You probably hear or perhaps even indulge in the goodness of a lactation cookie while breastfeeding. Because admit it, with all the diet restrictions since your baby’s conception, you deserve a little cheat.
Breastfeeding still does not exempt you from limiting your intake of some foods for your baby’s benefits. And among them is the dose of caffeine that is often an ingredient in chocolates. So, can you eat chocolate even though you are breastfeeding?
Reasonable intake of chocolate while breastfeeding is acceptable. But like most foods, indulging in too much can become problematic. Chocolates contain caffeine and theobromine or cocoa solids that will leach into the breastmilk. According to research, high chocolate intake can cause jitteriness and irritability in a breastfed baby. Although it will not affect his weight and growth, the infant will likely experience increased muscle tone and trembling.
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Eating chocolate while breastfeeding
A healthy and balanced diet is a must for breastfeeding moms. However, it is not also wrong to give in to some cravings while you are at it.
What you need to remember is to keep everything in a reasonable proportion. And if you noticed that the food shows allergic reaction symptoms to your baby, it is best to reconsider your diet.
Notwithstanding their sugar content, chocolate is a woman’s go-to food for altering her mood. It is because of their chemical content like dopamine and serotonin that triggers a feel-good feeling in the brain.
But what is concerning about chocolate is its theobromine content that imparts a stimulating effect even for the breastfed baby. Yet, it is not an issue if moms consume it only in a small amount.
Effects of chocolate on moms and infants
Caffeine can mess up a breastfeeding mom’s milk production. Consuming high caffeine may cause a low milk supply. However, its effect varies depending on how well the mother can process it.
Thus, breastfeeding moms should take no more than 300 mg of caffeine per day. It is equivalent to about three cups of coffee.
Although chocolates are harmless, transmitting them into the breastmilk may have some effect on your infant. The chocolate’s chemical content may also tend to stay longer in your child’s system.
So you need to be observant of your baby whenever you are taking any new food. If your baby cannot tolerate your breastmilk, you need to reevaluate and tweak your diet.
Here are some possible effects of too much chocolate on your little one:
Stop consuming chocolates if you notice these adverse side effects on your baby after eating them:
- Becomes disinterested in feeding
- Gets fussy after feeding
- Extremely irritable
White chocs or dark?
We have mentioned lactation cookies earlier. These treats contain herbs intended to increase breastmilk supply. They also contain a harmless amount of chocolate.
These products are excellent for satisfying your craving for sweets without the ill-effect on your infant. They may also help with mom’s post-partum blues. Plus, they contain essential vitamins and nutrients that your baby needs.
But at some point in your craving, you may also wonder if white chocolate is a better alternative for dark ones? Yes, white chocolates definitely are. They have lower caffeine content and do not contain cocoa solids of dark chocolates.
So if you want, you can swap white chocs for dark, but remember to still limit your sugar intake.
Chocolates are undeniably irresistible. On those late wakeful nights of taking care of your newborn, you may find yourself craving for a packet. It is okay to eat occasionally and in moderation if you are breastfeeding.
But always be observant if your baby seems to develop an ill reaction. If he does, you may need to stop consuming it temporarily and wait until he is weaned. Besides, it will not be too long until you find your tot ready to transition from breastfeeding.
Until then, you can hold on to your chocolate cravings and swap them for other healthy snack options.
Ann Marie is a licensed nurse in the Philippines. She had experiences in handling and assisting deliveries of newborns into the world. She also used to train in labor rooms and pediatric wards – helping soon-to-be mothers and little kids in the process. Though not a mother by nature but a mother by heart, Ann Marie loves to take care of her younger cousins as well as nephews and nieces during her free time.