Properties of breastmilk change during and after pregnancy. But does breastmilk taste different when pregnant? Find out!
Pregnancy and Lactation
Pregnancy and lactation are unique experiences for every woman. Hormones play a vital role in both these stages and cause changes in your body when you transition from pregnancy to lactation. Research has unearthed amazing facts related to these experiences. One such finding is that tiny glands on your breasts produce a fluid that smells like the amniotic fluid that nourished your baby in the womb. This is the olfactory cue that your newborn uses to locate and nurse at your breast.
Does breastmilk taste different when pregnant?
Breastmilk is composed of water, carbohydrates, lipids, minerals, trace elements, and proteins. These not only give breastmilk its taste and smell, but they are also the nutrients essential for your baby’s growth and development. If you fall pregnant while breastfeeding your baby, changes occur in your breastmilk’s composition and taste.
As your pregnancy progresses to the 4th or 5th month, milk production can decrease, and your breasts may start producing colostrum or the birth milk. These changes may cause changes in the taste and consistency of your breast milk. Your breast milk may taste saltier. This is because sodium levels increase during pregnancy, along with the level of proteins. Sugars like lactose and glucose decrease in breastmilk during pregnancy.
The change in taste can sometimes cause your baby to wean off from breastfeeding.
How does your diet and affect your breastmilk?
Generally, breast milk has a sweet smell and taste due to milk sugars, namely lactose. Your diet can affect the taste and smell of your breastmilk. For example, when you consume pungent foods like garlic, the flavor is expressed in your milk. If you are on a vegetarian diet, your breast milk will have lesser fat than the breast milk of mothers on a non-vegetarian diet.
When you eat different foods, one good thing that happens is that your baby too gets introduced to different food flavors even before starting on solids. However, it is advisable to avoid liquor, caffeinated beverages, cigarettes, bitter and overly spicy food during breastfeeding. Asparagus is one vegetable proven to make breastmilk taste unpleasant. Overeating peppers when breastfeeding can cause your baby to suffer an upset stomach and acid reflux. Contaminated fish and polluted water are full of toxins that can change the taste of your breastmilk. They may also impact your baby’s health and growth. Eating plenty of fresh and dry fruits, vegetables, protein-rich foods, and dairy products will enhance the taste of your breast milk.
Medicines that you take also affect the taste and smell of your breast milk. If you are battling a severe health concern like cancer and are on medication for it, it is prudent to avoid breastfeeding altogether. Besides, these medications may also affect the health of your baby. However, if you are battling chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension, you can still breastfeed your baby after consultation with your doctor. Your doctor will be able to adjust the drug and its dosage while keeping your baby’s health into consideration.
There are a variety of factors that influence the taste and quantity of breast milk. However, these changes do not alter the fact that it is important for the nourishment of your baby. This is especially true for the first few days, weeks, and years of his/her life.