Foods That Make Breast Milk Taste Bad (8 Foods You Should Avoid)

Have you ever doubt the taste or smell of your breast milk? Does it sometimes taste just a little “off” and you’re wondering why? Many moms experience this, don’t worry. This article is for you, you’re not alone!

Breastfeeding your baby can be an amazing alternative if you’re looking to deepen the bond that you share with your baby. It can also be a lot of work especially if you’re a first-time mother, there may be certain mistakes that you’ll make – like eating the wrong foods that are irritating your baby’s sensitive system!

If your baby’s been fussing more than usual, it may be because you’re eating certain foods that are making your breast milk tasteless than spectacular. Therefore, in this article, we will be sharing with you things that can impact your milk and also 8 foods that make breast milk taste bad. Read on…

8 Foods That Make Breast Milk Taste Bad


Human milk varies in taste, smell, and appearance depending on your diet, medications, and storage techniques.

Regardless of these differences, your milk is sweet, powerful, and unique and it’s always the best food for your baby. Below are some foods that can impact your breast milk’s smell, taste, and appearance.

1. Eating Asparagus

Asparagus is one of those veggies that you either love or hate. Although, asparagus is rich in chlorophyll and vitamins, and detoxifies, it has its side effect.

According to Breastfeeding Quest, asparagus is not only capable of making urine smell bad, giving it an unmistakable odor, but it also impacts breast milk taste.

As a nursing mother, if you decide to eat asparagus for your health and enjoy the fact that it is an inexpensive veggie that is easy to cook. When it’s time to breastfeed your baby, you might be surprised to see your baby turning up her face.

However, you can encourage your baby to drink asparagus-tinged breast milk if you ate enough of the vegetable when pregnant. But if your baby is still unwilling to drink your breast milk after you’ve consumed asparagus, then you might want to take the asparagus off your list.

2. Spicy Food

spicy food

Many mothers love to consume a lot of spicy food while pregnant and after giving birth. Both can cause serious heartburn and acid reflux. Once your baby is out of the womb, you might want to exercise some caution when it comes to eating loads of spicy food.

This because your baby simply might not be able to handle the heat and eating spicy foods can change the taste of your breast milk.

Unless your baby was exposed to spicy food all the time in the womb, they are more than likely going to pass on through your breast milk.

The capsaicin in peppers is responsible for the trademark flavor that sets your mouth on fire. When the baby gets a bit of breast milk tainted with a side of stew pepper, it can lead to acid reflux, upset tummies, and a fussy and unhappy baby.

The ACSH (American Council on Science and Health) recommends taking caution when it comes to those hot stew peppers.

3. Drinking Wine

alcohol in breastfed baby

Sometimes being a mother can be challenging and might make you want to pick up a bottle of wine to relax. The fact is drinking alcohol while breastfeeding is not a good idea.

As you should know, anything you choose to eat or drink ends up in breast milk. So, if you have been drinking, a good amount of alcohol is floating in your breast milk.

Most babies will snub tainted milk, but babies who are fed with breast milk containing alcohol can risk poisoning, becoming sleepy, or have other health issues if the mother is not careful.

 Read Also: What Happens If Baby Drinks Breast Milk With Alcohol

4. Eating Seafood


Fish may have some health advantages, but just as a mother needs to take caution eating fish while pregnant, she still needs to be careful about the fish on her plate if she decides to breastfeed.

Due to factors like man-made pollution, climate change, and fishing practices, a mother might not be solely eating fish alone.

Plastics in the sea leech into the water, and frequently become part of a fish’s food supply. It is not an unusual sight to see fish having bits of colorful plastic hiding in their guts. Some harmful toxins like PCBs, dioxides, and other contaminants lurk in fish.

As a nursing mother, it is best advised to choose fish that have lower levels of mercury poisoning, and less exposure to contaminants.

The CDC(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention),  states that mercury can be transmitted to your baby through pregnancy and your breast milk. This exposure can affect the development of your baby’s brain and nervous system.

5. Eating Garlic


Feeding baby milk that contains garlic can make the baby want to run for the hills. Garlic is a very strong herb, and although it has some medicinal properties like fighting off colds, and making dishes more flavorful, it can also make breast milk suck, a lot.

