Asparagus and Breastfeeding: Benefits and Side Effects

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Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

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Asparagus is known to cause a strong smell in your urine. Therefore, it makes sense you may wonder if eating asparagus can impact your breast milk when nursing.

Overall, asparagus is safe when breastfeeding and does not have any negative impact on your baby. It is possible that eating asparagus can cause gas in your breastfed infant. However, every baby is different. 

This article will discuss more information about the safety of asparagus, asparagus supplements, and more during breastfeeding. 

Is it Safe to Eat Asparagus When Breastfeeding? What About the Smell?

While asparagus does tend to make your urine smell strongly, it is safe as long as you don’t mind the smell. Additionally, you may notice that your breast milk is also impacted as it can smell strongly as well. Regardless of what food you eat, it can subtly change the flavor of your breast milk (source: Medela). 

Bundles of green and white asparagus on wooden board.

This may seem worrisome, however, babies who are breastfed (and are therefore exposed to a wider variety of flavors) tend to accept a greater variety of foods when they begin to eat solids (source: Medela). 

Make sure you thoroughly wash the asparagus under clean running water to remove any dirt and bacteria that can potentially cause a foodborne illness, such as listeria (source: United States Food & Drug Administration [FDA]).

Are Asparagus Supplements Safe When Breastfeeding? 

While asparagus in the fresh vegetable form is safe for breastfeeding women, but asparagus supplements are a different story. Asparagus supplements, as with any dietary supplement, are regulated differently from food in the United States.

The FDA does not regulate dietary supplements for effectiveness or safety before they are available for purchase by the general public (source: FDA). Instead, the supplements are simply monitored for safety and adverse effects after it is available on the market.

Therefore, when you are considering taking any dietary supplement, including asparagus supplements, it is essential to speak with your physician first if you are breastfeeding.

It is best to stick with whole fresh asparagus to reap the health benefits it provides – more on this below! 

Boiled quail eggs with ham and asparagus on a plate

Is Asparagus Good for You While Breastfeeding? 

Asparagus is rich in calcium, folate, and many other essential vitamins and minerals (source: United States Department of Agriculture [USDA]). 

Calcium is essential for all women, and the need increases while breastfeeding. Breastfeeding can significantly affect your bones and contribute to bone loss because your body produces less estrogen (source: National Institutes of Health [NIH]).

However, consuming adequate amounts of calcium (especially since the recommended intake is higher during breastfeeding) is essential while nursing to keep your bones healthy and strong.

Pair calcium with a vitamin D source such as milk or yogurt for optimal absorption and use in the body for bone health. 

Additionally, folate is vital for breastfed infants because it plays a role in reducing the risk of many chronic disease states, including autism spectrum disorders, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and more (source: NIH). 

asparagus with cooked prosciutto

Can Asparagus Increase Milk Supply? 

Asparagus has been traditionally used to increase milk supply (source: Le Leche League International). More specifically, asparagus racemosus is often recommended as a part of Ayurvedic medicine as a galactagogue (source: Indian Journal of Medical Sciences).

A 2011 double-blind, randomized clinical trial showed a three-fold increase in prolactin in a group that received wild asparagus racemosus (source: Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research).

However, there is still a lack of recent clinical evidence supporting the use of asparagus for increasing breast milk production. Therefore, speak with your physician before using.

Can Asparagus Cause Gas in Breastfed Babies? 

Asparagus can cause gas in your breastfed baby. But any food can! Many breastfeeding mothers avoid certain foods, such as those high in fiber like asparagus, out of fear of it causing fussiness or gas in their breastfed babies.

However, this is often unnecessary because every baby is different, and any food can cause gas (source: Texas Children’s Hospital). 

Therefore, look out for patterns, and if you suspect that asparagus is causing gas in your baby, try avoiding it for a while to see if the gas subsides. 

I hope this article was a helpful guide to eating asparagus while breastfeeding.