Breastfeeding and the Mother’s Diet: Facts and Myths

There is a lot of contradictory information regarding what they should and shouldn’t take in while breastfeeding. These guidelines can differ based on the culture and traditions as well as individual preferences and finances.

In certain cultures, a particular food could be considered to be beneficial to the mother who is breastfeeding, however, in other cultures mothers could be advised against the identical food. For example, spicy food is considered harmful to babies in some cultures, however, in other societies, spices are an integral part of daily food.

Here are some truths and myths about the diet of a woman and nursing.

The composition of breastmilk

Myth The breastmilk is produced directly from the food a person consumes

  • Breastmilk is created by the breasts directly from the blood of a mother. It’s not made from food that she eats.
  • If food, drink, or medication is consumed and consumed, the substances are broken into smaller pieces through the digestive tract, and molecules-sized components that make up the drug are taken into the blood. Once these molecules reach the capillaries that are located near the breast, they pass through the cells of the alveoli before settling into the milk. This is referred to as diffusion.
  • Diffusion is the process by which the effects of drugs as well as other substances get into the milk. There are many factors that determine how much or in what amount an ingredient will be able to enter the milk.
  • This process permits positive things, such as antibodies to enter the colostrum and mature milk. This is why breastmilk changes as time pass in accordance with the mother’s environment. This is among the key benefits of breastfeeding for health.

Myth: If a woman is on an unhealthy diet, and her milk is not of high quality, it won’t be adequate.

  • The breastmilk that we drink is a living thing that develops with the needs of infants with each feed. It is packed with essential nutrients, immune-building stem cells and cells, nutrients for gut health as well as other health factors that are impossible to replicate. They don’t change according to the diet of an individual. The people who suffer from famine continue to produce milk that provides adequate nutrition for their children.
  • The kind of fats in the mother’s diet is closely connected to the fat type in the milk her mother makes, even though the calorific content of human milk is pretty constant.
  • The ability to breastfeed in a timely manner helps ensure that babies get all the nutrients they require to develop and stay healthy.
  • The care and feeding of babies within your body can take up lots of energy during times. A diet rich in nutrients and energy-boosting food items frequently as you can help you improve your well-being and energy reserves. Requesting your family and friends to feed you frequently in the first months and weeks could be a huge help to both you and your child.

The truth: Certain foods can alter the taste of breast milk.

  • Foods with strong flavors including chili, garlic, or even soy sauce, can alter the flavor of breastmilk. It’s possible to help babies adjust to the food of the family before getting started on the solids.
  • Babies are already beginning to adjust to these flavors as they grow when they swallow amniotic fluid.
  • Children develop their parents’ eating habits and preferences slowly.

InformationBreastmilk is a shield against toxic substances

  • While a healthy diet can be described as diverse natural, balanced, and balanced (i.e. produced in environments that remove or reduce pesticides, insecticides, as well as chemical fertilizers) The breastmilk has high levels of antioxidants that could assist in compensating for any post-natal or prenatal exposure to harmful chemicals in the environment. Breastmilk may counteract the neurotoxic adverse effects of pollutants that were transferred prior to birth, and can also counteract any present in the milk.
  • Studies have shown that dairy produced by women who are vegetarians has lower concentrations of environmental contaminants like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These compounds are stored in the fat tissues of the body and diets that are vegetarian tend to be lower in fats than diets that contain greater amounts of animals product.
  • It is recommended that any breastfeeding mother, or not, stay clear of fish that could contain mercury. This includes predatory fish like sharks and swordfish as well as freshwater fish that are which have been deemed to be polluted by local health authorities.

The diet of the mother

MythYou must eat specific foods in order to breastfeed

HTML0A breastfeeding mother doesn’t need special food items to make milk or to increase the amount of milk she produces. The amount of milk produced can be measured by the quantity of milk that is removed from the breast.

  • If there’s no physical or physiological cause for low production of milk the mother who breastfeeds when she wants to will produce enough milk for her child regardless of what she is eating
  • There isn’t a specific food that should be consumed, especially in the case of something mom isn’t experienced with or dislikes. The nutrients present in one food are present in other foods and a mother will still obtain the nutrition she requires. For instance, omega-fatty acids are obtained from soybean or algal oil and walnuts, chia flax, and hemp seeds instead of fish.

Myth: You must drink milk to produce milk

  • We, humans, are the one and only animals who consume the milk that is produced by animals.
  • There are no other mammalian mothers who drink milk, yet all make milk that is perfectly designed to meet the requirements of their infants.
  • Milk is often regarded as a calcium-rich food however there are many other readily available foods like peppers, broccoli, and spinach, which have higher amounts of calcium, along with other nutrients.
  • In certain cultures, there are cultures where people do not consume dairy products Yet mothers are successful in feeding their children.

The myth: Myth of HTML0:If you’re vegan you will not be able to breastfeed.

