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How Long Does it Take for the Food I Eat to Reach My Breast Milk?

author image Carolyn Robbins
Carolyn Robbins began writing in 2006. Her work appears on various websites and covers various topics including neuroscience, physiology, nutrition and fitness. Robbins graduated with a bachelor of science degree in biology and theology from Saint Vincent College.
How Long Does it Take for the Food I Eat to Reach My Breast Milk?
A young woman breastfeeding her baby.

Breastfeeding establishes an intimate connection between mother and child. It's common for nursing mothers to worry about whether their diet affects the baby. If your child is consistently fussy a few hours after you eat certain foods, you may need to modify your diet. Talk to your physician first, though. It's important to eat a diverse diet when you are nursing, and you shouldn't eliminate foods or food groups unless it is really necessary.

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The time it takes for nutrients to infiltrate your breast milk depends on several factors including your metabolism, body chemistry, the frequency of nursing sessions and the type of food. The process can take anywhere from one to 24 hours, although the average is four to six hours, according to international board certified lactation consultant, Anne Smith.


An exclusively breastfed baby gets all of his nutrition from the milk you produce. Consequently, a well-balanced diet is critical for the health of you and your child. Talk to your physician about taking a prenatal or multivitamin to cover any gaps in your diet.

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