Is it OK to eat spicy food when you're breastfeeding? The answer will shock you

Is it OK to eat spicy food when you're breastfeeding? The answer will shock you

Experts explain how spicy food does not affect your baby at all...

There is a lot of debate and difference of opinions when it comes to what kinds of food pregnant women should eat and what food will benefit and help their child the most. According to experts, women who are breastfeeding should definitely up their spice intake if they want to raise children who are not fussy eaters. 

Most new mothers tend to stay away from spicy food because of a myth which states that eating spicy foods while breastfeeding will cause an excessive amount of gas and fussiness in babies. Doctors who spoke to Daily Mail totally disagree with the existing myth and are of the opinion that strong flavors will not affect babies. 

(Source: Shutterstock)

The doctors had quite a different opinion on the subject of spicy food and breastfeeding. They believe that spicy foods tend to enhance an infants taste buds which makes it a lot easier to feed them and get them used to new foods as they grow up. 

Medical advisor for the Society for Women's Health Research Dr Jennifer Wider told Daily Mail Online that "It's important to remember that breast milk is not formulated directly from the digestive tract, it is formulated from the mother's blood. So if [a nursing mom] eats cruciferous vegetables, for example, the nutrients will be pulled into the breast milk but the gassy component may not affect the baby." 

Wider believes that there is no strong evidence which links spicy food to having a negative effect on your child. She also says that it is perfectly okay for a breastfeeding mother to eat a peppery/spicy meal and breastfeed the child as if there is any form of gas it will only be in the mother's stomach or intestines. 

(Source: Shutterstock)

However, Wider also added that all babies are different from each other and will react differently to different things. It is important to be aware of all these things when it comes to your child. 

It takes an average time of four to six hours for food become breast milk but factors such as body chemistry and metabolism can cause it to metabolize as soon as one hour or as long as 24 hours. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the food that breastfeeding mothers consume breaks down proteins, fats, carbs, water into small particles which are then absorbed into the bloodstream. 

It then moves into the blood vessels of the mammary gland and then into the breast milk. When a baby is in the uterus, a similar sort of procedure takes place and the food that the expecting mother eats goes into the blood and amniotic fluid which the baby consumes. 

If the mother was already consuming spicy foods before she started nursing, there are high chances the child will already be accustomed to these spicy flavors and tastes. 

The Korean Journal of Pediatrics published some research which stated that spicy foods are normally avoided by pregnant/ breastfeeding mothers who fear that spicy foods can cause gas, diaper rashes, as well as make the child extremely fussy. 

In the year 1991, a study which was shown in the journal Pediatrics observed and monitored nursing mothers who ate garlic. It was found that infants who were attached to the breast for a longer duration of time when the milk had the essence of garlic in it. Garlic may not be spicy food but many experts believe that the same principals can be applied to spicy foods. 

Picture For Representational Purpose Only (Source: Shutterstock)

Another pediatrics study which was published 10 years showed that the babies who were exposed to some specific foods while they were breastfeeding were very likely to enjoy those same flavors later on in life once they started to consume solid foods.

Mothers could be expanding their child's food horizons if they decide to consume a variety of flavors while they were breastfeeding. 

According to Lucy Cooke who is a senior research associate at the University College London told the New York Times, "The absolute key thing is repeated exposure to a variety of different flavors as soon as you can possibly manage; that is a great thing for food acceptance." 

Wider believes that mothers should continue to eat a well balanced and healthy diet without crossing spicy foods off their list. 

These are some of the food myths that are busted. One can choose to eat these foods but in moderation even while they are breastfeeding: 

6) Sushi

(Source: Shutterstock)

Despite the fact that sushi is raw, it is totally fit to be consumed by nursing mothers contrary to the popular belief which says that pregnant/breastfeeding women should avoid eating sushi. As long as the sushi being consumed is fresh and non-smelly, there should not be any problem eating it. Fish which is known to have a high mercury content should be avoided. 

5) Peanut butter

(Source: Shutterstock)

Some people believe that if you consume peanut butter while you are pregnant, it is possible for your child to develop a peanut allergy. According to the March of Dimes, this statement is totally untrue. If one chooses to avoid peanuts while they are nursing that does not reduce the risk of getting a peanut allergy. 

4) Fish 

Avoid mercury-containing fish (Source: Shutterstock) 

Different kinds of fish are known to have a variety of nutrients and do not need to be eliminated entirely. It is advisable to avoid the species which are known to have a high mercury content such as shark, king mackerel, tilefish, as well as swordfish. Do not discard fish entirely as you will miss out on important nutrients and vitamins. 

3) Caffeine

Consume caffeine in moderation (Source: Shutterstock) 

This is another food product that is safe to consume in moderation at the time of pregnancy/ breastfeeding. Minimizing your coffee consumption to about one to two cups of coffee per day is absolutely okay and well within the reasonable amount. Nurse your baby before you consume coffee as the caffeine level is the highest in your body for 30 minutes after consumption. 

2) Broccoli 

Broccoli will not give your baby gas (Source: Shutterstock) 

Just because broccoli has been branded as being a gassy food does not mean that it will give your baby gas. When comparing broccoli to other kinds of food, it is known to cause relatively less gas and hence, it is okay to consume broccoli while a woman is breastfeeding. 

1) Alcohol 

Consumption of alcohol in moderation is okay (Source: Shutterstock) 

This does not have to be off limits completely and the consumption of alcohol in moderation is okay while a woman is breastfeeding. Most doctors will ask the mother to restrict her drinks to one maximum two per sitting and not nurse the baby around the time of drinking. Nurse the baby before you consume any alcohol.

If you have any views or stories that you would like to share with us, drop us an email at