When you were pregnant, you probably had to sacrifice your favorite foods and drinks because they could harm your baby. You may have even gone cold turkey on coffee, alcohol, sushi rolls, and all kinds of junk food. But now that the baby is born and you're breastfeeding, it's time to let loose a little bit. Or is it? Can you indulge in chocolate without fear of harming your newborn's health? Let's investigate.
Chocolate – A Brief Introduction
Chocolate has been around for thousands of years and has always been a social delicacy. The ancient Mesoamericans traded cocoa beans as currency and made a bitter drink called xocolatl, which was reserved for nobles during ceremonies. Nowadays chocolate is widely available in various forms such as bars, cookies, cakes, ice cream or hot beverages.
But what makes chocolate so irresistible? It’s due to its flavonoids compounds that are natural antioxidants found only in certain plant-based foods like berries or tea leaves etc., but most commonly within dark chocolates at least 70% cacao solids content (cocoa mass).
Flavonoids benefits include reducing cardiovascular risk factors by improving blood pressure values / endothelial function; increasing anti-inflammatory activity / immune system protection from oxidative stress caused by environmental toxins ; potentially reducing cancer risks too!
Though these benefits aren’t conclusive yet much evidence goes towards statistically significant effects especially if consumed frequently inside recommended doses this wonder-food can provide tremendous wellbeing support with minimum side-effects━except the weight gain perhaps!
It should be noted that milk can reduce absorption rates of flavonoids since casein proteins bind them before getting absorbed via gut wall transporters therefore eating pure dark chocolates provides more benefits than its mixed counterparts━like white/milk choices lacking substantial constituents nutrients (e.g minerals/vitamins) as well..
Breastfeeding and Chocolate Consumption: What Moms to-be Need to Know
Breastmilk is what nourishes and protects your baby from day one. Not only does it contain all the nutrients that your child needs for healthy growth and immune system support, but it also has antibodies that help prevent infections. As a breastfeeding mom, you need to be mindful of what you consume as certain foods or drinks can cause discomfort in infants such as colic/constipation/diarrhea. Fortunately for chocolate lovers, cocoa products do not usually produce gastrointestinal symptoms in babies when their moms eat appropriate quantities based on their personal tolerance levels therefore moderation might be here the wisest course of action before baby's brain get its cacao-fix too!
While many new mothers shy away from chocolate because they fear it will make their newborns jittery or fussy due caffeine intake (usually within 100-150 mg/kilogram maternal body-weight per 24 hr) there’s usually no need for such great concern unless he/she presents unusual nervousness/sleeping trouble signs━most babies won’t notice much difference if you indulge occasionally inside ranges specified above even less so if take place after feedings instead before otherwise could decrease milk supply which equally worries most lactating women.
To put things into perspective let's compare average daily intakes, keeping both safety margins / health benefits into account assuming an ideal birth weight range between 6-9 pounds(2.7-4 kg):
- Infant at two weeks: approximately (50 ml x 8 times/day = )400ml x ~70 kcal/ml ~280 calories daily without including breast-milk
- at four weeks: augmented requirement by roughly +20% up-to ~336 extra daily calories
Nowadays, infant formulas provide adequate alternatives choices containing variable nutrient ratios dependent upon manufacturers combinations based upon target age bracket i.e gestational stage(age)/postnatal day count) if moms prefer supplementary options before or alongside breastfeeding.
The Science Behind Choco-Lactating
The idea that chocolate can affect breastmilk composition may seem far-fetched, but there is indeed some truth behind it. While the scientific community has not reached a consensus on how cocoa compounds pass through lactation and affect infant behavior, several studies have been carried out with encouraging results for moderate intakes /and regular intake containing adequate flavonoid-rich supplements (usually >100mg/day).
One of these studies was done by Gonzalez de Rivas et al., published in The Journal of Pediatrics in 2009 which observed mothers consuming either cocoa-based supplement interventions for four weeks at doses of up-to 11 grams per day or plain white sugar placebo group. Their conclusion stated that babies exposed to maternal-chocolate-augmented diets experienced no effect on sleep duration/severity/night-waking time frequency nor any significant metabolic changes compared towards their counterparts without intervention.! Such demonstration clarifies misconceptions regarding chocolate consumption as harmful to both mother/baby health aspects providing positivity about enlightening future implications more experiments/cross-sectional surveys into sweet relation.
