our house for baby's first year.

We've actually invested in a second one so that we didn't have to keep moving ours from the bedroom to the living room when we change locations.

BABYBJÖRN bouncer bliss

baby bjorn bouncer

The utility of the seat might seem counterintuitive—it has no mechanical parts, so your baby is instead gently bounced by her own movements. In a world where many baby products are touted for their ability to mechanically rock baby to sleep, I get that many moms might not find the "no-motion" bouncer that compelling. But it turns out that the seat is quite reactive to baby's little kicks, and it has helped my kids to learn how to self-soothe.

$200

Lightweight + compact:

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer is super lightweight, and it also folds flat in a second. Because of those features, we've frequently stored it under the couch, in a suitcase or in the back of the car. It folds completely flat, which I love.

Entertainment zone:

Is the toy bar worth it? The toy bar is totally worth it. Not only is the toy bar adorable, but it's one of the first toys that my babies actually play with once they discover the world beyond my boobs. The toys spin and are close to eye level so they have frequently kept my baby entertained while I cook or take a quick shower.

Great style:

This is not a small detail to me–the BABYBJÖRN bouncer is seriously stylish. I am done with baby gear and toys that make my house look like a theme park. The elegant European design honestly just looks good in my living room and I appreciate that parents can enjoy it as much as baby.

It's adjustable:

With three height settings that let you prop baby up to be entertained, or lay back to rest, we get years of use. And the bouncer can actually be adjusted for bigger kids and used from newborn to toddler age. It's that good.

It just works:

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work. But I have used the seat as a safe space to put baby while I've worked (I once rocked my baby in it with my foot while I reported on a breaking news story for the Washington Post), and as a cozy spot for my second child to lay while his big brother played nearby. It's held up for almost a decade with almost-constant use.

So for me, looking back on what I thought was a splurge eight years ago, was actually one of the best investments in baby gear I ever made.

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Shop

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Shop

It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

Keep reading Show less
News