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Can I Eat Spicy Food While Breastfeeding?

Yes, you can eat spicy food while breastfeeding. There aren’t any studies to suggest that eating spicy foods will hurt your baby. However, there are a few things to remember before enjoying spicy food if breastfeeding. Spicy foods do alter the taste of your breast milk. Within 24 hours, food makes its way into your breast milk. The stronger the flavor of the food you eat, the more it will impact the taste of your breast milk. If your little one doesn’t share the same love for spicy Mexican dishes that you do, expect them to refuse to nurse.

Does spicy food cause gas in breastfed babies?

Many parents wind up with a fussy baby after eating spicy food and instantly wonder if spicy food gave their baby gas. No research supports the claim that spicy food gives babies gas or makes them fussy; it only affects the flavor of your breast milk. However, the different flavors of your breast milk offer a massive benefit: they help babies adjust to eating other things. The more your baby expands their palette as they nurse, the more they will be willing to try new foods as they age. 

Below, we cover everything nursing moms need to know about eating spicy food while breastfeeding. We cover how long spice stays in the milk, whether or not pump-and-dump is helpful, as well as cover specific spicy foods and their effects on breastfeeding. We even throw in a lactation-friendly chili recipe for good measure!

Does spicy food affect breast milk?

Yes, spicy food affects the flavor of breast milk. Mothers that notice their babies refuse to nurse after they eat spicy food should rest assured that their little one doesn’t care for the flavor. Spicy food is perfectly safe to eat spicy food while breastfeeding, and does not impact whether babies will have gas after feeding. Eating spicy foods won’t make your breastfed baby fussy after eating, either. After nursing, babies that are fussy, gassy, or colicky have another issue.

Will my breast milk taste spicy if I eat spicy food?

No, breast milk does not taste spicy after a nursing mother eats spicy food. Food changes the flavor of breast milk, and while it is logical to think breast milk will taste spicy after eating spicy food, it isn’t true. Spicy foods bring those underlying flavors already in breast milk to the forefront so your breast milk will be more flavorful. Spicy foods will not make your breast milk hot and spicy, but babies might not care for the flavor. Your little one refuses to nurse after you eat spicy food because they don’t like the taste. In this situation, pump and dump for a day to allow your breast milk to return to its normal flavor.

How long does spicy food stay in breast milk?

Spicy food is known to alter the taste of breast milk in 1-24 hours. Understanding how long spicy food stays in breast milk is critical to know how long to pump and dump after eating spicy food. Babies might not like the taste of breast milk when you eat spicy food, so pumping and dumping is your only option.

Once spicy food makes its way into your breast milk, it stays for 4-24 hours. How long spicy food alters the taste of your breast milk depends on your metabolism. An easy way to tell is to try to nurse your baby. If your baby doesn’t care for the taste, they’ll refuse to nurse.

How long after eating spicy food can I breastfeed?

The number of hours it takes to breastfeed after eating spicy food varies per person. Some moms discover that they are able to breastfeed for four hours, while others find that their baby doesn’t like the taste of the milk within an hour. How long it takes spicy food to change the taste of your breast milk depends on your metabolism.

However, it’s important to note that just because you ate something spicy doesn’t mean you can’t breastfeed. No research supports that spicy food will give babies gas, an upset stomach, or make them fussy. These are parenting myths.

Should I pump and dump if I eat spicy food?

No, you should not pump and dump if you eat spicy food. Spicy food won’t hurt your baby. A few bites of curry won’t even make them fussy. Instead, nurse your baby as you normally would.

One exception is if your baby refuses to eat, because they don’t like the taste change in your breast milk. In this situation, pump and dump for 24 hours or until your baby nurses again, whichever happens first. Continue to try to breastfeed your baby after eating spicy food to help them expand their palette. Getting your baby used to various flavors as an infant will encourage them to be open to new foods as they age.

Does spicy food cause gas in breastfed babies?

No, spicy food does not cause gas in breastfed babies. Spicy food is known for causing quite a few symptoms in adults. For example, frequent intake of spicy foods causes indigestion in people. Spicy dishes also cause canker sores and abdominal pain and increase symptoms of IBS.

A small amount of pepper makes its way into breast milk, changing the flavor of the milk. However, it does not cause the same symptoms in babies that it causes in adults. That’s because everything you eat doesn’t automatically go into your breast milk. Your baby will not have the same side effects, and your breast milk will not taste spicy. Instead, your breast milk will taste more flavorful and help to expand the palette of your baby as they discover solid foods.