If you’re a nursing mother that enjoys eating a lot of garlic-based dishes or is constantly throwing garlic into your food, you might want to cool it.

Unless your baby was exposed to lots of garlic while developing in your womb, they might have an adverse reaction and will make your baby snub any breast milk offered.

According to Verywell Family, while it is safe to eat garlic while breastfeeding your baby, too much of it may give a baby colic.

If you notice any change, it is best advised to take a break for a while from the well-loved (or hated) herb. Nursing mothers can store garlic-free breast milk in the fridge for later use, too.

6. Eating Too Much Organ Meats


Meals like liver and onions may be a thing for some moms during their pregnancy and while breastfeeding. However, if a breastfeeding mother decides to consume a lot of organ meats, albeit nutrient-rich, there is a risk that she may pass on toxins to her baby through breast milk.

As a nursing mother, you need to be choosy about where to buy your meats and might want to keep it to a minimum in your diet.

According to the WHO (World Health Organization), organ meats, like kidneys and liver, are a great source of iron. However, it is recommended to avoid consuming too much of it while breastfeeding, so you avoid an excessive intake of vitamin A.

7. Coffee


When preparing for a baby, most mothers are advised to forgo their usual morning cup of Joe because caffeine and pregnancy don’t go together. If you’re planning to breastfeed, you should avoid caffeinated beverages, as these can change the taste of breast milk and make the baby restless and jittery.

8. Dairy


Certain types of dairy for example milk – are full of proteins and that can be hard to digest, and for babies with delicate digestive systems, too much exposure to these proteins may make the baby cranky and irritable.

Therefore, once you notice that your baby is experiencing trouble sleeping and is more irritated than usual, consider removing dairy from your diet. By doing so, ensures that your baby stays happy throughout the day!

Read Also: 8 Foods That Make Breast Milk Taste Good

Other Things That Can Impact Your Breast Milk

1. Storage Methods

The way you store your breast milk can affect its smell, taste, and appearance. Your baby might give you a funny face, or flat out refuse to drink the milk that was previously frozen. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), storing breast milk in the freezer is a great way to protect the quality of the milk, and prevents it from going bad or being wasted.

However, it is likely for the milk to separate into layers, affecting its taste. Hence, proper care must also be taken about bottle cleanliness, and storage and defrosting of milk for improved quality and taste.

Read Also: How To Properly Store Breast Milk

2. Taking Certain Medications

Being a mom is not easy, especially if you have health conditions that require taking medications. If you’re breastfeeding and your child is not feeding well, your medication may be the reason your baby doesn’t like drinking your milk.

According to NIH (National Institutes of Health), most commonly used medications are typically safe for babies who are breastfed. A medical professional can also assess the mother’s health and her ability to nurse and then choose a proper switch in dosage or medication type so that the baby won’t be running away from the mother whenever she wants to nurse.

However, according to Medela, certain drugs may affect how breast milk tastes and smells. As a nursing mother, it is best advised to consult with your doctor for more information. And remember, if you’re taking any drug that doesn’t allow you to breastfeed, you can switch to the formula!

3. Contaminated Water

Although municipal water supplies try their best to provide clean and safe water for the public, there are still contaminants that manage to get through.

As there are situations around the globe where people become ill or suffer long-lasting health complications from drinking poor quality water, getting a filter should be a must-have.

Water is needed for all our daily activities, from cooking, cleaning, drinking, and bathing. As a nursing mother, if you drink water that is contaminated with lead, arsenic, heavy metals, or even traces of pharmaceutical drugs, you can pass on bad milk to your baby.

The baby might reject to drink breast milk if enough toxins have built up in your tissues over time. According to Clearly Filtered, contaminated water is not only an issue of taste, but toxins in water can add to delays in development for the baby, even before the baby is born.

4. Pesticides And Herbicides

Nursing mothers should consume organic foods that have not been exposed to herbicides or pesticides. Even though pesticides have been used on produce for a long time, and were generally accepted for public use, times have changed.

Evidence of developmental delays, birth defects, and negative effects on human health has been linked to various chemicals sprayed on growing plants. Glyphosate has been subjected to several attacks for its long-term impact on human health.

