Breast-Fed Babies Have Fewer Allergies Than Do Bottle-Fed Babies Mum’s Diet When Breastfeeding

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Mum’s Diet When Breastfeeding

During pregnancy it is important to be cautious about certain foods as the growing baby can not handle i.e. bacteria that can be found in unpasteurised milk products or alcohol. In contrast, breastfeeding does not require as much attention to one’s diet as pregnancy; however, it is still necessary to keep an eye on the diet in order to feed the baby safely. Luckily, the human body is designed to make the best of what it gets. Even if a diet is deficient, studies carried out all over the world have shown that breast milk still has the right combination of nutrients in order to feed the baby effectively. If the mother’s diet is poor the body’s own stores of nutrients will replace what is lacking in the milk – for as long as the stores allow it.

However, for mother’s and baby’s sake it is important to eat healthily. A broad dietary variety is also beneficial in that babies experience different taste and smell of breast milk. It helps develop the taste buds and may also help to create the foundation for cultural preference in cuisine. This explains why a baby nursed on a bland diet may push away a bowl of curried food for instance. Studies have shown that mother’s preference in food during pregnancy and breast feeding does affect the baby’s palate in the same way.

On the other hand, a number of mothers have confirmed that there may also be some foods with an adverse effect on baby’s health. They find that their babies get gassy after eating cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, onions or cauliflower. This view has not been scientifically proven. In addition, some babies may even show allergic reactions to the mother’s diet, most commonly dairy products. There may also be more accounts of reactions; so every breast feeding mother has to find out what her baby can swallow easily and what not. It takes between 2 and 6 hours from the time a certain food was eaten until it affects the taste and odour of the milk. Thus, if baby shows signs of discomfort while digesting the milk it is worth eliminating the suspected food for a few days and to observe whether it makes any difference in the baby’s symptoms.

What foods best to avoid

Nursing mothers should limit their alcoholic intake as much as possible. Ideally, they should drink no alcohol at all because it can be detected in the milk, though considerably less than what was drunk.

Caffeine in coffee and theine in tea should be kept to no more than a cup or two a day. If you drink too much it may affect your baby too. It should be noted that caffeine can not be passed through their bodies as efficiently as adults can and it may actually build up in their systems. It is worth considering caffeine-free alternatives while breastfeeding.

If a history of food allergies is known in the family, peanuts are best avoided. The consumption of peanuts has shown to leave traces of allergens in the breast milk and can add to baby’s risk of developing allergies in later life.

Try to avoid processed foods that show long lists of additives. So-called e-numbers do affect the mother’s and the baby’s health and should be avoided at all times. However, some e-numbers have natural origins and are allowed (visit The Soil Association for more information)

It is important to keep the amount of fish to no more than 340g (12oz) per week in order to minimize the exposure to mercury. In addition, the FSA advises to limit canned tuna to 280g (drained) and fresh tuna to 170g per week.

Lastly, sweetener known as saccharin should be consumed very carefully because long-term effects are yet unknown. The better option is sucralose (Splenda) which offers a safe calorie-free sugar substitute.

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