A well-balanced diet and proper hydration can help keep you and your breast-feeding baby healthy. Although vegetables provide rich amounts of vital nutrients and water, the American Pregnancy Association recommends avoiding certain varieties to prevent excessive gassiness in your little one. Most foods containing carbohydrates produce gas during digestion, but compounds in certain vegetables trigger higher amounts. Gassiness can also derive from sensitivities to foods, such as dairy products. Seek guidance from your doctor if your breastfed baby has severe gas.
Least Gaseous Vegetables
Foods affect people differently, but overall, lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, okra and asparagus are among the least gaseous vegetables. As low-calorie, water-rich vegetables, they can also help you shed excess pounds after breast-feeding. Throughout breast-feeding, aim for at least 2,000 calories per day or, ideally, 500 calories more than you ate before you were pregnant. Avocados, a low-gas, calorie-dense fruit, can help add those calories and healthy fat for you and your baby as part of your nursing diet. One-half cup of pureed avocado supplies nearly 200 calories. Olives also provide healthy fat and produce little gas.
Moderate Gas Producers
Potatoes and eggplant tend to promote moderate amounts of gas. Depending on how your body and your baby's react, you may need to limit in your nursing diet or avoid them. Because potato peels are rich in fiber, which can cause or worsen gas and diarrhea, skinless potatoes provide a less gaseous alternative when excess gas or diarrhea is present. Choose grilled, boiled or baked eggplant and potatoes over fatty dishes, such as eggplant Parmesan and french fries. Fatty foods can delay stomach emptying, increasing gas-related bloating and discomfort.
Beans and lentils provide valuable amounts of vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. While suddenly increasing your fiber intake can cause digestive upset, a healthy diet contains 25 to 30 grams per day, according to the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, and most adults in the U.S. consume too little. In addition to gradually increasing your intake of fiber-rich foods such as legumes, soaking beans and lentils for a few hours and then rinsing them before cooking can prevent excess gas in your nursing diet. This process reduces the amount of natural sugars legumes contain, which commonly promote gassiness.
Pureed Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous are among the gassiest vegetables, but that doesn't mean they can't fit into a gas-minimizing diet. Pureeing cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower expands the surface area of the food particles, increasing contact with digestive enzymes as they travel through your intestinal tract. This makes these foods more absorbable and less likely to cause gassiness. Cook then puree cruciferous veggies in your blender or food processor for use in sauces and soups. You can also add pureed vegetables to baked goods, such as cakes and muffins, in place of shortening for increased moisture and nutrient content.
- BabyCenter: Will My Breastfed Baby Get Gas if I Eat Certain Foods?
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Gas in the Digestive Tract
- University of Michigan Health System: Helpful Hints for Controlling Gas (Flatus)
- MedlinePlus: When You Have Diarrhea
- University of California San Francisco Medical Center: Increasing Fiber Intake
- U.S. News & World Report: 5 Ways to Fight Flatulence
- Dietitian on the Run: Fruit for Fat -- Baking Without the Crisco
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Avocados, Raw, California
- American Pregnancy Association: Diet Considerations While Breastfeeding
- NIH: When breastfeeding, how many calories should moms and babies consume?