Food and Nutrition

Is It Safe to Eat Spicy Food During Breastfeeding?

Ambili S Kartha
0 to 1 years

Created by Ambili S Kartha
Updated on Jan 22, 2022

Is It Safe to Eat Spicy Food During Breastfeeding
Reviewed by Expert panel

Do you often have a craving to have something spicy while you are breastfeeding your baby? But you are advised not to have too much of spicy food or rather avoid it altogether. So let’s see why should you avoid spicy food while breastfeeding.

Does Spicy Flavor Change The Taste Of Breast Milk?

Yes. The studies have proven that strong spices and its flavor influence the smell and the taste of the breast milk. According to ABC News,

  1. Scientists in Denmark conducted a study among 18 lactating women to prove the effect of intake of strong spice by the lactating mother on their breast milk. They fed various flavored capsules to the lactating mothers. Here are the results.
    • Licorice flavor peaked strongly in breast milk two hours after the capsule
    • The caraway seed flavor also peaked strongly in breast milk two hours after consuming the capsule
    • Mint appears in the breast milk at lower concentrations during the initial hours but found to increase six hours after the ingestion
  2. However, when the researchers tried a banana flavor, the essence of banana, by no means, get into the breast milk

Also, according to the book, Breastfeeding and Human Lactation, by Jan Riordan and Karen Wambach, consumption of garlic while lactating, gives mother's milk a garlic flavor. It also said that some babies prefer this flavored milk and thus, they drink more milk after their mother eats some strong garlic-flavored food. It also proved that including garlic in the diet of the mother can boost the baby's appetite.

Is Eating Spicy Food During Breastfeeding Has A Negative Impact on The Baby?

There is no relevant affirmation that the spicy food will harm your baby. However, consider that the baby's organs and their functioning are underdeveloped to a great extent during the initial months. Therefore, some foods that get passed to the baby through breast milk may be difficult for him to digest and assimilate. This can create issues. Your baby may experience several potential negative effects if you include a lot of spicy food in your diet while breastfeeding.

Here are a few possibilities.

  1. Baby Can Develop Allergy to Certain Spices: Very rarely, babies develop an allergic reaction to some spices. Therefore, if you find some signs of allergies, like skin rashes, after eating a particular spice stop having it for a few days and try it out again. If again the baby shows an allergic reaction, avoid the spice fully until you breastfeed your baby.
  2. Baby Can Develop Colic: Some spicy food can develop Colic, which is defined as abdominal pain in early infancy that end up with an inconsolable episode of crying
  3. Can Cause Stomach Upset: Sometimes, spicy food creates stomach issues like gas formation in baby making them fuzzy
  4. Increase the Appetite of Baby: It is found that if the mother eats a certain food (especially garlic) baby likes the flavor of the breast milk and their appetite is increased and they tend to feed longer. This has both a positive and negative effect. The baby can turn fuzzy if he or she does not get enough milk to ease their appetite

How Can We Understand Spicy Food Is Affecting The Baby?

If the mother eats spicy food and the baby develops following signs after being breastfed, we can assume the spicy food is affecting the baby.

  1. Baby cries inconsolably as the spicy foods that enter the breast milk may sometimes cause the gas formation and digestive issues
  2. If the baby develops diarrhea after every time breastfed after mother eats spicy food
  3. If the baby sleeps little and wakes up crying inconsolably soon after putting him to sleep after feeding
  4. The baby turns fuzzy only after breastfeeding him following a spicy course of the meal
  5. If the baby refuses to feed
  6. If the baby develops hives and rashes on the skin

Does Eating Spicy Food During Breastfeeding Benefits Baby?

In spite of the fact that spicy food creates some issues in the breastfed baby, there are also some positive outcomes...

  1. Makes Weaning Easier: Once the baby is used to different flavors of breast milk ( influenced by the foods the mother eats) he or she might show more interest to try those flavors when it comes time to begin weaning. Thus, the baby will be less picky once the mother eats spicy food while nursing.
  2. Improve Baby’s Skill to Taste: Baby’s taste buds will be more skilled to detect different flavor and tastes
  3. Minimize the Chances of Developing Stomach Issues Later on: As the baby is exposed to different spices from the early stage itself, the chances of developing digestion issues later in their life is reduced.
  4. Baby Starts to Eat Better Later on: Unlike the formula fed baby who is drinking milk with same flavor and consistency, the breastfed baby is more exposed to different flavors and tastes from the early stage of his or her life. This will help them to easily get used to different foods once solid food is introduced. The breastfed babies start to accept the different flavor

Concluding it down to the following points below...

  1. The mother doesn’t have to avoid her favorite spicy cuisines and switch on to bland food just because she is breastfeeding
  2. It is better to avoid too hot and spicy dishes as it can induce heartburn which you want to avoid when your baby needs your complete attention
  3. Don’t start spicy food suddenly while breastfeeding indenting to introduce a world of flavor to your baby if you are not used to it
  4. Instead, try different types of food with only some degree of spice. Similarly no need to stop eating spicy dishes if you are used to it
  5. If the baby shows discomforts after feeding him after a spicy lunch or dinner, try taking a milder diet for subsequent days thereby, giving the baby a little more time to get used to it.
  6. Trial and error method is preferred when it comes to the diet of the mother while breastfeeding
  7. Correlate a child’s behavior with the food you eat
  8. Slowly you will come to understand which all food is problematic for your baby

Did you like the blog on spicy food during pregnancy? Please do share your views and feedback with us in the comments section below.

This content has been checked & validated by Doctors and Experts of the parentune Expert panel. Our panel consists of Neonatologist, Gynecologist, Peadiatrician, Nutritionist, Child Counselor, Education & Learning Expert, Physiotherapist, Learning disability Expert and Developmental Pead.

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| Oct 30, 2017

Very informative and helpful for new mothers

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| Oct 30, 2017


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| Oct 30, 2017

I have observed that during initial stages,Toor Dal and raw banana gave lots of problem to my lo. As days progressed she got used to them.

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| Feb 12, 2018

There is no important assertion that the hot nourishment will hurt your child. In any case, think about that the child's organs and their working are immature, as it were, amid the underlying months. Accordingly, a few nourishment that get go to the infant through the bosom drain might be troublesome for him to process and absorb. This can make issues. Your infant may encounter a few potential negative impacts in the event that you incorporate a great deal of fiery sustenance in your eating routine while breastfeeding. For more information please visit-

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| Feb 22, 2020

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| Jul 15, 2020

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