Many new mothers are curious about what they can and cannot eat while breastfeeding.
Some foods are considered taboo, such as Chinese food, because of the fear that they will transfer harmful toxins to their baby.
But is this really the case?
Chinese food is delicious, but it can be hard to know if you should eat it while breastfeeding. There are a lot of conflicting opinions about whether or not it’s safe to eat Chinese food while breastfeeding.
Some people say that you should avoid all foods with MSG, because this chemical is known to cause colic in babies. Others will tell you that there’s no evidence for this claim, and so it shouldn’t be taken seriously.
It can make things very confusing!
Let’s look at the facts and get into this!
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Can nursing mothers eat Chinese food?
There’s no official rule against eating Chinese food while breastfeeding but most lactation experts recommend avoiding it because the spices and ingredients in certain Chinese dishes can make your breasts leaky or cause a yeast infection in your nipples.
In general, it’s best to avoid any food that could potentially cause problems while you’re breastfeeding.
Some people believe that MSG can cause colic in infants, but there is no scientific proof of this.
However, if you are worried about it, you can simply avoid dishes with MSG in them.
Homemade Chinese cuisine is superior, but the sauces we use to cook Chinese recipes include excessive levels of salt and preservatives.
Overall, Chinese food is safe to eat while breastfeeding as long as you are careful about the ingredients.
If you’re not sure whether or not a dish has something in it that could potentially cause problems, ask your waiter for advice.
With a little bit of caution, you can enjoy a delicious Chinese meal while continuing to provide your baby with the best possible nutrition.
Can Chinese food upset breastfed babies?
All spicy foods eaten by breastfeeding mothers will get into the mother’s milk supply and a garlicky or spicy dish eaten by the mother will transfer to her baby through breast milk.
Most babies are not adversely affected, but for a few infants, these flavors can be too strong and cause problems such as excessive spitting-up or diaper rash.
If your baby is one of these “sensitive” babies, you may want to avoid eating Chinese food while breastfeeding
You don’t have to give up your favorite Chinese dishes while you’re breastfeeding – just be careful about what you order.
Eat foods with milder flavors, and avoid anything that’s particularly spicy or garlicky. With a little bit of caution, you can enjoy a delicious Chinese meal while continuing to provide your breastfed baby with the best possible nutrition.
Does MSG (monosodium glutamate) affect breast milk?
MSG is considered suitable for breastfeeding by the American Academy of Pediatrics [AAP 2001].
There is no scientific proof that MSG can cause colic in infants or any other negative effects so as a breastfeeding mom you can relax, you are not exposing the baby to anything harmful!
What About Ajinomoto?
Ajinomoto is a common ingredient in Chinese food, and it’s also the source of some controversy.
Some people believe that it can cause health problems in infants, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and colic. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.
Ajinomoto is made from glutamic acid, which is an amino acid that is found in breast milk.
Whilst people believe that this means that Ajinomoto is safe for infants, but there is no research to support this idea.
What kind of Chinese Food is best for breastfeeding?
The best Chinese food for breastfeeding mothers is the kind that you make yourself. This gives you complete control over the ingredients, and you can avoid anything that might cause a problem.
If you’re not up for cooking, try choosing dishes from restaurants with a milder menu, avoid the spicy food.
Avoid anything that’s particularly spicy or garlicky, and ask your waiter for advice if you’re not sure whether or not a dish contains something that could potentially cause problems for human milk.
Also opt for dishes full of fish, beans or leafy greens (asparagus is safe for breastfeeding moms).
Will Chinese Food Increase Milk Supply?
Whilst Chinese food is not considered a galactagogue (foods that help you increase your milk production) something with chicken, almonds and rice may help.
These all contain the nutrients needed to produce milk.
Eating a balanced diet, including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is the best way to ensure that you’re getting the nutrients you need for healthy breastfeeding. See our guide to the best diet for new moms here.
If you’re looking for an extra boost, there are some foods that are known to help increase milk production – such as oatmeal, brewer’s yeast, and ginger root, or try a soothing lactation tea.
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It’s good to have a varied diet and try different foods. A breastfeeding mother needs to consume a lot more calories than normal and can eat a wider choice of other foods compared to pregnant women.
Healthy adults moms who want to try a new cultural cuisine will be fine, so if you want to eat sushi, it is considered safe!
All the different tastes will go through to your child in the milk, and they will be exposed to a wide range of flavours from early on.
So, can you eat Chinese food while breastfeeding? The answer is yes, but be careful about which dishes you order.
Avoid anything with MSG if you’re worried about it (even though pediatrics considers msg safe for lactating mothers), and make sure to ask your waiter for advice if you’re not sure about a particular dish.
With a little bit of caution, you can enjoy a delicious Chinese meal while continuing to provide your breastfed baby. Remember though, with all foods, moderation is the key to a healthy diet!