Is It Safe To Eat Nuts During Breastfeeding?

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Do you love munching nuts to satiate your hunger pangs in a healthy way while nursing your little one? Are you worried that nuts are potential allergens and may harm your breastfeeding infant? Well, if you can relate to any of the above situations reading this post is a good idea!

You need to consume a healthy diet while breastfeeding, as your breast milk is the only source of sustenance for your fragile newborn. Eating nuts while breastfeeding might be a good idea, as nuts are a rich source of vitamins and antioxidants. Can I eat nuts while breastfeeding? – that would be your big question. Read on to know more!

In This Article

What Are Nuts?

A nut is a fruit that has a hard shell and a delicious seed inside. The seed is rich in essential nutrients, and you can consume it raw. There are many nuts available in the market, such as hazelnuts and chestnuts. Walnut and pistachios enjoy huge popularity as nuts though they may not fit the exact botanical definition.

What Are The Benefits Of Eating Nuts While Breastfeeding?

Nuts can work wonders for your heart

Image: Shutterstock

Nuts are a rich source of unsaturated fat, Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin E, fiber, Plant Sterols, and L-arginine. All these nutrients are beneficial for heart health. Intake of nuts can lower the LDL (bad cholesterol) level in your blood. It can work wonders for your heart in the following ways (1):

  • Prevents thickening of blood and thereby reduces the risk of heart attack.
  • Helps to keep the lining of arteries (blood vessels) free from plaque that causes chest pain and heart attacks.
  • L-arginine present in nuts helps make the walls of arteries flexible and prevents clots and blockage.
  • Fiber present in nuts helps in regulating bowel movements, lowering your cholesterol and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Nuts are rich in antioxidants, which help eliminate free radicals from the body and protect it from oxidative stress.
  • Nuts are rich in Vitamin E and, therefore, help in nourishing and moisturizing your skin and hair.

protip_icon Nutrition fact
Brazil nuts have high levels of selenium that support thyroid function and the immune system (8).

Can I Eat Nuts While Breastfeeding?

Include nuts in diet during breastfeeding

Image: Shutterstock

USDA recommends that a dietary plan for a breastfeeding mother should be balanced and wholesome. It advises lactating mothers to include vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, protein food and fluids in their diet. You can go ahead and include nuts, as they are a rich source of proteins, dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins; besides providing ample nutrition, they can also help you sustain energy throughout the day.

According to popular belief, if a pregnant woman or a nursing mother includes nuts and peanuts in her diet, it could lower her baby’s chances of food allergy. A research study analyzed the diets of 8205 mothers before, during pregnancy, and after childbirth. It supported the hypothesis that early exposure to the allergen could significantly increase tolerance and, therefore, could reduce the risk of food allergies in kids. However, it concluded that further research was necessary to validate the study findings.

However, if you, your spouse, or a family member have a history of nut allergies, it’s best to avoid eating nuts.

Aranda, a mother to a four-year-old boy, Cyrus, shares how she enjoyed eating walnuts during breastfeeding, “I ate walnuts daily throughout my pregnancy as I knew they were good for my baby’s brain and eye development. So, I continued to eat them after Cyrus arrived to help maintain my milk supply. It’s fair to say they are one of the best foods for all-day energy! ().’’

How To Know If A Baby Is Allergic To Nuts?

Skin rashes in baby is a symptom of nuts allergy

Image: IStock

A breastfed baby may develop a food allergy after the mother consumes certain food or drinks like cow’s milk, soy, eggs, seafood, wheat, nuts, eggs, and peanuts. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), two or three out of every one hundred exclusively breastfed babies demonstrate an allergic reaction. In most cases, the reaction is to the cow’s milk in the mother’s diet.

The common symptoms of food allergy in babies are:

If you see any of the above signs, consult your pediatrician immediately. If your baby is having trouble breathing, take them to the nearest emergency room.

