February 25, 2015

Breastfeeding: Sushi, Cheese, and Wine

So many questions on a woman’s mind after delivering a baby. Why is my baby crying? When will my baby sleep? Is my breastmilk enough? Is my baby getting full? Should I let the baby sleep alone or should I co-sleep? Will my body ever be the same again? A million things probably cross your mind. One thing you shouldn’t worry about is “What can I eat and What should I avoid while breastfeeding?

That’s if you’ve decided to breastfeed which would be the best decision as it has multitude of benefits for the baby and benefits for the mother.

Can I eat sushi while breastfeeding? Can I eat raw food? Can I eat greens outside the house?

Many moms still worry about the foods that they were avoiding during pregnancy. A few things are on the caution list while breastfeeding. Other than that, you are free to celebrate delivering your baby by eating some long-awaited sushi, and munching on any salad you like. What else? Tuna tartar? Medium-well steak? Ham? Soft cheeses? Unpasteurized milk? Meat pate? Frakeh? Yes, yes, and yes. You can even top them off with a glass of wine, or whatever you’ve been missing. Let’s just hope it’s not back to back flaming Lamborghini shots.


Not anymore girlfriend, not anymore.

All the foods that are on the Avoid list during pregnancy list are generally  okay during breastfeeding.

How come these foods are okay now?

What foods and drinks do I have to avoid while breastfeeding?

The following items are not contraindicated, as in you do not have to stop breastfeeding if you consume them. However they are either not recommended or should be used with caution.

can i drink alcohol while breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding and alcohol

After a long day of chaos a martini on ice may be just what a mother needs! And that she may have.

Alcohol in moderation is okay while breastfeeding. I know you don’t wan to hear that. What does moderation mean exactly? Below is a calculator for what is the accepted alcohol range for breastfeeding women based on AAP policy on Breastfeeding. “Ingestion of alcoholic beverages should be minimized and limited to an occasional intake but no more than 0.5 g alcohol per kg body weight”

[calculoid id=1146]

What is one drink? It is definitely not what the bartender pours you as one drink, so unfortunately one long island is not a drink.

Below is a calculator that can tell you exactly how much is one drink of your favorite drink. All you have to do is put the alcohol percentage written usually on the back of the bottle/can. For hard liquor such as whiskey, it will be around 40%. For wine it will range between 11%-15%, and for beers it will be somewhere around 5%. Almaza for example is 4.1%. Go ahead, try it.

[calculoid id=1147]


milk standard drink

This is more or less what 1 drink of each alcoholic beverage should look like. The stronger the drink and higher the alcohol content, the less you can have. As you can see, you can have a lot more beer (in the middle) than a shot of hard liquor such as whiskey. Yes, that’s milk inside. Because as new moms we’re more familiar with milk milliliters than alcohol. You can use a bottle to measure 😀

Nursing should take place 2 hours or longer after the alcohol intake to minimize its concentration in the ingested milk. By that token, if you plan on having double the amount recommended, then you must wait double the time and so on. Pumping and dumping milk will not hasten the process of alcohol elimination from your body and is therefore unnecessary InfantRisk.com.

Does that mean you can go pub hopping in mar mkhayel and have a drink and 3 shots whose names you can’t even pronounce? 

I don’t know, it depends on how much pumped milk you have stored and when you plan on breastfeeding again.

Small note: Alcohol can change the taste of your milk, and this may be objectionable to some babies. Alcohol can also blunt prolactin response to suckling and negatively affects infant motor development (Eidelman, 2012).

can i smoke Cigarettes while breastfeeding?


Smoking is not contraindicated during breastfeeding but it is not recommended

According to AAP policy on Breastfeeding “[m]aternal smoking is not an absolute contraindication to breastfeeding but should be strongly discouraged, because it is associated with an increased incidence in infant respiratory allergy and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).”

The statement adds that smoking may negatively influence milk supply, and can cause poor weight gain for the infant.

It is recommended that smoking does not occur in the presence of the infant so as to minimize the negative effect of secondary passive smoke inhalation. 

Can i have Argili (Shisha, or Hookah)while breastfeeding?


Many mothers will say “I am not smoking cigarettes, I am only smoking argili.” However, the dangers are the same.

Same dangers of cigarette smoking, but possibly even worse. According to UAE Health Expert “[t]he volume of smoke inhaled during a typical hookah session is about 90,000 milliliters (ml), compared with 500-600 ml inhaled when smoking a cigarette”.

Bottom line: Any form of smoking, is not recommended. However if you must, make sure it is not in proximity of your baby as it is sadly the case in some cafe’s in Lebanon.

can i have Coffee while breastfeeding?


The good news is, you can have your coffee!

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, if you drink less than three cups of coffee spread throughout the day, there is little to no caffeine detected in the baby’s urine.

However, if you feel that your infant becomes more fussy or irritable when you consume caffeine consider decreasing your intake. Infants have a harder time breaking down caffeine in the first few weeks, so keep an eye on the baby’s reaction after taking caffeine during the early weeks.
There Is No Use Crying Over Spilled Milk. Spilled Coffee, However, May Get You Stabbed.

Coffee Quotes | Forward this Picture
Unless you’re a breastfeeding mama, then the rule applies both ways!

can i have seafood (fish) while breastfeeding? how about mercury?


Yes, yes, and yes

You can and should eat all the common super yummy fish such as shrimp, salmon, sardine, tuna (not albacore) and cod. You can eat even yummier shellfish such as clams, oysters, scallops, and mussels. You can also eat the ultimate crab 😀 It is best that you try to limit them to 350 grams (12 oz) per week. Honestly, most of us don’t even eat that much fish per week. If you ate this amount weekly, I’d salute you, because fish, and especially it’s fats are excellent for mother and infant.

And yes, you can definitely eat it raw. Be it shellfish, or a fish carpacio, or salmon tartar. No need to worry.

Why are many mothers advised not to eat fish?

There is a concern about mercury in fish, however high amounts of mercury are only found in fish such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tile fish. These fish are not your everyday types of fish and may not be eaten or found in regions such as the Middle East.

If you want to know if a particular fish is safe or not, or for more information about fish and lactating women visit FDA’s website.

Other than that, everything should be safe to consume. A few things may have to be via trial and error.

can i have Dairy and gassy foods while breastfeeding?

Gassy foods are okay for lactating women

Lactating mothers often wonder if they can consume gassy foods such as legumes. Legumes are quite common in the Middle Eastern cuisine and are part of many dishes such as bemye, bazella, mjadra, balila, fool, and hummus. Legumes are all safe during lactation. So are spices, and so are other gassy foods such as cabbage and garlic.

Dairy and all gassy foods are safe during lactation. They are not supposed to bother the infant at all. However, some babies may have an obvious reaction to the mother consuming cow’s milk. This may mean that the infant has an  allergy to cow’s milk, and if that’s the case then dairy should be eliminated from the diet.

How about gassy foods?

No scientific evidence exists for gassy foods passing through breast milk. However some mothers swear that some gassy foods they’ve had affected their babies, and this is widely accepted among several mothers. If you feel this is the case, you can avoid the food that irritates your baby for a period of time, then try reintroducing it one month later

Other than that, you are set. If you have any questions about nutrition or breastfeeding feel free to -e-mail me on mirna@nutricycle.org

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Happy Breastfeeding 🙂

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