Myths and facts: what you should and shouldn’t eat when you’re breastfeeding

There are a lot of myths and facts about what you should and shouldn’t eat when you’re breastfeeding. In this blog post, we list some of the most common myths and facts surrounding eating when breastfeeding. This will help you and other (expecting) mothers to make conscious food choices during the breastfeeding period.

Facts

Fact: the food that the mother eats hardly affects the quality of breastmilk.
Mother’s milk is always complete, meaning that it always contains all the necessary ingredients. It is not possible for breastmilk to lack certain ingredients. Contrary to what is often claimed, what you eat hardly affects the quality of your milk. Food can, however, slightly influence the flavor of the milk.

Fact: what you eat affects the flavor of mother’s milk.
True! Certain foods can influence the flavor of your breastmilk, but this is a good thing! By eating a variety of foods, your baby will get accustomed to different flavors.

Fact: during the breastfeeding period, a mother can eat anything.
During your pregnancy, it is better not to eat products like red meat and unpasteurized cheese. However, during your breastfeeding period, there aren’t any forbidden food products. Our only advice is to use your common sense and to eat a variety of foods. Make sure you eat enough fruit and vegetables and a good amount of fats. It is not necessary to take extra vitamins as long as you follow a varied diet. If you don’t eat animal products, it is advisable to take extra vitamin B12. If you’re breastfeeding a lot, you might also feel particularly thirsty, so it is recommended that you drink a glass of water while breastfeeding.

Fact: warm dishes containing alcohol are safe to eat.
Warm dishes, like mussels, stews or pasta, in which beer or wine has been used during the preparation are perfectly safe to eat. In these warm dishes, the alcohol has already evaporated.

Child breastfeeding mother

Myths

Myth: when breastfeeding, you need to eat for two.
A breastfeeding mother needs about 200 to 500 extra kilocalories a day. So, eating for two isn’t necessary. Just eat as you please and it will be sufficient.

Myth: if the mother eats certain foods, this can cause cramps for the baby.
It has never been scientifically proven that a baby can get cramps from certain foods that the mother eats. So, there is no reason to eat or not eat anything in particular. Even spicy food is fine to eat as long as the mother can tolerate it.

Myth: you shouldn’t drink (too much) coffee during the breastfeeding period.
You can drink coffee and similar drinks when you’re breastfeeding. Less than 750 ml usually doesn’t cause problems for the mother or baby.

Myth: you’re not allowed to drink alcohol when you’re breastfeeding.
For each glass of alcohol, it takes about two to three hours for the alcohol to leave your bloodstream. Breastmilk is made from your blood; this means that after drinking one glass of alcohol, you need to wait two to three hours before you can breastfeed your baby. The waiting time doubles if you drink two glasses of alcohol. Tip: If you want to drink a glass of alcohol, feed your baby just before that time. By the time your baby wants to drink again, the alcohol will have disappeared from your breastmilk. Of course, you can also keep a supply of expressed breast milk. This way, if your baby wants to be fed earlier or more, the milk is readily available.