After giving birth, Malaysian mothers typically have long lists of food to eat and to avoid, depending on their culture and practices. Whether or not you choose to follow the pantang (taboos) it is absolutely vital that you maintain a healthy balanced diet especially when breastfeeding to gain essential nutrients. While your body is efficient at making milk regular meals also help to maintain milk levels.
That said, because not all babies react to the same, here are some common Malaysian foods you might want to avoid when breastfeeding.
Ginger, garlic and chilli
Ginger is another staple of confinement dishes, and while some claim that the heatiness causes jaundice to worsen a newborn, there’s also the issue that spices generally cause gas which may cause for your baby to feel uncomfortable.
Alcohol and dishes with alcohol
Alcohol is a main staple in Chinese confinement, and some may believe that it really does help to be a little drunk during those first few difficult weeks! But you may want to take it easy the first couple of weeks as some doctors believe that alcohol can worsen jaundice in a newborn. After the first month, the keyword is moderation!
Some fish is very high in mercury which can find its way into your milk supply. Fish like salmon, catfish, cod, tilapia, shrimp, pollock and canned light tuna are considered safe.
Limes, oranges, lemon and grapefruit
While we may want to snack on citrus fruit as an easy source of Vitamin C, some babies can get diarrhea from it. Because citrus fruits are rather acidic, they can irritate baby’s gastrointestinal tract and cause fussiness, gastrointestinal reflux, sensitive skin and also diaper rash. Replace with pineapple, mango and leafy greens!
Many believe that if a breastfeeding mother drinks milk, her milk becomes “better”. However, some babies are allergic to a protein in cow’s milk leading to vomiting, diarrhea, reflux and eczema. So best to avoid drinking generic fresh milk.
This article first appeared on Asian Parent