Eating Chocolate During Breastfeeding – Is It Good or Bad?

A woman thinking about eating chocolate

Women generally have cravings during their pregnancy, when the craving for chocolate may go beyond its normal potential then and immediately after 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 might be harmful. So, the question is whether eating chocolate during breastfeeding is good or not? Should you be concerned?

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 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:

  • 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 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.

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.

Eating Chocolates during Breastfeeding

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.

  • 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 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.

White Chocolate or Dark Chocolate when Breastfeeding

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.

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 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.

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