Is It Safe To Eat Spicy Food While Breastfeeding?

Spicy Food While Breastfeeding

Image: Shutterstock


Think spicy food. And if your mouth begins to water in expectation then you are one among numerous women who love to spice up their food. When you were pregnant you may have reduced its intake fearing any trouble in your tummy. Post-pregnancy, you would want to go back to your regular diet. But if you are asking, “Can I eat spicy food while breastfeeding”, then read on to know about its safety.

Momjunction also tells you if your baby can taste spiciness in breast milk, and how you can know if the little one is sensitive to spicy food.

Is It Ok To Eat Spicy Food While Breastfeeding?

Yes, it is safe. Though a tiny fraction may pass into the breastmilk, it will not affect the baby in anyway. In many cultures, mothers are used to eating spicy food and don’t make a drastic change to their diet while breastfeeding. There is no evidence that their babies are gassy, fussy or irritable.

The best that you can do is to stick to a varied and healthy diet, avoiding foods that tend to make you feel uncomfortable (1).

According to psychologist Lucy Cooke who is specialized in children’s nutrition, “Breastfed babies are generally easier to feed later because they’ve had this kind of variety experience of different flavors from their very first stages of life, whereas a formula-fed baby has a uniform experience.”

[ Read : Foods To Avoid While Breastfeeding ]

Does Spicy Food Affect Breast Milk?

Unlike formula milk, breast milk alters its taste based on the food you take. For instance, if you eat garlic based foods, the breast milk may have similar taste and your little one would like it too. Your baby may have more feeding spells if the flavor of the milk changes.

Experts even consider it as a wise way to introduce the tastes of solid foods to your baby (2). International Board Certified Lactation consultant Emma Pickett says, “You’re helping your baby to develop their sense of taste in preparation for the starting of solids. But basically, the sweetness of the natural sugars in the milk will dominate the flavor.”

[ Read : When To Introduce Solid Foods To Your Baby ]

A study conducted in the early 1990s by researchers Julie Mennella and Gary Beauchamp revealed that nursing babies of mothers who consumed garlic showed longer feeding spells, sucked harder, and drank more garlic-scented milk than babies of mothers who were not exposed to garlic (3).

Another study published in 2001 indicated that the babies exposed to flavors when they are in the uterus or while breastfeeding may like the same flavors when they grow (4).

However, if you find your baby upset or irritable, or you feel a heartburn then try taking a milder diet for some time. Give the baby a little more time to accept it. To check if your little one loves spicy flavored milk, go by a trial-and-error method.

How To Identify If Your Baby Is Sensitive To Spicy Food?

You can figure out if your baby is sensitive to spicy food when breastfeeding by observing his reaction.

He may:

  • turn fussy after feeding
  • sleep little
  • cry for a long time
  • seem uncomfortable
  • wake up abruptly

Other signs which indicate any reaction in your baby are:

  • wheezing
  • skin reaction
  • mucus or green stools
  • congestion

[ Read : How To Treat Nasal Congestion In Infants ]

However, these signs may not necessarily signal a response to spicy food, as they could be an indication of allergy to some other foods such as wheat, dairy, citrus or corn in your diet.

If you ate spicy food while nursing and observed any such symptoms, refrain from eating such food for a week and reintroduce later to observe the baby’s behavior. Some babies may turn fussy if the mother eats a significant amount of spicy food so have it in moderate amount. If needed, schedule an appointment with your doctor for assistance.

What was your favorite spicy food during breastfeeding? Did spices like chili pepper made your baby sensitive? Let us know in the comments section.

Recommended Articles:

Was this information helpful?

FaceBook Pinterest Twitter Featured Image