  • The idea about the “ideal” diet may differ between different families, cultures as well as economic circumstances, religions, and even various seasons. But, in the majority of cases across the globe even in the middle where there is a lack of food, mothers produce milk to help their children improve their growth.
  • Vegan diets are often lacking in Vitamin B12, and It’s essential to know how you can maintain the vitamin B12 levels in check.  Refer to the Vitamins as well as Minerals for recommendations on how to get enough.

Information The mother who is breastfeeding might feel thirsty and hungry more frequently

  • The act of breastfeeding can force us to consume more calories than normal and can make us feel thirsty and hungry.
  • The amount of extra calories we’ll need is dependent on the amount of breastmilk we’re producing (influenced by the baby’s age and whether breastfeeding is exclusive) as well as the percent of fat in our body (including the amount of body fat we’ve laid during the first trimester) and body size and how active.
  • The metabolic rate of a woman is increased when she is lactating and a slight increase in the intake of grains, vegetables, and fruits could suffice.
  • The weight gain during pregnancy can be slowly lost over the duration of nursing.
  • A lot of mothers are thirsty while breastfeeding, particularly when their baby is still a newborn. It is a good idea to keep a glass of water on hand during nursing, but it’s certainly not essential for you to consume more water than you are at ease with, since it will not boost milk production and can be unpleasant.
  • Many women prefer drinking herbal infusions or teas to boost the amount of liquid consumed. However, too much of herbal teas, as well as infusions, could result in the depletion of milk supply, and therefore must be utilized in moderation and with care.


Myth Certain foods are always to be kept away from

  • There aren’t any specific foods that you must avoid due to the fact that you’re nursing.
  • If parents have allergies, this could increase the likelihood of their child developing an allergy of the same type. The allergic reactions to certain substances present in the milk of mothers can show up as respiratory, skin, and intestinal issues (or an amalgamation of any or all of the above) in a child.
  • If a baby exhibits an immediate reaction whenever a mom eats one particular food item and decides to cut that food out of her diet. The keeping of a food journal can reveal if there is a pattern of anxious behavior that is evident each time a certain food item is consumed.
  • Although mothers can be advised to avoid foods with high risk during the entirety or a portion of their pregnancy and to stay clear of these foods throughout lactation, studies show that this doesn’t reduce the risk of developing allergies at the age of two but it does slow the development of allergies. Recent research suggests that avoiding foods with high risk like peanuts might not be required.
  • A normal amount of caution is required in the event of drinking unpasteurized raw juices. If a mother was to get food poisoning due to unclean ingredients, it will not spread to her infant through breastmilk. It could, however, be transmitted via contamination through contact.

The factAllergies to breastmilk in infants are typically due to the substances that enter breastmilk, instead of breastmilk itself.

  • Breastmilk contains substances that coat the intestines of your baby. They stop tiny food particles from “leaking” into the bloodstream of your baby.
  • When food particles get in the blood (something which is more common in infants fed formula) These food particles could be viewed in a foreign way by the white blood cells that attack them and trigger uncomfortable allergic reactions.
  • The three most prominent food antigens include cow’s milk protein (mostly beta-lactoglobulin as a component) and soybean protein and egg white. Other antigens are commonly found in fish and peanuts, in particular cod.

Fact: The diet of a mother doesn’t affect any lactose content present in her milk.

  • The lactose content found in the milk of a mother has nothing to related to her diet. the body makes lactose only for her infant.
  • In the case of lactose intolerance, the body does not produce enough lactase enzyme that is required for the digestion of lactose, the primary carbohydrate in milk. In the majority of cases, lactose intolerance is not an issue for infants. They have the capacity to produce plenty of lactase as they rely on milk from their mother to get their nutrition during the beginning of their lives and the lactose found in mother’s milk is essential to help develop the brain.
  • A few infants suffer from galactosemia, a rare genetic condition that can be found at birth and can affect the ability of a person to process galactose, a sugar, properly and, consequently, requires urgent medical attention.

The factLactose levels in infants can be mistakenly interpreted as colic or an allergy.

  • The high levels of lactose could cause digestive problems for babies. This could be due to infants consuming huge amounts of breastmilk or mothers being oversupplied.
  • In the absence of enough lactase in the body to break down all lactose, excessive lactose can cause discomfort and gassiness, as well as typically, watery, or foamy stool, often with little blood.

Vitamins and Minerals

MythThere isn’t sufficient iron content in breastfeeding milk.

  • The iron present in human milk is much more easily taken up by your infant than iron found in the milk of cows or formulas with iron fortification. This means the amount of iron present in human milk is ideal for your baby, even though it is being smaller than that found in cow’s milk.
  • Similar to calcium, levels of the mineral found in human milk are stable regardless of the diet of the mother or the amount of body fat stored by the mother.
  • A healthy, full-term baby typically does not require iron supplements until around the mid-point of his first year, which is around the time when he begins taking solids.
  • Certain proteins and vitamins are better absorbed if additional minerals and vitamins are in the diet simultaneously. For instance, iron can be better utilized if vitamin C is within the food chain.
  • The high lactose levels and vitamin C levels found in human milk help in the absorption of iron and infants who are breastfed don’t lose iron through their bowels.

