Parents often struggle to feed their infants due to their picky eating habits. Medical advisers have said this is related to the strict diet followed by women during their pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
Many women worldwide avoid spicy food during this period due to a pervasive myth that having strong flavours may cause fussiness and excessive gas in infants.
However, medical advisors have said women should consume food of a variety of flavours during this stage mainly because it helps in enhancing infants' taste buds.
"Breastfed babies are generally easier to feed later because they've had this kind of varied experience of different flavours from their very first stages of life, whereas a formula-fed baby has a uniform experience," Lucy Cooke, a senior research associate at University College London, told the New York Times.
"The absolute key thing is repeated exposure to a variety of different flavours as soon as you can possibly manage; that is a great thing for food acceptance," she added.
In a similar vein, Dr Paula Meier, professor of paediatrics and nursing at Rush University Medical Center, said infants may get accustomed to the flavours mothers eat during their pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
Meanwhile, Dr Jennifer Wider, medical advisor for the Society for Women's Health Research, explained why babies will not be affected by the spicy food consumed by their mothers.
"It's important to remember that breast milk is not formulated directly from the digestive tract, it is formulated from the mother's blood. So if [a nursing mom] eats cruciferous vegetables, for example, the nutrients will be pulled into the breast milk but the gassy component may not affect the baby," Wider told Daily Mail Online.
"Certain cultures consume an abundance of spicy foods or foods with strong herbs, and spices and women have successfully breastfed for generations," the medical advisor said, adding, "That's not to say that infants aren't sensitive to certain foods, every baby is different."
Wider also said women should have a well-balanced diet while nursing, as it is important for the baby's growth. According to her, the nursing mother should also take their prenatal vitamins during this period.
Here are the four types of food women should have while breastfeeding:
- Green leafy vegetables: They are good source of vitamin A and it helps in boosting immune system. Vegetables like broccoli and spinach also helps lungs, kidney and the heart to work properly.
- Lean beef: It is a good source of energy and protein. Lean beef also helps in producing breast milk.
- Salmon and anchovies: They help in developing baby's nervous system as they are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acid.
- Whole wheat bread: It is a good source of folic acid, which is a very important nutrient for babies' growth.