Brussels Sprouts When Breastfeeding: Are They OK?

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Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

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Brussels sprouts are a popular vegetable in the cabbage family. However, you may have wondered if eating Brussels sprouts can be detrimental when breastfeeding. 

Overall, Brussels sprouts are a healthy and nutritious food to eat while breastfeeding. It can potentially cause gas in your breastfed infant, however, each baby is different so just look for patterns when you eat certain foods, such as Brussels sprouts. 

In this article, we will tap into the nutritional benefits of Brussels sprouts, any side effects, and their potential impact on breast milk supply (if any). 

Are Brussels Sprouts Good or Bad When Breastfeeding? 

Brussels sprouts are beneficial during breastfeeding because they are rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, vitamin C, and folate (source: United States Department of Agriculture [USDA]).

These nutrients are essential for the overall health of the nursing mother and baby while breastfeeding. For instance, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant in breastmilk, protecting cells from the damaging effects of free radicals and therefore reducing oxidative stress (source: Drugs and Lactation Database).

pile of fresh brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts are also rich in folate, also known as vitamin B9. While you might have heard about the importance of folate during pregnancy (especially early pregnancy), it is essential during breastfeeding as well (source: Mayo Clinic).

Folate is crucial for healthy red blood cell development and cell functioning. Additionally, Brussels sprouts are rich in dietary fiber, which can help prevent constipation and promote stable blood sugar levels (source: Mayo Clinic).

Lastly, Brussels sprouts have three grams of protein per one-cup serving so that they can aid in muscle growth and many other functions in the body (source: USDA). 

On the flip side, there are some potential side effects of eating Brussels sprouts. For instance, eating too much fiber when your body is not used to it can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, such as diarrhea, flatulence, stomach pain, or bloating.

Therefore, make sure to gradually increase the fiber content in your diet. There is also a potential for Brussels sprouts to cause gas in your breastfed baby as well — more on this below! 

All in all, as long as you can comfortably tolerate the fiber in Brussels sprouts, there is no reason to avoid or moderate this nutritious vegetable, as the health benefits far outweigh any potential side effects.

Do Brussels Sprouts Make Breastfed Babies Gassy?

As a cruciferous vegetable, Brussels sprouts do have the potential to make your breastfed baby gassy. However, any food can cause gas in your baby since every baby is different.

Therefore, one breastfed baby may experience gas from Brussels sprouts while another may not. So, look for patterns in your baby’s reaction to different foods in your diet to notice if Brussels sprouts are causing them gas (source: Texas Children’s Hospital). 

roasted brussels sprouts in a white bowl

Do Brussels Sprouts Affect Milk Supply? 

Brussels sprouts have not been reported to impact breast milk supply, whether increasing or decreasing milk supply. Instead, check out this list of ten lactogenic foods to help boost your breast milk supply!

However, breastfeeding and pumping more often can help increase breast milk production as well (source: American Pregnancy Association). 

Finally, speaking with your physician and a registered dietitian nutritionist can provide personalized advice if you are struggling to produce enough breast milk.

In conclusion, hopefully this information encourages you to incorporate healthy vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, into your diet during your breastfeeding journey.