The truth The importance of B 12 and calcium are essential vitamins. B 12, as well as calcium, are essential to a healthy diet

  • Vitamin B12 and calcium are crucial to a healthy diet. Some people, like vegetarians and vegans, take supplements for the intake of vitamin B12.
  • One study showed that vegetarian mothers were more likely to consume less calcium than their counterparts however this did not impact the calcium levels in milk.
  • If a mother does not eat dairy products it is possible to get calcium from other sources, like the bok Choy (a kind of cabbage) as well as sesame seeds calcium-rich tofu, tamari sauce, fresh greens, whole grains, nuts, as well as a dried fruit. For instance, one cup (227 grams) of cooked bok choy contains an 86 percent portion of the calcium that is contained in one cup (240 milliliters) of milk. Half one cup (113 grams) of sesame seeds ground are a great addition to cakes pancake batter or sprinkled on cereals, salads, or salads – provide twice the amount of calcium as one cup (240 milliliters) of milk.
  • Other calcium-rich foods include molasses from blackstrap as well as calcium-rich tofu, collards, broccoli, spinach, and turnip-like greens as well as kale, almonds along with Brazil nuts. Certain types of algae (sea vegetables ) such as the wakame) fermented food items (miso) as well as seasonings like tamari, and soy sauce may also aid in enriching diets with calcium along with other minerals that are particularly essential to breastfeeding mothers.

Fact Iodine and Selenium are essential minerals.

  • Selenium and iodine are essential minerals. Food sources that are rich in iodine include seaweed, kelp seafood, shellfish, and gray Celtic sea salt. Iodine is also present in plant food items, like cereals and grains. However, the amounts vary based on the amount of iodine present in the soil in which plants are growing.
  • The most effective food source of selenium is Brazil nuts. It is present in other animal and plant food items, such as other cereals, nuts seafood, meat, as well as eggs.

The fact is: Vitamin D deficiency (rickets) results from insufficient exposure to sunlight not due to human milk deficiency.

  • Vitamin D differs from the other vitamins we consume because it is a hormone created by the kidneys. Vitamin D regulates the blood calcium level and influences the immune system. It is created by the body after sunlight strikes the skin.
  • Breastmilk does not naturally contain significant amounts of Vitamin D since previously, babies would take the bulk part of their Vitamin D through direct sunlight.
  • Modifications in how we live our lives that are accompanied by less exposure to the sun, along with our diets that don’t have enough Vitamin D could result in mothers not having enough vitamin D in their body to pass on to their children through breastmilk.
  • Human bodies were designed to create huge quantities of vitamin D from exposure to sunlight (10,000-20,000 IU over the course of 24 hours after 15 minutes of sun exposure with a swimming suit, or 45-60 minutes of sun exposure to those who have darker skin tones). But, for both children and adults seeking to avoid sunburn and overexposure has hampered our capacity to absorb sufficient amounts of sunlight to maintain our vitamin D levels in a good place.

The truth is that some women require more Vitamin D

  • Breastfeeding mothers with adequate amounts of vitamin D within their bodies are able to provide sufficient vitamin D for their children who are nursing through breast milk. However, the changes in their lifestyles have resulted in some women not being able to get enough vitamin D.
  • It is highly recommended that nursing and pregnant mothers take a vitamin D supplement if needed. Women who aren’t sure of their vitamin D levels must undergo a blood test prior to taking a decision to take supplements.
  • The best way to obtain Vitamin D is through sunlight and the NHS states: “Between late March/early April until at the close of September the majority of people can obtain their vitamin D require by exposing their skin to sunlight as well as a balanced diet. You can choose to not use any vitamin D supplements during this time.”
  • The Vitamin D Council states that women who take a supplement of 6 000 IU of vitamin D per day should not need to provide their infant a vitamin D supplement because breastmilk is a source of sufficient vitamin D. But, women who don’t take a supplement or taking less than 5,000IU of vitamin D and don’t receive adequate sunlight exposure should consider giving your child a Vitamin D supplements.
  • If a child is born with a deficit of Vitamin D, due to the mother’s lack of levels, this can’t be reversed by using supplements.
  • Research has shown that children can accumulate a month’s worth of vitamin D if they only get the smallest amount of sunlight in summer.


Myth The food that will make gassy mommy can make her child gassy

  • Sometimes, mothers find that eating foods such as cabbage and broccoli cause them to be gassy. The gas that a mother’s digestive tract can’t get into her bloodstream, and then eventually into breastmilk for the infant to consume.
  • When food is digested the proteins enter the bloodstream and get into the milk of the mother. Some infants may be sensitive to a specific protein and may react with the sensation of gas or fussiness.
  • Many families allow breastfeeding mothers are able to eat whatever they want and feel sure that the majority of their babies don’t have issues with protein-rich foods.
  • For many gassy and fussy infants, the gassiness or the agitation could be due to other causes, but they aren’t necessarily related to what the mom has consumed.


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