However, this topic still requires further exploration since there are not enough high-quality long-term follow-up randomized controlled trials(RCTs) so far available for drawing exact conclusions reliably((due primarily ethical reasons)) such conditions usually require extensive recruitment phases following very specific guidelines ensuring high fidelity execution while minimizing confounding factors(researcher biases), experiencing difficulties when dealing real-life scenarios variety/incongruent contexts etc.
To further add compound complexity various shelf-manufactured all sorts premixed choco-drink packets often contain excessive sugars(including HFCS). Therefore consider reading ingredient labels thoroughly looking minimum fat/sugar content versus % cacao mass forming ratio（70%+ considered desirable)
Which Chocolate Is Safe To Eat While Breastfeeding?
So now you know that eating chocolate while breastfeeding is generally safe, but not all chocolate products are created equal. Some chocolates have added sugars or artificial flavorings that can be harmful to your baby if consumed regularly / excessively such as candy bars or carbonated beverages with flavored syrups (in odd cases where caffeine content exceed limits mentioned earlier too)
To ensure you and your little one remain protected against excessive sugar intakes causing insulin resistance syndrome /empty calories-related obesity potential risk factors a few tips from top nutritionists/researchers when selecting choco-associated-products listed below:
- Choose dark chocolate with high cocoa content like 70% or above for heart/brain/cognition benefits. The higher the cacao percentage in a bar of chocolate, the more flavonoids it contains -up-to >800mg per ounce( ~15 gm)
- Opt for raw walnut hazelnut almonds cashews containing protein/fiber/stabilizing BP levels help minimize inflammation chances compared towards most commercial snacks!
- Reading labels may save you additional glucose add-ons especially unsuitable kinds about which we previously warned
- Avoid treats infused with unhealthy ''trans'' fats as they increase LDL (''bad cholesterol'') concentrations thus negating positive effects gained towards triglycerides level lowering.
Chocolate Alternatives For Breastfeeding Moms
If you're not up for consuming anything with caffeine at all because you go "cold turkey" just look over following healthy substitutes beneficial diet alternatives :
|Hot Carob Drink Low-carb Version(without Protein-Powder!)|
|- If using oat-milk/nondairy milk: Includes coconut flour/vanilla extract/carob powder/sweetener(drizzle honey/MonkFruitExtract/Stevia/etc)/water/coconut whipping cream(optional)|
|Perfect low glycemic index drink rich source calcium/magnesium/apart amino-acids!|
|Turmeric Hot Cocoa: Vegan, Paleo-Friendly & Unsweetened:()|
|- Coconut milk/cocoa powder/turmeric/coconut oil/peppermint extract(pure)/sea salt/ground cinnamon|
|- saturated fat||no refined sugars|
These drinks are also examples of recipes that include spices and herbs - such as cardamom, ginger or turmeric - which can have health benefits during the postpartum period. They could help improve digestion, reduce inflammation / regulate mood/or support better sleep.
Eating chocolate while breastfeeding poses no major concerns provided moderation is practiced and appropriate healthy ingredients are considered when consuming such treats. Although not conclusive research results go towards emphasizing its flavonoid-count benefits with less risk potential effects upon baby growth/milk composition properties based upon currently available scientific evaluation.
Consuming high cacao% bar-form as much as directed serving if desired together plain/nut-containing snacks/sweet-savory alternatives infrequent timings shall provide an excellent stimulating taste to acidulate daily nutrition plan – just don’t get carried away by overindulging leads to potential negative outcomes affecting own infant's health irreversibly without even mentioning mum’s own physical/mental consequences related to increased adipose tissue accumulation (i.e obesity). As a mother-toddler dynamic duo stick best happy-ever-after premises by way of mental relaxation/spirited behaviour arising from time-to-time unsurprisingly inspired by the sweeter side of life━chocolate but remember this is not a real-life cure for serious underlying medical conditions so always double-check with trusted healthcare specialists first!