Is it safe to eat spicy foods while breastfeeding?

There are several myths surrounding eating spicy foods while breastfeeding. To what extent is it true that these types of foods should be avoided?

Last update: May 26, 2022

Many mothers refrain from eating spicy foods while breastfeeding because they believe that this could affect the baby. In fact, there are people who claim that this leads to the little one feeling discomfort and becoming irritable. That’s right?

There are even those who claim that eating spicy foods while breastfeeding causes the baby to have colic and stomach problems. It is added that this occurs more frequently if the mother also has some gastric discomfort after ingesting the products.

It has to be said that most of those claims are nothing more than myths. At the moment, there is no evidence. Let’s see in more detail.

Is it safe to eat spicy foods while breastfeeding?

All experts agree that is it safe to eat spicy foods while breastfeeding. This should not cause any discomfort to the baby. If the little one is more irritable, has more gas or seems restless, it is most likely for another reason.

The essential composition of breast milk is always the same, regardless of what the mother consumes in her diet. In other words, it is not true that the mother’s food passes directly to her child when she breastfeeds.

What can happen when eating spicy foods while breastfeeding is that the milk changes a little flavor. It’s not that the acids from spicy food are in breast milk, just some of its flavor, but in a very subtle way.

It should not be forgotten that there are many cultures in the world in which spices are an essential element of meals. In those geographic regions there are no restrictions on breastfeeding mothers.



Are there benefits to eating spicy foods?

To the surprise of many, not only is it safe to eat spicy foods while breastfeeding, but it could also have valuable benefits. The first of these is the change in taste in breast milk.

When the baby picks up that soft and subtle hint of heat in the mother’s milk, it begins to broaden the range of its taste perceptions. In one way or another, this enriches your palate and prepares you to be more open to new flavors.

There is a study in which it was shown that babies who are more exposed to different flavors, through the amniotic fluid during pregnancy, then they are more receptive to incorporating multiple flavors into their own diet when they start eating solids.

Some foods with strong flavors change the taste of breast milk. Within these are garlic, vanilla, mint and spicy. An investigation found a very interesting fact about it. Behavioral change in the infant was observed when a new item was introduced into the mother’s diet. The children’s response was that they drank more breast milk than usual.

Spicy flavor can come in the form of spices, condiments, or seasonings, which are sometimes a subtle addition.

Are there risks of eating spicy food while breastfeeding?

No evidence has been found that eating spicy foods while breastfeeding affects the baby in any way. Even if these types of foods they fall heavy to the mother, there was no impact on the little ones.

The spicy ones also do not make the milk taste bad or take on a very strong or unpleasant taste. Taste traces are very subtle and the baby will not receive the acids present in the spicy ones. You will only experience a slightly different taste than usual.

Some parents also worry that eating spicy foods while breastfeeding will lead to allergy symptoms in their baby. It must be said that there is no evidence that this is true either.

On the contrary, everything indicates that children whose mothers are exposed to a wide variety of foods during lactation, they then tend to develop fewer food allergies and intolerances. There are not enough studies about it, but it is an interesting hypothesis in science.



The correct diet during lactation

A nursing mother should increase her daily calorie intake by about 400 to 500. Ideally, you should have a very varied and balanced diet. You should only avoid those foods that cause her discomfort.

It is recommended to be cautious with some foods, although not because of their taste:

  • Alcohol: for its harmful effect on the baby.
  • Fish: due to its high mercury content.
  • Caffeine: should be limited to no more than 300 milligrams a day.
  • Herbal supplements: only consume those that have been approved by a doctor.

If the baby shows any type of reaction during breastfeeding, such as hives, vomiting, constipation, excess gas, eczema, diarrhea, bloody stools or similar manifestations, it is indicated to consult with the pediatrician.

Breastfeeding is full of myths, but it is so important for the baby that it is convenient to clear up all doubts during pregnancy.

Check if you have doubts

Although there is no basis to think that eating spicy foods while breastfeeding is harmful to the baby, if the mother notices any reaction in the child, it is best to clear her doubts with the health professional.

every baby is different, but in general, they all develop a taste for the foods their mothers enjoy the most. In any case, if after eating an inadequate response is noticed in the little one, evacuate the concern in an office.

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