Is your diet secreting working against your breast milk supply? These foods have been known to lower milk supply in unsuspecting moms.
You work so hard to ensure that you can produce enough milk to satisfy your baby, and it’s disheartening to think about sabotaging those efforts just by eating. Whether you’re suffering from low milk supply or you’re just thinking proactively, awareness of foods that may dry up your milk supply is essential.
We’ll introduce you to foods known to negatively impact breast milk supply for many women, but you may want to keep a food log if your milk supply is in decline. This will help you identify foods that are potentially working against your breastfeeding efforts. It’s also important to check for other potential causes, including a closer look at any medications or supplements that you take.
Sneaky Things that Can Lower Milk Supply:
If there is one food that has a bad reputation with breastfeeding mothers, this is likely it. There have been numerous blog posts dedicated to the dangers of consuming any type of peppermint while breastfeeding, but there is little research to back up that claim.
In fact, one study found that peppermint water is beneficial for keeping the nipples healthy and free of painful cracks. This makes it seem like peppermint is actually good for your breasts while breastfeeding, but the study didn’t collect data regarding the strength of milk supply for participants. This is the shortcoming in all research presently available for peppermint and breastfeeding. Further research is needed to determine whether peppermint is a serious risk to your milk supply.
So, why are we discussing peppermint here? We’re still mentioning it because many women do believe that peppermint, including peppermint essential oil, has negatively impacted their milk supplies. When the Tisserand Institute did an unscientific poll through social media, they received more than 200 responses. 30% of their responders believed that peppermint oil had interfered with their milk supply.
While that is less than half of all participants, the results of that poll reflect what you will read all over the internet. For some women, peppermint is a no-no while breastfeeding due to lower milk supply!
Parsley is much like peppermint in that it’s widely believed to dry up milk supply but there is no scientific evidence to prove it. Many women use warm compresses laced with parsley to relieve breast engorgement, and you can take capsules filled with parsley to reduce your flow and lower breast milk supply when breastfeeding is no longer desirable. The simple fact that many women use parsley to dry up their milk speaks to the importance of avoiding this herb if you want to continue breastfeeding.
Does this mean that you can’t eat a meal that may contain parsley? Not necessarily. Drying up breast milk requires a higher dose of parsley consumed just for that purpose. If you happen to season your food with parsley occasionally, you’re not likely to consume enough to negatively impact your milk supply.
If you use parsley oil for aromatherapy or other purposes, you may want to discontinue use until your milk supply is no longer a concern. Safe is better than sorry, especially if you’re already struggling to keep your milk supply strong.
You may use fresh sage in the kitchen with a little marjoram and rosemary, but you don’t want to do so while breastfeeding. Sage tea is often used to dry up breast milk, and some people take dried sage two or three times a day until their milk production starts to decrease.
It’s true that there is no scientific evidence that consuming sage will dry up your milk supply, but there is some power in the fact that thousands of women have used this herb to transition away from breastfeeding. A little added to your food occasionally probably won’t hurt, but this is one food that you don’t want to include in your meal plan too often while breastfeeding.
Some women are afraid to eat cabbage because they know that it’s used to relieve engorgement, but this is unnecessary. It’s true that applying cabbage leaves directly to engorged breasts will help them soften and feel a bit more comfortable. There is no scientific evidence that this works, but the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming.
Since this only works with direct contact to the breasts, eating cabbage isn’t believed to interfere with milk production. This is one food that you can safely keep in your diet while breastfeeding.
Maybe you don’t consider alcohol a food, but it is a beverage that many adults consume along with their meals or for relaxation and fun. In some cultures, alcohol was traditionally recommended for women during pregnancy and breastfeeding. We now know that there is a high risk of passing alcohol to your baby through your breast milk, and some research is showing that alcohol can slow milk production as well.
Related Article > The Truth About Breastfeeding and Alcohol
A single glass of wine may not dramatically lower milk supply, but it’s generally a good idea to stop consuming a lot of alcohol so that you don’t pass it along to the baby. If you do enjoy a night out or just want to relax with a bottle of wine, pump and store breast milk in advance and then wait at least 12 hours before you breastfeed or pump again. The stored, alcohol-free milk will give you some time to enjoy an adult beverage or two, but keep the possibility of slower milk production in mind.
While you’re watching out for foods that may sabotage your breastfeeding efforts, keep in mind that there are also some foods that may boost your milk supply. If you select the right foods, you can create a personalized breastfeeding diet that keeps you and your little one satisfied.
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