Eating chocolate during breastfeeding is a concern of many mothers. It might be challenging to give up this delicious treat.
Can You Eat Chocolate While Breastfeeding?
Let’s face it: no one will tell you that chocolate brings any nutritional value to your breast milk. So, you don’t really need to eat it. But can you? The short answer is yes, as long as you do it in moderation.
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There might even be some benefits for your overall well being in eating chocolate, thanks to the cocoa powder found in this delicious treat. However, these benefits apply more to women who are not breastfeeding, since everything in chocolate will go in the breast milk.
Chocolate contains theobromine or coffee, among other ingredients. We discussed the effects of coffee on your baby, and the coffee you get from chocolate makes no exception. See how well your baby sleeps and if they are more gassy than usual after you eat chocolate.
If these side effects appear, you might want to eliminate it from your diet or reduce it significantly. Chocolate is also rich in processed sugar, which is not something your baby should have in excess.
Even if you might get some benefits from the high concentration of cocoa powder in some types of chocolate, these are not good for your baby.
If you like chocolate so much that you find it hard to give it up completely, you might be able to enjoy it in certain conditions, as a breastfeeding mother.
Why and how to consume chocolate if you are breastfeeding?
- First of all, you should consider consuming chocolate 3 hours before breastfeeding. This will keep its dangerous ingredients out of your breast milk by the time your baby has their next meal.
- If you choose to consume dark chocolate, you will enjoy many of the benefits found in cocoa. To get these nutrients, you should consume the type of chocolate that has more than 70% cocoa. Dark chocolate might even decrease the risk of heart disease. This type of chocolate has fiber, iron, magnesium, and other minerals. Dark chocolate is generally considered safer for your baby as well because it doesn’t have the high sugar and fat level, milk chocolate has.
- Also, dark chocolate can improve blood flow. As a result that you will have lower blood pressure. When you eat dark chocolate, you enjoy the flavanols which increase the nitric oxide in your arteries. This is due to the high concentration of cocoa that can be found in chocolate. Better blood flow will help your body produce more milk, and you will feel better as you are breastfeeding as well.
- Cocoa found in dark chocolate can help your brain stay healthy. It has the same effect as caffeine. This chocolate will keep your brain alert and improve memory as well as concentration. You should eat your dark chocolate immediately after you breastfeed your baby. This will assure you that it will be out of your system by the time you need to breastfeed again.
Why is chocolate not good for your baby?
- The cons of eating chocolate come from eating an unhealthy type of chocolate. An example of that is white chocolate or chocolate with a low amount of cocoa and an increased amount of sugar and other artificial ingredients.
- This type of chocolate is high in sugar, which can increase heart disease risk, among other health risks. It is not suitable for you, and it is not good for your baby. Plus, sugar is addictive, and you don’t want your baby to start craving it from such a young age.
- It is also high in saturated fats. This type of fat can add to the cholesterol level and increase your risk of heart disease too. Your baby doesn’t need saturated fats either as it doesn’t bring them any benefits.
- It can keep your baby awake and irritable. If you overeat chocolate, the sugar in it, as well as the caffeine or theobromine, will affect your baby’s sleep and natural metabolism. They will be too energized and hard to manage, especially during the night.
The theobromine is known to remain in breast milk for up to 3 hours after it is consumed. So, if you want to eat some chocolate, don’t do it right before you are about to feed your baby or express the milk using the best breastpump ahead of time for your baby’s next meal.
As we stated previously, eating chocolate should be done 3 hours minimum before breastfeeding.
- “11 Health and Nutrition Benefits of Cocoa Powder”. Accessed December 04, 2019. Link.
- “Thursday Tip: Chocolate and Breastfeeding | La Leche League Canada – Mother-to-Mother Breastfeeding Support and Information”. Accessed December 04, 2019. Link.
- “Breast milk distribution of theobromine from chocolate. – PubMed – NCBI”. Accessed December 04, 2019. Link.