How do I know if my breast milk is upsetting my baby?

The main way of knowing if your breast milk is upsetting your baby is that your baby will refuse to latch or feed. Excessive fussiness when feeding is a clear sign that your baby does not like the flavor of your breast milk.

Babies getting an upset stomach from a mom eating spicy food is uncommon, but your breast milk sometimes upsets your baby regardless. Breast milk often irritates a baby when moms eat certain foods or if the baby has a food intolerance, such as lactose intolerance.

Below are seven key signs that your breast milk is upsetting your baby.

  • Diarrhea or frequent constipation
  • Rashes (this is a common sign of food intolerance)
  • Colic
  • Gas
  • Refusal to nurse
  • Frequent spit up
  • Baby makes faces while nursing

It’s important to keep an eye out for signals that something is going on with your breast milk. Work with a lactation consultant to determine the cause. Try changing your diet to see if that clears things up.

Can a 1-year-old eat spicy food?

Yes, your 1-year-old is fine to eat spicy food! It’s common in several cultures, including Indian cultures, for children to eat the same thing that adults in the family do. Children in Asian and South American cultures often try spicy food early on.

Introducing spicy foods to children should be done the same way as introducing bland foods. Introduce one new food at a time. Below are four good spices to start with.

  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Garlic
  • Onion

Give your child one new spice for 4-5 days, and keep an eye on them for an adverse reaction. If you notice gas or fussiness, your baby might not be able to tolerate spices yet. Give them new flavors, such as vanilla, and work your way up to spices.

After your little one learns to tolerate a few spices, gradually increase the number of spices to help them learn to love spicier food. Next, introduce spicy food to their diet.

Can toddlers have spicy food?

Yes, toddlers are fine to have spicy food. It’s common for parents to give children what they have to eat, such as pepper dishes, curry, or Indian cuisine.

Spicy food is packed with benefits for everyone, including toddlers. Capsaicin is an ingredient in peppers that makes them spicy. This single ingredient helps protect the body from free radical damage which can lead to cancer.

Five benefits of spicy food include the follow.

  • Decreases stress
  • Source of Vitamin A
  • Source of Vitamin C
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Improves digestion

Giving toddlers spicy food helps expand their palette for lifelong benefits that your toddler will always enjoy.

Can spicy food help with postpartum depression

Yes, spicy food helps reduce postpartum depression! First, I do want to say that you should always contact your doctor or a medical professional before using natural remedies to treat postpartum depression. Eating spicy food to help with PPD should only be done under the supervision of a trained professional.

Spicy foods with capsaicin are the only ones that help with depression. Capsaicin triggers the pain receptors on the tongue. In response, the brain attempts to alleviate that pain by producing a flood of endorphins, such as serotonin. Serotonin and other endorphins help the body handle stress while lessening the effects of depression.

Can I eat spicy food after delivery?

Yes, women are safe to eat spicy food immediately after delivery. Eating your favorite dishes is not going to hurt your baby.

On the other hand, it often alters the flavor of your breast milk. Your baby refusing to nurse means that they don’t care for the taste of breast milk when you eat spicy food. Women who experience this should wait a few weeks and then try eating spicy food again. Most babies don’t mind the taste as they get older.

What are some Indian foods to avoid while breastfeeding

There is no reason for breastfeeding mothers to avoid Indian foods while breastfeeding. Many Indian dishes, such as curry, are packed with vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants that are great for both the mother and baby. Turmeric is spicy but helps boost your and your baby’s immune system.

Can babies have curry?

Yes, babies can enjoy curry when they are 7-8 months old. Introduce curry into their diet as you introduce solid foods. Begin with fruits and vegetables. Give your baby one new food at a time. After that, introduce different spices, such as cinnamon and pepper. Then, introduce spicy foods, such as curry.

When introducing your little one to new foods, it’s critical only to introduce one new food at a time. Introduce a new food for 4-5 days, and watch for a reaction. Then, continue introducing other new foods to help your baby enjoy a diverse diet.

Can you eat onions while breastfeeding?

Onions are safe to eat while breastfeeding. In truth, there aren’t any foods that breastfeeding moms should always avoid.

The onion controversy stems from moms claiming that eating onions while breastfeeding gave their babies gas or made them fussy. Babies getting gas from onions could be true. However, there are no studies to support these claims, either.

Instead of assuming either way, try eating onions and watch for signs of gas or fussiness in your baby. If your little one has adverse effects, there’s a chance that onions have caused it. Try the experiment one more time to make sure it’s the onions. Trying to eat onions while breastfeeding is how to determine if you should include onions in your breastfeeding diet.

