Can I Eat Spicy Food While Breastfeeding?

  • We study truths and myths about eating spicy food while nursing 
  • Find out if (or how) spicy food affects the taste of breastmilk 
  • Know the good and bad effects spicy food may have on a baby 
  • Ultimately eating or abstaining from spicy food is mom’s choice

Do you love spicy food?

Are you nursing a baby or getting ready to start nursing?

Can you eat spicy food when breastfeeding your child?

If you’re thinking of breastfeeding or are already doing so, you may be wondering whether or not it’s okay for you to consume spicy foods. You may have even heard that your baby might not eat as well if you’ve recently eaten something spicy or that you could cause your child to have stomach issues from spicy foods in your own diet.

So how true is all of this?

In this article, we’ll explain the truths and myths of spicy food as it relates to breastfeeding. You’ll be able to make a solid decision based on information and facts and choose what’s best for you and your baby both.

So let’s get started!

Can spicy food affect the smell and taste of breast milk?

One of the most common rumors about breastfeeding is that the foods a mother eats can affect the flavor of her milk. When it comes to spicy food, there is a chance that this could happen, but the change in the flavor of the milk is not likely to be significant enough to affect how a baby eats.

 can you eat spicy food when breastfeeding

Studies have shown that some strong flavors can come through in breast milk. In one study that took place in Denmark, nursing moms who consumed licorice, for example, had a noticeable licorice flavor in their breast milk a few hours later. Because of this, it’s safe to assume that spicy flavors may slightly change the taste of breast milk.

However, there have been no studies that have shown children will stop nursing if their mothers’ milk starts to taste a little spicy.

Negative effects of spicy food on nursing babies

“Okay, so spicy food probably won’t affect milk flavor, but can I eat spicy food while breastfeeding a baby with a sensitive stomach?”

“Are there any other negative effects I should consider when choosing whether or not to eat spicy foods while nursing my baby?”

There are some potential negative effects your baby may experience if you eat a lot of spicy food in your diet. Here are a few possibilities:

Fussiness after feeding: 

If your baby is often fussy after you’ve had spicy food, there’s a good chance the spice is upsetting your child’s stomach. If you notice this becoming a trend, wait a few days and then slowly try spicy foods again to see if they cause a problem.

Allergies to spices: 

Although it’s rare, your baby could have an allergy to a specific spice. If you eat something you haven’t tried while nursing your baby and notice your baby developing a rash, he or she may have an allergy to a specific spice. Wait a few days and then introduce small amounts of the spice back into your diet to see if it happens again. If so, stop eating it while nursing.

a specific spice

Increased appetite: 

This may not necessarily be a bad thing, but some spices have been shown to increase a baby’s appetite. And in some situations, that may lead your baby to become fussier because he or she is still hungry after a normal feeding. It could also lead to more nighttime wakefulness as your baby stays hungry throughout the night.

Positive effects of spicy food on nursing babies

While there are a few negative possible outcomes from eating spicy food while you’re nursing, there are also some potential positive effects your baby might experience from this as well. Check out this list of some positives you might not have expected from your spicy food experience.

eat spicy food when breastfeeding

More flavor in breast milk may make weaning easier later on. If your baby is used to the flavors of the foods you eat, he or she may be more willing to try those foods when it comes time to start weaning. You may have a much less picky baby on your hands if you eat spicy food while you’re nursing.

Some spices and smells can improve your baby’s tasting experience. Your child may be more interested in nursing when the flavor of the milk is a little varied. Some spices can make milk smell nicer, too, which may cause it to be more enticing to your baby.

Exposure to spices may help your baby avoid stomach issues later on. While some spices could cause your baby’s stomach to become upset, others may actually help fortify your child against this problem as he or she gets older.


“So can I eat spicy foods while breastfeeding?” Yes—if you want to!

In the end, the decision to eat spicy foods when breastfeeding is one you’ll have to make for yourself. There are no significant reasons why you should avoid these foods unless your child has a lot of stomach problems or allergic reactions to your milk, but you still may want to limit spices in your diet if you want to remove this potential risk completely.

Many nursing moms continue to enjoy spicy foods throughout the breastfeeding experience with no ill results. Remember that moms who live in countries where spicy food is the norm have been eating these types of ingredients for centuries while happily nursing their babies!

If you want to eat spicy food while nursing, give it a try. Just remember to pay close attention to your baby so you can notice any ill effects that may occur.

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