Nausea while Breastfeeding: Causes, Prevention & Home Remedies

Nausea While Breastfeeding – Causes and Remedies

Medically Reviewed By
Shruti Kanchan (Lactation Specialist)
View more Lactation Specialist Our Panel of Experts

Experiencing the transition into motherhood through childbirth brings forth a whirlwind of emotions and changes. While it marks the end of pregnancy’s unique challenges, it doesn’t necessarily spell the end of physical discomforts. Many mothers find themselves bewildered when they begin to experience bouts of nausea once more, reminiscent of their pregnancy days. Could breastfeeding be the culprit behind this unexpected nausea among nursing mothers, or is there a deeper, less obvious explanation lurking beneath the surface of this phenomenon? Understanding the complex interplay of hormones and bodily adjustments during the postpartum period may shed light on this intriguing question. Read on to understand all about nausea during breastfeeding.

What Causes Nausea While Nursing?

For mothers who have started nursing and are feeling nauseous while doing so, there are a few reasons why it might be happening.

1. Deficiency of Iron

Certain women might have a tendency to suffer from low iron levels. In other cases, the process of delivery might have led to substantial blood loss from the body. This could result in your body’s iron levels taking a massive heat and leading to dizziness and feeling nauseous while breastfeeding.

2. Presence of UTIs

Many women, after their pregnancy, tend to develop various urinary tract infections, given the absurd amount of changes that go about in that region. Though UTIs mostly make their presence felt when a woman urinates and has a burning sensation, a few of them could make you feel nauseous, too.

Presence of UTIs

3. Post-Partum Depression

A well-documented condition, this usually dawns on the woman as the high of pregnancy starts to fade off. In certain cases, doctors do recommend taking anti-depressants that are safe, but they could have a side effect of causing dizziness and breastfeeding nausea.

4. Hormonal Fluctuations

Even after pregnancy, your body needs to cope with a ton of changes. The demand for breastmilk can take quite a toll on the internal processes, as the body ramps up the hormone generation to produce as many breastmilk as possible for the baby. These sudden changes in hormone levels could make you feel nauseous.

5. Lower Calorie Reserves

Another change that the body makes in order to sustain the amount of breastmilk that the baby requires is to tap into the energy sources present within the body. Breastfeeding is a process that takes up quite some energy and the body will find that from any source possible, even when your calorie count is low. This results in your energy levels depleting and dizziness setting in.

6. Insomnia and Tiredness

The change from pregnancy to motherhood results in tremendous fatigue, which is further compounded by sleepless nights. These, together, put your body in alarm mode and the result can be a feeling of nausea.

7. Reduced Blood Sugar

The production of breastmilk and the generation of energy are all demanding processes that take a lot from a woman. This needs to be supported by having meals on time so that the body has what it needs. Failure to do so can push the body’s energy resources to an extreme and result in nausea.

Sugar checking machine

8. The Result of Dehydration

The entire chaos of taking care of your own body as well as the baby could make you forget to eat or even drink water on time. Breastmilk takes up a lot of fluid from the body and if this is not replenished, your body could sound the alarm by getting dizzy.

9. The Activity of Oxytocin

Oxytocin is an important hormone that carries out numerous functions in a woman. One of the core ones that it undertakes is the very process of breastfeeding, helping regulate the flow of milk to the baby via the breasts. Since this hormone production is boosted, the other effect it has is on the digestive system, causing it to trigger certain processes, which could invariably also cause you to feel a sensation of nausea.

10. Possible Pregnancy

Most nausea symptoms fade away in a matter of 8 weeks or so. But if your baby is quite old and you seem to experience nausea while you are breastfeeding, there might be a chance of you being pregnant if you’ve engaged in intercourse post-delivery.

Symptoms of Nausea During Breastfeeding

Nausea during breastfeeding can be an unexpected and discomforting experience for many new mothers. It’s essential to recognize the symptoms to address them effectively. Here are seven common symptoms of nausea during breastfeeding:

  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Paleness
  • Increased salivation
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Digestive discomfort
  • Anxiety

How Common It Is?

Nausea during breastfeeding is relatively uncommon compared to other breastfeeding challenges or postpartum symptoms. While it can occur, it is not considered a typical or routine experience for breastfeeding mothers. The prevalence of nausea during breastfeeding can vary from one individual to another and may be influenced by various factors such as hormonal changes, individual sensitivity, and underlying health conditions.

How to Prevent or Stop Feeling Nauseous While Breastfeeding?

Taking care of this feeling of throwing up and the constant presence of nausea can be done in a few different ways, depending on which one suits you best.

1. Get Enough Sleep

The entire process of giving birth to a child is quite exhaustive for your body and that is immediately followed by feeding your child. Grab as many quick naps as you can when your baby sleeps. Choose to store breast milk in a bottle so that a family member can feed your child while you get some sleep.

2. Feed While Lying Down

While sitting up and feeding your child might be the traditional position, there are different ways to feed your baby, too. One of them involves lying down with your child next to you, positioned in such a way that he can easily latch onto your breast. Make sure both of you are comfortable.

Feed While Lying Down

3. Have Proper Meals

Having timely meals is as important as having the right ones. Don’t eat heavy food since it will increase your nausea. Avoid foods with strong flavours and restrict yourself to multiple tiny meals throughout the day. This helps in keeping a constant sugar level and reduces dizziness.

