During my pregnancy there were a lot of foods that I missed and looked forward to having the diet restrictions disappear once Emma was here. Eczema happened and since she was exclusively breastfed (EBF) I had to once again, watch what I ate.
There are some moms who do follow an EBF diet whether it’s for health issues, general well-being, or to help aid in breastmilk production. Because my little one was sensitive I did notice that certain foods would cause a flare up in eczema, mucus in the stool, or fussiness. Now that she is a year old I believe her body is better at acclimating to the foods I eat or introduced and able to consume spices or tea on occasion with no issues.
I’ve read somewhere that breastfeeding moms need about 300 to 500 additional calories on top of what they already consume to keep up with the supply and demand of motherhood. Generally an EBF diet aims for balance with fruits, veggies, dairy, protein, whole grains, and healthy fats.
While there aren't strict guidelines of an EBF diet, you should limit:
- Raw/undercooked meats and seafood
- Fish with high levels of mercury (tuna)
- Caffeine and alcohol
Since what we consume may transfer into breastmilk it is also a good way to introduce common allergens like peanuts, shellfish, egg, and dairy before direct consumption (if they don’t have an existing allergy). Studies show that the longer you avoid these common allergies the more likely an allergy will develop. Infants diagnosed with allergies may grow out of them, but things like nuts and shellfish are allergies that might stick around for the long run. There are products out there that help to introduce common food allergens safely, these don’t claim to fix existing allergies.
Emma is 12 months old and eats three meals a day, nurses morning and night, and drinks breastmilk from a sippy cup in the afternoons. I keep mindful to the supplements and foods I consume mainly to prevent flare ups and help heal her skin. In the end there aren’t necessarily dietary restrictions while breastfeeding. Anything you consume should be done in moderation such as caffeine. Even if something is “really good for you," the moderation rule still applies. A balanced diet is key in whatever diet form you follow!