The Breastfeeding Mom’s Christmas Food Guide: What to Eat and What to Avoid

The holidays are almost here and you know what that means–it’s time to feast! Your favorite ham, quezo de bola, tsokolate, and so much more, served in abundance in a gloriously styled spread. Now, you may ask as a first time breastfeeding mom during the holidays, “are there certain types of food that I should resist?” While nursing mommas do need to observe a nutritious and balanced diet, there’s no harm in enjoying a few Christmas treats. To help you keep mindful eating habits in mind, we listed a couple of holiday menu items that are either okay to eat in moderation, totally safe to consume, or should be avoided completely. Keep reading!

The Breastfeeding Mom's Christmas Food Guide: What to Eat and What to Avoid

Enjoy in Moderation

Caffeine
Caffeine is safe to consume in moderate amounts, around 200mg to 300mg (2 to 3 cups) according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Beverages that contain caffeine are green tea, black tea, coffee, and soda. If you notice that your baby becomes irritable or fussy because of caffeine, you may want to avoid it completely. Otherwise, a glass of soda or a cup of coffee wouldn’t hurt!

Alcohol
Holiday parties mean alcoholic drinks along with dinner, and the good news is one or two glasses of wine should be fine. It is better to strictly limit alcohol consumption while you are breastfeeding to avoid traces of it passing through your breastmilk. Here’s a tip: time your alcohol intake at least two hours before a feeding session. Waiting a couple of hours for the alcohol to clear away from your bloodstream is recommended. Another option is to feed first then have your wine after.

Chocolate and Desserts
Chocolate also contains caffeine so it’s best to regulate the amount that you eat especially if you’re drinking coffee and soda as well. Limiting the amount of sugar you consume is also essential in maintaining a balanced diet. As long as you don’t overdo it with the sweets, it should be a-okay to have some cake and tsokolate at your Noche Buena.

Charcuterie
Cold cuts may have been a no-no during pregnancy, but it’s okay while you’re already breastfeeding. Grazing tables might make an appearance at your family’s Christmas table so it’s safe to have a bite of sausage and salami. Do remember that these meats tend to be high in sodium, which is why moderate amounts are still best.

Cheese
Pasteurized cheese is generally safer to eat because you avoid any form of bacteria that can make you sick. It’s also fine for breastfeeding moms to eat soft unpasteurized cheeses like brie or feta in limited quantities. Quezo de bola is also safe to eat because it is usually made from pasteurized milk.

 

Safe to Consume

Grilled Food
There’s no danger in barbecues and steak as long as the meat is thoroughly and properly cooked. Which means there shouldn’t be a trace of pink in sight! During preparations, always keep raw meat away from ingredients that do not need cooking such as vegetables for salads.

Spicy Food
Did you know that babies can find spices quite appealing? There’s no need to be afraid of chilies and pepper, because there is no evidence suggesting adverse affects of spices and spicy food on breastfeeding babies. Babies also get accustomed to the flavors that you eat, so food with garlic and seasoning is safe for you to eat, Mom.

Salmon, Shrimp
Low mercury seafood like salmon and shrimp are much safer choices for nursing moms. Salmon, specifically, is highly recommended because it is rich in nutrients. Just be sure it is properly cooked. A bite of sushi should be okay as long as the raw fish is low mercury and is of high quality.

 

Avoid if Possible
High Mercury Fish
If possible, it’s best to avoid foods with high mercury content like tuna or mackerel because it can pose health risks for you and your baby. There are some studies that say canned tuna is safe to eat, but it would be better to always consult with your doctor first just to be sure.

 

Overall, there’s no harm in indulging a little while being conscious about your eating habits. As we’ve mentioned earlier: moderation is key. You deserve to enjoy your Christmas feast, Mommas!

Sources:
Bonyata, Kelly. Can a nursing mother eat this food?
Waters, Debra. The breastfeeding diet: What to eat and foods to avoid while breastfeeding. 04 May 2021.
Marsh, Lorna. Diet for a healthy breastfeeding Mum. March 2021.
Marsh, Lorna. Is it safe to eat barbecued food during pregnancy.
McGrane, Kelli. 5 Foods to Limit or Avoid While Breastfeeding. 24 April 2020.
Francis, Marra., Silver, Kate. Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding and Ones Not to Worry About. 02 July 2015

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