That’s a good question from Haylie, a new-mom-to-be from Chicago. She wonders if she’ll need to continue to avoid soft cheeses, raw fish, caffeine, and alcohol when she begins breastfeeding just like she’s doing now, when she’s pregnant.
If you’re a nursing mom, you should continue to limit your exposure to mercury by avoiding certain types of fish. Those include shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. For more information, visit http://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm110591.htm.
But you don’ t need to stay away from soft cheeses or raw fish when you’re lactating, because the “bad” bacteria that may be in these foods, listeria monocytogenes, which can cause a bacterial infection known as listeriosis, doesn’t pass through breast milk to your baby. So go ahead and get your brie and sushi/sashimi fix.
As for caffeine, most physicians will say 2-4 cups of coffee a day when you’re lactating is usually not problem for full-term babies. But check with your doctor. And your baby. For some babies, it might be. With alcohol, one to two servings of alcohol in 24-hours time when you’re lactating is considered safe. But again, check with your doctor. Check, check, check.
In general, if you like to have a glass of wine with dinner, you can minimize your baby’s exposure to alcohol by nursing your baby first, then having dinner. Alcohol transfers into human milk quickly. It’s metabolized out of the milk rapidly, too, in about two hours. So by the time, your baby is ready to eat again, your breast milk will be close to alcohol free.