Can I Eat Beans While Breastfeeding?
Many breastfeeding moms worry that beans are not safe to eat and wonder “can I eat beans while breastfeeding?” because of the gas they can produce.
Foods like beans and brussels sprouts are common offenders for your digestion discomfort. Beans are healthy foods, but eating them can cause flatulence and discomfort for some women. This is especially true that they can worry that gassy foods would cause gas in babies if you’re nursing a baby. The last thing you want while trying to get sleep and you have a fussy baby from excessive gas!
Beans have a good source of protein, fiber, vitamin B6, and iron which are good for both mom and baby. If your diet already includes other sources of these nutrients it may be okay to eat beans in moderation during the first few weeks of breastfeeding without any negative side effects on your baby’s health. You should still check with your doctor before making changes to your diet though!
Can I Eat Beans While Breastfeeding?
Yes, beans are suitable for nursing moms to include in their balanced breastfeeding diet. Women are advised to consume an extra 25g of protein every day during lactation. Nursing moms should consume at least two to three servings of protein-rich foods like beans each day, such as beans and lentils into their diet.
The Benefits of Beans While Breastfeeding
A breastfeeding mother is recommended to eat whole grains such as brown rice, and an extra 25 grams of protein which can easily be beans.
An 8-ounce serving of cooked beans provides about 16 grams of protein, which is more than half the recommended amount for lactating women. In fact, research studies show that foods such as beans that are rich in dietary fiber and protein could be a possible aid in weight loss.
Additionally, another study shows that eating beans could aid in weight loss by increasing satiety due to its high fiber content.
That’s why moms who are breastfeeding should include beans frequently in their diet!
Eating beans while you’re breastfeeding doesn’t put your baby at any increased risk of developing problems like colic, gas, or fussiness. Eating beans can actually prevent some problems, such as constipation.
Mom has to eat right for the sake of her baby and herself! That’s why breastfeeding moms can safely eat beans without any concern about causing gas in their babies through their milk.
Beans are also a good choice because they have protein and other nutrients that are good for nursing babies
The Potential Downside of Eating Beans While Breastfeeding
If you are not used to eating beans regularly, they can cause gastrointestinal distress. This includes flatulence, intestinal gas, and temporary changes in bowel movements. You may want to start out slowly by eating a small number of beans every day until your body gets used to it.
One of my favorite nutrition books is Fiber Fueled and he goes a lot more in-depth on beans and how to work up to eating them as well as the benefits and why some people have a harder time digesting them. I highly recommend reading it if you want to go further in-depth in gut health.
If you are concerned that a certain food you are eating is causing your baby gas, start by eliminating 1 food at a time such as spicy food, cow’s milk, or any dairy products, and see if your baby’s symptoms are gone. Once you reintroduce that food back in, you will be able to see if it is what is causing the fussiness if it returns.
Related article: Can You Diet While Breastfeeding?
Precautions To Take While Consuming Beans
Gas is a common problem many mothers face while breastfeeding. If your baby seems uncomfortable or is having problems sleeping after you eat beans, try to avoid eating them as well as other foods that can cause gas such as cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage and slowly reintroduce them to see if it is what is causing the problem.
If you have a question about whether or not a certain food is safe for you to eat while breastfeeding, always check with your doctor first before making any changes. Your healthcare provider can help you determine if there are any other reasons why your baby may be fussy.
Beans are a good choice for nursing mothers to eat! Whether it’s black beans or red lentils, they can be a great way to boost your protein intake. Just make sure you introduce them gradually into your diet and if they cause any cramping, stop eating them until you talk to your doctor about the problem.
Tips on How to Reduce the Gassy Effects of Beans
If you are worried about the gas effect of beans, introduce them gradually.
It is worth noting that some beans are gassier than others. Lentils and canned chickpeas are less likely to cause gas, while dried beans are more likely to do so
You can use the “Soaking Method” for all types of dried legumes you want to cook. It is effective in reducing cooking time and the amount of gas-causing sugars that are produced.
For example, take black beans or dried lentils, and place them in a bowl with water overnight. The next day, rinse the beans several times before putting them into a pot and boiling them until they become tender
It takes about 1 to 3 hours for beans and legumes to cook, but the process can be reduced by using a pressure cooker. If you do not have a pressure cooker, then adding baking soda during cooking will break down the complex sugars that lead to gas production.
It is also important to cook beans thoroughly because undercooked beans contain alpha-galactosidase, which is the carbohydrate that is responsible for gas production in some people.
How Can Eating “Gassy Foods” Affect My Baby?
It’s a common concern that if beans are affecting you that you would be worried that it could cause your baby the same discomfort. Fortunately, this is not the case and there is no need to worry about this.
Breast milk is made from what passes into mom’s blood, not what is in her stomach or digestive tract. It can’t be passed from the gas or the undigested carbohydrates (which could make mom gassy) onto the baby.
Can I Eat Spicy Foods When I am Breastfeeding?
Some strong flavors such as garlic can be passed through the breast milk but for the most part, spicy food does not affect your breast milk at all. Even if it does pass through breast milk, there are no studies showing it will affect your baby.
What Foods Should I Avoid When I am Breastfeeding?
There is quite a lot of food that you have to avoid for pregnant women so it’s common to wonder if you have to limit the same foods when you are breastfeeding. There are some particular foods that should be limited or avoided while breastfeeding:
- High amounts of alcohol
When you have a certain amount of alcohol it is better to pump and dump it so it doesn’t get through your milk and have your baby consume it.
- energy drinks, or more than 5 cups of coffee
Having too much caffeine can make it through your breast milk and cause an upset baby. Every baby is different in what they can tolerate. The range is typically between 300-750 mg. You can still have coffee, just be sure to limit it as it can lower your milk production can dehydrate you.
- Fish with high mercury levels
Fish such as king mackerel, shark, and swordfish are not recommended. This is because the Food and Drug Administration reports the high mercury levels in these fish and should be avoided when you are pregnant and breastfeeding.
Related article: Best Protein Powders That are Safe for Breastfeeding
Foods to Eat When You are Breastfeeding
The good news is you can continue eating your normal diet while breastfeeding. A healthy diet, full of a variety of fruit and vegetables. Such as dark leafy greens and citrus fruits are packed with essential nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, and B vitamins.
Breastfeeding mothers need 330-400 extra calories. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that lactating mothers consume at least 65 grams of protein a day. This can easily be done with beans, lean meats, peanut butter, and soy products.
Make sure to add healthy fats like chia seeds for omega-3 fatty acids for proper brain development.
Beans are a great choice for breastfeeding moms because they have protein and other nutrients that are good for the nursing baby. The benefits of beans help a healthy milk supply and outweigh any negatives, so it is perfectly safe to eat these gas-inducing foods while you’re breastfeeding! It’s important to introduce them gradually though, as some beans will cause more intestinal distress than others.