Eating Chocolate during Breastfeeding – Is It Good or Bad?

A woman thinking about eating chocolate

Women love eating chocolates, and the craving for chocolate goes beyond its normal potential during pregnancy and immediately after the delivery. 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 they shouldn’t. So, the question is whether eating chocolate during breastfeeding is good or not? Should you be concerned?

Can Chocolate Be Eaten while Breastfeeding?

There is no harm in eating chocolate while breastfeeding, but you will need to do so in moderation. If you notice the consistency of your baby’s stool has changed or find that he has gas problems, you will 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 in it:

  • A culinary masterpiece, the brown delight, is made from roasted and grounded Theobroma 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 your baby’s call. All this sleep deprivation alters your brain and impacts its decision-making abilities. These can result in hunger pangs and cravings that seem out of your control.

Consuming Caffeine-Rich Chocolates While Breastfeeding

Consuming chocolates rich in caffeine affects the health of a baby when he is in breastfeeding.

  • If you are consuming more than 750 mg of caffeine and/or theobromine a day, your baby will be irritated. He will be fussy and won’t get a sound sleep.
  • For mums fond of dark chocolate, a preferable change would be a shift to white chocolates that have less caffeine content.

Dark chocolate bars

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. While breastfeeding, if the mum gorges on too much chocolate, it may cause an upset stomach for the baby followed by irritability and insomnia. They 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 of caffeine in your diet and consuming other cocoa products as well. Theobromine is a major component in the 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.

  • Vomiting
  • Formation of gas
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea
  • Hyperactivity
  • Disinterested in drinking milk.

Is White Chocolate a Better Choice than Dark Chocolate during Breastfeeding?

Definitely yes!  Dark chocolate consists cocoa solids, hence higher levels of caffeine and theobromine. White chocolate has less caffeine content and doesn’t have cocoa solids or theobromine. This makes the latter a better choice.

A glass of chocolate milk

Should You Avoid Chocolate-Mixed foods?

Foods with chocolate as one of the ingredients shouldn’t be a complete no-no as it completely 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 all right 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.

FAQs

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, will not harm the baby. However, a doctor’s advice prior to the consumption is necessary.

2. Is It Safe to Drink Hot Chocolate while 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.

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.

Also Read: Coffee during Breastfeeding