Eating Chocolate During Breastfeeding – Is It Good or Bad?
- Can Chocolate Be Eaten When Breastfeeding?
- Craving for Chocolate While Nursing
- How Much Chocolate Can You Eat During Breastfeeding?
- Consuming Caffeine-rich Chocolates When Breastfeeding
- Effects of Caffeine in Chocolate on a Breastfeeding Baby
- Effects of Theobromine in Chocolate on a Breastfeeding Baby
- When Should Breastfeeding Moms Stop Eating Chocolate?
- Is White Chocolate a Better Choice Than Dark Chocolate During Breastfeeding?
- Should You Avoid Chocolate-mixed foods?
- Healthy Alternative For Chocolate While Breastfeeding
Women generally have different cravings during pregnancy, which further intensify after delivery. Some mothers experience unexpected cravings while some find themselves not getting enough of their favourite foods. One such craving is for chocolate. While indulging in a little bit of chocolate can be great for you, is it good for your baby? Breastfeeding mothers are usually wary of everything that they eat in order to avoid exposing their baby to something that might be harmful. So, the question is, can breastfeeding moms eat chocolate? Should you be concerned? Read on to find out.
Can Chocolate Be Eaten When Breastfeeding?
There is no harm in eating chocolate when breastfeeding, but you will need to do so in moderation. If you notice the consistency of your baby’s stool has changed or that he has gas problems, you may need to curb your intake until you have weaned your little one.
Ingredients of Chocolate
Chocolate that is available in readily consumable form has the following ingredients:
- A culinary masterpiece, the brown delight is made from roasted and grounded cacao seeds.
- Other ingredients of chocolates include chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, and sugar.
Chocolates also have nutritional value and contain carbohydrates, proteins, fats, water, minerals, vitamins, caffeine, and cholesterol.
Craving for Chocolate While Nursing
As you will be required to breastfeed your newborn quite often throughout the day and even at regular intervals during the night, sleep deprivation will be common during this time. Your body will be inclined to light sleep in order to attend to your baby’s call. All this sleep deprivation alters the brain and impacts its decision-making abilities. This can result in hunger pangs and cravings that seem out of your control.
How Much Chocolate Can You Eat During Breastfeeding?
The amount of chocolate you can eat varies greatly depending on the type of chocolate you are eating and if you have any pre-existing medical conditions. If you prefer to eat chocolate rich in sugar or have diabetes, it is best to limit your intake to every 4-5 days. However, if you prefer dark chocolate which has lesser sugar, you can safely eat 30-40 grams every day.
Consuming Caffeine-rich Chocolates When Breastfeeding
Consuming chocolates rich in caffeine can affect the health of a baby when he is in breastfeeding.
- If you are consuming more than 500 mg of caffeine and/or theobromine a day, your baby will be irritated. He will be fussy and won’t get sound sleep.
- For mums fond of dark chocolate, a preferable change would be shifting to white chocolate that has a low caffeine content.
Effects of Caffeine in Chocolate on a Breastfeeding Baby
The half-life of caffeine is high in babies, and it takes longer to get out of their system. When breastfeeding, if the mum gorges on too much chocolate, it may cause an upset stomach for the baby followed by irritability and insomnia. He could also become hyperactive. High quantities of caffeine intake through chocolate can also lower the production of breast milk.
Effects of Theobromine in Chocolate on a Breastfeeding Baby
Theobromine isn’t a cause for worry if the lactating mother is consuming chocolate in a limit. However, the baby will show signs of extreme gas formation in case you are including too much caffeine in your diet and consuming other cocoa products as well. Theobromine is a major component in cocoa solids, hence dark chocolates contain higher levels of theobromine than milk chocolate.
When Should Breastfeeding Moms Stop Eating Chocolate?
If the infant shows the following side effects after you’ve consumed chocolate, then you should stop consuming them or curb your cravings to a large extent. If you notice the f0llowing symptoms in your baby, you should avoid eating chocolate and breastfeeding immediately.
- Formation of gas
- Disinterested in drinking milk
Is White Chocolate a Better Choice Than Dark Chocolate During Breastfeeding?
Definitely yes! Dark chocolate consists of cocoa solids, hence higher levels of caffeine and theobromine. White chocolate has a lower caffeine content and doesn’t have cocoa solids or theobromine. This makes the latter a better choice.
Should You Avoid Chocolate-mixed foods?
Foods with chocolate as one of the ingredients shouldn’t be a complete no-no as it depends on how the baby reacts to it. Chocolate cookies, milk, and cakes can be a part of the mum’s diet if the baby is alright with it. However, look out for any signs of intolerance to cow’s milk, eggs or other ingredients in the chocolate, as some babies could be allergic to them.
Healthy Alternative For Chocolate While Breastfeeding
If you find yourself often craving chocolate while breastfeeding but want to stay as healthy as possible, the below recipe will help you satisfy those cravings. It utilises carob powder, which is created from a plant in the Mediterranean region. It tastes very similar to chocolate but minus the caffeine.
1. Carob Fudge
This homemade carob fudge is easy to prepare and tastes exactly like chocolate fudge for those midnight cravings.
- Unsweetened carob powder – 1 cup
- Coconut oil – 1 cup
- Jaggery – 1/2 cup
- Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
How to Prepare:
- Start heating coconut oil in a saucepan.
- Add the carob powder and mix well.
- Next, add the jaggery and let it melt and incorporate well.
- Lastly, add vanilla extract and mix until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into a square or rectangular dish lined with parchment/ butter paper.
- Set in the refrigerator for an hour.
- Once set, cut the fudge into squares, and enjoy.
1. Can I Consume Chocolate Laxative During Breastfeeding?
You can opt for a few medications such as chocolate laxatives which can enter the baby through breast milk and not harm the baby. However, a doctor’s advice prior to consumption is necessary.
2. Is It Safe to Drink Hot Chocolate When Breastfeeding?
You can drink an occasional cup of hot chocolate. However, keep an eye out for any gas problems with your baby. If you notice it, you may need to temporarily stop consuming it until your baby is weaned.
3. How Long Does Chocolate Stay In Your Breast Milk?
Chocolate is broken down and metabolised by the body quite fast. It should be out of your system in 2-3 hours. However, if you eat more chocolate than recommended, it may linger for a longer period of time.
4. Does Eating Chocolate While Breastfeeding Cause Colic In Babies?
If you eat more than a normal amount of chocolate and breastfeed shortly, there is a potential of your baby ingesting a small quantity of theobromine, which is a stimulant. However, this does not cause colic.
Chocolates are undeniably delicious. However, eating them in moderation during breastfeeding is the key to stay clear of any repercussions. You can also look up with your healthcare provider if you have any more concerns about chocolate and breastfeeding. In case your baby shows any side effects, it is best to avoid it until you are no longer breastfeeding your little one.
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