4. Multitask Snacking and Breastfeeding

While your baby latches on to your breast and gets his feed, there’s no reason you should get your share of the meal, too. Keep easy-to-eat fruits or biscuits next to you and munch on them while your baby feeds.

5. Drink More Fluids

Dehydration is a strong reason for feeling nauseous. Drink enough water throughout the day and balance with other fluids. Drink a few glasses of water or milk prior to feeding and sip on juices while your baby sucks on your breast.

6. Strategise, Just Like Morning Sickness

These instances of nausea are quite similar to the ones you’d have experienced when you were pregnant. You can resort to using the same techniques you used to keep nausea at bay. This could include smelling a soap or keeping some fragrance close to you as well.

7. Oral Rehydration

In case your nausea proceeds to vomiting, you may be at risk of dehydration. Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. Contact a doctor to ensure that you or your baby are not at risk. Also, take oral rehydration solution if recommended by the doctor.

Home Remedies for Nausea During Breastfeeding

Medicines are best avoided to treat nausea especially when breastfeeding. Here are some quick remedies you can use.

1. Peppermint

Chew on some peppermint leaves as the juice helps your stomach relax and assists in food digestion as well.

2. Probiotic Milk

This is not only refreshing to have but tastes pretty good, too. Having it on an empty stomach every morning can help with nausea effectively.

Probiotic Milk

3. Ginger

Ginger can be consumed either in the form of tea or other products as well as various ginger tablets that are available. The process of chewing is necessary though.

4. Lemon

Squeeze fresh lemon juice into a glass of warm water and drink it slowly. Lemon’s natural acidity can help ease nausea and improve digestion.

5. Fennel Seeds

Chew on a few fennel seeds after breastfeeding. Fennel seeds have carminative properties that can aid in reducing nausea and bloating.

When to Consult the Doctor?

Experiencing nausea while breastfeeding can be unsettling but is often a temporary and manageable issue. However, there are situations where it’s crucial to seek medical advice to ensure both the mother’s and the baby’s well-being. Here are two key instances when consulting a doctor for nausea during breastfeeding is recommended:

  • If the nausea is persistent, severe, or accompanied by other concerning symptoms such as vomiting, dehydration, fainting, or severe abdominal pain, it’s important to consult a healthcare provider promptly. These could be signs of an underlying medical condition that needs evaluation and treatment.
  • If the nausea is so severe that it significantly impacts your ability to breastfeed or affects your milk supply, it’s advisable to seek medical advice. Ensuring the baby is adequately nourished and thriving is a top priority, and a healthcare provider can offer guidance on managing both nausea and breastfeeding effectively.

FAQs

1. Can Breastfeeding Make You Nauseous?

While nausea is not a common side effect of breastfeeding, it can occasionally happen. Hormonal changes, fatigue, and other factors may contribute to mild nausea in some breastfeeding mothers. However, if you experience persistent or severe nausea, it’s essential to consult a healthcare provider to rule out any underlying issues.

2. Can Medicines or Supplements Make You Nauseous While Breastfeeding?

Yes, certain medicines or supplements can potentially cause nausea in breastfeeding mothers. It’s important to inform your healthcare provider about your breastfeeding status before taking any new medications or supplements. They can help you choose safe options that won’t negatively impact you or your baby’s health. If you experience nausea after taking a medication or supplement, consult your healthcare provider for guidance on how to manage it.

The return of nausea even after delivery can be a cause of worry for new mothers. Nausea and breastfeeding mostly go hand in hand. If you’re wondering what to take for nausea while breastfeeding, the best bet is to keep medicines away and opt for techniques and natural remedies to counter it. Within no time, nausea will fade away and the joy of motherhood will be yours to experience.

References/Resources:

1. Lee. N, Saha. S; Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy; National Library of Medicine; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3676933/; June 2011

2. Paritakul. P, Ruangrongmorakot. K, Laosooksathit. W, Suksamarnwong. M, Puapornpong. P; The Effect of Ginger on Breast Milk Volume in the Early Postpartum Period: A Randomized, Double-Blind Controlled Trial; National Library of Medicine; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27505611/; August 2016

3. Drugs and lactation Database: Peppermint; National Library of Medicine; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK501851/

4. Pregnant and Breastfeeding; La Leche League GB; https://www.laleche.org.uk/pregnant-and-breastfeeding/

5. Get Nauseous After Taking Vitamins? 6 Tips to Make Them Easier to Stomach; Cleveland Clinic; https://health.clevelandclinic.org/get-nauseous-after-taking-vitamins-6-tips-to-make-them-easier-to-stomach/

6. Liu. A, Chen. S, Jena. P, et al.; Probiotics Improve Gastrointestinal Function and Life Quality in Pregnancy; National Library of Medicine; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8624890/; November 2021

7. Steele. N, French. J, Gatherer-Boyles. J, Newman. S, Leclaire. S; Effect of Acupressure by Sea-Bands
on Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy; JOGNN Clinical Studies; https://www.poison.org/-/media/files/pdf-for-article-dowloads-and-refs/steele-et-al-effect-of-acupressure-by-sea-bands.pdf 

8. Bardosono. S, Prasmusinto. D, Hadiati. D, et al.; Fluid Intake of Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women in Indonesia: A Cross-Sectional Survey with a Seven-Day Fluid Specific Record; National Library of Medicine; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5133054/; November 2016

Also Read:

Hives while Breastfeeding
Itchy Breast when Breastfeeding
Sore Throat during Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding Problems & Their Solutions

Previous article «
Next article »