If you suspect your baby might have a food allergy, it’s a good idea to note down your daily diet and watch out for food allergies in your baby. It will help you identify the food that proves to be an allergen for your infant and avoid its consumption while nursing him.

protip_icon Expert says
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious disease suggests that infants with severe eczema or an egg allergy are at high risk for peanut allergy. These children must be screened for peanut allergies before introducing peanut products (9).
Seek immediate medical care for alllergies

Image: IStock

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do nuts cause gas in breastfed babies?

Nuts may not cause gas in your baby if you consume them while breastfeeding. However, they may trigger allergies in them. Therefore, it is better to avoid nuts while breastfeeding if you have a genetic predisposition to allergies (2) (3).

2. Does eating nuts boost breast milk?

Yes. Nuts are one of the foods that improve milk production in women during lactation and breastfeeding (4).

3. Can I eat cashews while breastfeeding?

The American Academy of Pediatrics research shows that you can consume tree nuts during breastfeeding (5). Since cashew is a tree nut, you can have it while breastfeeding (6). However, if you or your baby are allergic to tree nuts, it is better to avoid cashews.

4. Which nuts are best to eat while breastfeeding?

You can consume almonds and walnuts during breastfeeding. Most nuts are safe to consume as they have high protein, low saturated fats, and zero cholesterol (7). Consult your doctor before consuming any nuts to confirm you or your baby are allergic to them.

It is suggested that nursing mothers consume a nutritious and balanced maternal diet to support proper nutrition for their baby. Nuts are a great source of vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and other nutrients. They also protect the heart by reducing the risk of heart attacks, preventing plaque formation in the blood vessels, and removing free radicals from the body. Including nuts is beneficial for them and may reduce the chances of food allergy in babies. However, if you, your partner, or your family members have nut allergies, it is best to avoid eating them. Regularly check for food allergies in your baby, keeping an eye on symptoms such as stomach ache, breathing issues, or rashes. Consult a doctor if you notice any worrying signs.

Infographic: Symptoms Of Nut Allergy In Breastfed Infants

Nuts are incredibly delicious and a source of many healthy fats. However, they can also cause allergies in babies. So, it is essential you know the symptoms of it in your breastfed infant. The infographic below presents some of these signs of nut allergy in babies. Check out!

signs of nut allergy in breastfed babies (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

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Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • Nuts lower bad cholesterol levels and promote heart health.
  • Nuts improve bowel movements, lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and protect from oxidative stress.
  • Early exposure to nuts may reduce the risk of food allergies in children.
  • Breastfed babies with food allergies may experience symptoms like hard stools, stomach aches, skin rashes, and breathing problems.

Exclusive breastfeeding has been linked to a reduced risk of nut allergies in babies. Learn more in this video.

Personal Experience: Source

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. 5 Health Benefits of Nuts.
    https://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/vegan-health/5-health-benefits-of-nuts/
  2. Breastfeeding FAQs: Your Eating and Drinking Habits.
    https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/breastfeed-eating.html
  3. Infant Allergies and Food Sensitivities.
    https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/breastfeeding/Pages/Infant-Allergies-and-Food-Sensitivities.aspx
  4. 5 best and worst foods for breast milk supply.
    https://www.lebonheur.org/blogs/practical-parenting/5-best-and-worst-foods-for-breast-milk-supply
  5. Nutrition for Mom and Baby.
    https://www.mainlinehealth.org/specialties/lactation-and-breastfeeding/nutrition-for-mom-and-baby
  6. Everything You Need to Know about Tree Nut Allergy.
    https://www.aaaai.org/tools-for-the-public/conditions-library/allergies/everything-you-need-to-know-about-tree-nut-allergy
  7. Foods to Eat While Breastfeeding.
    https://health.clevelandclinic.org/breastfeeding-diet/
  8. Enjoy the Health Benefits of Eating Nuts & Seeds.
    https://www.samhealth.org/about-samaritan/news-search/2020/12/07/are-nuts-and-seeds-good-for-you
  9. Peanut Allergy.
    https://llli.org/peanut-allergy-2/
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