It may seem inconvenient, overly difficult, or costly to not eat foods with herbicides and pesticides. However, investing in your health as much as possible is vital during breastfeeding because whatever you eat ends up in your breast milk.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), pesticides can wind up in breast milk, so it’s best advised to avoid duties that involve pesticide exposure.

5. High Levels Of Lipase

The enzyme lipase plays a major role in helping the baby digest mom’s breast milk. However, when there is a higher amount of lipase in breast milk, it can leave the baby with a sour taste in their mouth, reports Exclusive Pumping.

Lipase doesn’t pose any threat to a nursing baby, but some babies will turn up their face because it causes breast milk to taste sour or off.

If your lipase levels are out of control, and your baby keeps snubbing your breast milk, then you should consult your doctor or a lactation consultant.

Also, the level of Lipase can increase dramatically if a mother has an inflamed pancreas, tumors in the pancreas, or if there is something wrong with her stomach. Breastfeeding mothers should check further for abnormally high lipase levels, if their expressed breast milk tastes or smells like soap, or just smells rank.

Read Also: Why Does My Breast Milk Taste Salty

6. Smoking

Smoking is not good for your health. Not only is smoking unhealthy for your teeth, skin, and hair, as a nursing mother smoking is not good for the baby. Women should not smoke while pregnant.

According to Healthline, smoking gives the baby harmful chemicals through breast milk. It also presents adverse side effects for the baby too, like altered sleep patterns or increased risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Consult your doctor if you’re having trouble quitting or need advice on where to start.

7. Being Stressed Out

Being in a sour mood can sour your breast milk. Feeling depressed or too worried can trigger hormonal responses in your body. These hormonal responses can adversely impact the quality of your breast milk supply.

UT Southwestern Medical Center says that the number one killer of breast milk supply is stress, especially during those first few weeks after giving birth. As a nursing mother, you must get enough rest to ensure an amazing feeding session with the baby.

Life can be difficult when shuffling work responsibilities, taking care of the house, and the new baby. Newborns can be quite a handful, so you should enlist some help when needed.

8. Items In Your Makeup Bag

Mothers who decide to nurse certainly should be wary about the type of makeup they use and take precautions about the food and water that they consume too. This is because there is a risk of toxin buildup in body tissues like skin, hair, and also breast milk from heavy metals.

Some pharmaceutical drugs can contain heavy metals which can accumulate in the mother’s tissues and impact her breast milk. The metals nursing mothers should be wary to be about most are lead, mercury, arsenic, phthalates, dioxins, and petroleum byproducts.

A report from Safe Makeup Project, says nursing mothers should avoid octinoxate and oxybenzone while breastfeeding as the products that contain these, like sunscreen or lipstick, can interfere with hormone functions.

As a nursing mother, if you decide to consume things with a high count of heavy metals, know that it can be passed onto your breast milk, and to the baby.

9. Pollution

Unfortunately, we live in a world full of air pollution, water pollution, and soil pollution. Due to advancements in modern technology, our planet is overrun with plastics, petroleum-based byproducts, and the exhaust from cars.

Since greenhouse emissions continue to contribute to environmental change, declining human and animal health, which can adversely affect breast milk.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), “breast milk is not routinely tested for ecological pollutants,” and nursing would be impacted if a nursing mother was “clinically ill after being exposed to toxic compounds”.

As a nursing mother, you can make the best possible choice such as – using an air filter at home, filtering water, avoid being caught up around heavy car traffic, and avoiding food with a lot of contaminants can go a long way.

Whatever pollution you are exposed to can affect the taste and quality of your breast milk, and your baby may find a reason to avoid nursing.

Read Also: Indian Foods To Increase Breast Milk (12 Foods To Try)

I hope this article has enlightened you more on foods that make breast milk taste bad? It is important to put into consideration the foods you eat while you nurse because the food you eat directly can affect the taste of your breast milk, and if your baby tastes something they don’t like, they may find a reason not to feed or have difficulty feeding.

If you have any questions or would like to share some other experiences with breastfeeding, drop your comment or suggestion down below. We would love to hear it