After nine months of battling against your taste buds and trying to maintain a healthy health, Is it fair to put restrictions on the type of foods you consume during breastfeeding phase and maintain a perfect diet for lactating mother? If you are a mother, your answer would most certainly be no. But no matter what the mother feels, there are a few foods which are best not included in lactation foods considering the way it affects the baby. But if you are wondering to which category spicy foods belong to and asking yourself “Can I eat spicy foods while breastfeeding?” This article is definitely for you. Read on to know more.
Table of Contents
What Does Spiciness Of Foods Mean?
The spiciness of a food is not actually a taste. It is just a term used to describe how food tastes. Our tongue is made up of taste buds which could realize bitter, salty, sweet, umami and sour. But tongue doesn’t have the superpower to taste the spiciness. However, the tongue could sense hot, cold and pain. And spiciness of a food is just a perfect combination of hot and painful.
The spicy food contains a molecule called capsaicin. These molecules bind to the tongue receptors which could sense temperature changes and pain. These receptors signal the brain about the sense of pain. The brain responds and reciprocates by sending signals to numb the tongue. The numbing of the tongue is a temporary action and doesn’t cause any permanent damage to your taste buds or tongue.
Ingredients In Spicy Foods
Indian food cooking is a perfect combination for the sense: tantalizing aromas, vibrant colours and of course various flavours such as spicy, sweet and tangy. But what does it need to cook a perfect spicy food which teases your taste buds and make you crave for more? Here are the ingredients that are essential to enhance the taste of spicy foods.
‣ Mustard Seeds
‣ Garam Masala
‣ Spicy red chilli pepper
Can Breastfeeding Moms Eat Spicy Foods?
Of course, it is. Spicy foods are safer than you think. In countries like Thailand, India, China and Mexico hot and spicy foods are consumed every day. Eating spicy foods while breastfeeding are common in such countries and there is no evidence that it could lead to a fussy baby. For sure, including spicy foods in the diet for lactating mother could change the taste of the breast milk. But it won’t create fussiness, irritability and gassiness in your baby.
Is it perfectly okay to eat spicy foods during breastfeeding? The answer is positive. But it is best to include healthy foods as well in the diet for lactating mother and avoid the food which makes you feel uncomfortable.
According to a study, it has been stated that Since breastfed babies have been exposed to different flavours through the breast milk, it is easier to feed varieties of foods in the later stage of life whereas it would be a little difficult for formula-fed baby as the milk they have had is of the same taste.
Can Spicy Foods Affect Breast Milk?
Can spicy foods affect breast milk? Certainly yes! Is it one among the foods to avoid when breastfeeding? The answer is no! Spicy foods have the ability to offer numerous flavour to the breast milk but what makes it amazing is its capability to not cause any harm to your baby (unless you eat spicy foods in excess) and instead tempt your baby to try new flavours once you start weaning. Unlike formula milk, the different tastes or flavours in the breast milk could also make your baby have more feeding spells.
Experts believe consuming spicy foods while nursing is the best way to introduce different tastes of solid foods to your baby. This way, you are helping your child to prepare for the new world of foods and their heartwarming tastes. But no matter how many flavours you imbibe in your breast milk, the sweetness of natural sugars in your breast milk dominates.
Some of your friends and relatives may have advised you to avoid oily, salty and spicy foods such as chaats, aloo tikki, paani puri, jal jeera because these foods are suspected to be the cause of colic in your baby. And on the other hand, you might have been encouraged to eat garlic, cumin, fenugreek seeds, fennel etc as these are believed to increase the breast milk. But as we know, each baby is unique. So, opt for trial and error method. After eating a certain type of spicy foods while breastfeeding, if you are suffering from acidity, heartburn or your baby seems fussy or irritable, opt for less spicy lactation foods.
Effects of Spicy Foods On Baby
If your baby is sensitive to the spicy foods, he or she might show various symptoms indicating the reaction. The following is the list of symptoms:
‣ Fussiness after breastfeeding
‣ Less amount of sleep
‣ Tummy upset
‣ Crying for a long time
‣ Displaying discomfort
‣ Acidity and indigestion
‣ Not having sound sleep - waking up abruptly
‣ Skin reaction
‣ Mucus or green stools
Although these are the common symptoms, it doesn’t necessarily indicate the response to eating spicy foods during breastfeeding. It could also be the symptoms of some allergic reactions to the foods such as wheat, dairy, etc. If you are unsure about the reason for the symptoms your baby is displaying, refrain yourself from eating spicy foods while breastfeeding for a week and observe the baby’s behaviour. This should help you in realizing the cause of the change of your baby behaviour. If you are still in doubt, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with your doctor and have a discussion about the same.
How Long Should You Avoid Spicy Foods While Nursing?
Moderate amount of spicy foods while nursing is good. Particularly post delivery, although you don’t have to change your diet completely and add on all the lactation foods to your diet, spicy foods should be consumed in a reasonable amount. Spicy food effects on the baby are low but it takes time for your baby to adjust to a variety of aromas and tastes of breast milk induced by the spicy foods you have eaten. So, let your baby take his own sweet time and you can gradually increase the consumption of spicy food during the breastfeeding period.
NOTE: Don’t completely avoid spicy foods while breastfeeding since it prepares your baby for future flavours, tastes and smells of foods.
The hot and spicy foods while breastfeeding is never bad. It offers the opportunity for your baby to explore the various tastes and flavours. But ensure you don’t overdo it and make your baby fussy and irritable. If you have any more questions, feel free to contact your doctor straight away.
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