How long does garlic stay in breast milk?

Garlic stays in breast milk for up to 24 hours. Garlic makes its way into breast milk rather quickly. According to Gwen Dewar, PhD, garlic impacts the flavor of breast milk within 1.5-3 hours after eating and continues to change the taste of your breast milk for up to 24 hours.

However, that’s not always a bad thing. Researchers conducted a study to see if the flavor of breast milk had an impact on breastfeeding infants. Babies whose mothers consumed garlic while breastfeeding ate more, signaling that your little one might love the altered taste of breast milk.

Is eating chili while breastfeeding safe?

Yes, eating chili while breastfeeding is safe. Chili provides a wealth of protein, vitamins, and nutrients that breastfeeding moms need. Many of these get passed on to the baby through breast milk, too.

Chili is sometimes spicy, which sometimes changes the flavor of your breast milk. Research indicates that it will not cause gas or fussiness in babies, but your infant might not like the different taste your milk has. Your baby refusing to nurse is a surefire sign that they aren’t a fan.

That doesn’t mean that chili is off the menu. Your baby just needs some time to get used to spicy chili. Here’s a fantastic homemade chili recipe that isn’t spicy to satisfy your craving.

Homemade Chili That Isn’t Spicy

For mothers looking to get their chili fix while breastfeeding, switching to a less spicy alternative is a great way to eat the foods you enjoy without changing the flavor of your breastmilk.

Below is an easy-to-follow low-spice nursing-friend chili recipe.

For this chili, you’ll only need these ingredients:

  • 1 lb hamburger
  • 1 lb sausage
  • 2 cans red kidney beans or Brooks mild chili beans
  • ½ green pepper, diced
  • 6 oz diced tomatoes
  • 6 oz stewed tomatoes
  • 24 oz tomato paste
  • 24 oz vegetable broth

Making this chili is simple, just follow the steps below.

  1. Brown the hamburger and sausage in separate pans
  2. Strain both portions of meat to remove the grease, and pour them into a crockpot
  3. Add the remaining ingredients one at a time, thoroughly stirring them together after each ingredient
  4. Set the crockpot on low, and cook for 6-8 hours, stirring intermittently throughout the day

For a thinner chili, add more vegetable broth. Adding less vegetable broth results in thicker chili.

This chili has a tomato-y taste that everyone loves! Add spices as you like to make sure that it’s not too spicy for your breastfeeding baby.

Can I eat Hot Cheetos while breastfeeding?

Yes, you can eat Hot Cheetos while breastfeeding. Most babies enjoy the different flavors of your breast milk, and some wind up liking the same spicy foods that you do as they get older.

Hot Cheetos are not packed with vitamins and nutrients like other foods are. Make sure you eat a diverse diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables to keep yourself and your baby healthy.

Can I eat Korean ramen while breastfeeding?

Yes, you can eat Korean ramen while breastfeeding, but keeping a few things in mind is critical. Because ramen is packed with salt and preservatives, it’s important to enjoy them occasionally instead of daily. Raw fish is a common ramen topping that is unsafe for pregnant women. It is because of raw fish that breastfeeding women are advised to exercise caution while eating sushi, as well.

Is Yum Yum Sauce a bad idea while pregnant or breastfeeding?

Yes, Yum Yum Sauce is a bad idea while pregnant or breastfeeding. The main ingredient in Yum Yum sauce is mayonnaise, made with raw eggs. Raw eggs can be packed with harmful bacteria, resulting in food poisoning or salmonella. Salmonella can result in a fetus that doesn’t grow properly, developmental damage, or preterm delivery.

Can you eat Takis while pregnant?

No, pregnant women should not eat Takis. However, it’s not because they are spicy. Takis are packed with chemicals that are a cause for concern for both pregnant women and their unborn children. Takis contain BHA, BHT, and/or TBHQ, commonly found in embalming fluid. The Department of Health and Human Services recognizes these chemicals are more than likely carcinogens. However, they are still considered safe by the FDA due to a lack of studies to verify that they cause cancer. Takis have sodium nitrates in them, which leads to oxygen deprivation for fetuses. Takis contain Red 40 Lake dye, which has been linked to DNA damage in lab mice, behavioral problems in young children, and developmental delays, and is illegal in countries outside the United States. These dangerous chemicals make Takis a poor snack choice for pregnant and breastfeeding women.