Can I Eat Avocado When Breastfeeding? Is it Safe?

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Written by Shandra Williams

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Avocados have a reputation for being a healthy and nutritious fruit, but are they safe and good when breastfeeding?

Avocados are safe for breastfeeding moms to eat if they have undergone good harvesting and post-harvesting practices. You need to wash them thoroughly too. They are rich sources of essential nutrients but may cause discomfort for those with functional bowel disorders.

So, what could make avocado unsafe, how can lactating mothers and their babies benefit from it, and can it really cause gas? Read on to find out!

Can I Eat Avocado When Breastfeeding?

Avocados can be susceptible to L. monocytogenes which causes Listeria. Contamination has occurred on avocado pulp and guacamole but not fresh avocados.

According to a study, L. monocytogenes can potentially get into the avocados through the stem scar. Through an experiment using L. monocytogenes isolated from infected pulp and guacamole, the pulp of the avocado was contaminated but no bacteria were present on the skin (source: Journal of Food Protection). 

diced fresh avocado on a bowl

Currently, there are no reports of contamination of whole fresh avocados. Therefore it’s probably fine to buy bagged fresh avocados from the supermarket or reputable sources that practice good sanitation, controls, and overall postharvest practices. 

Remember to thoroughly wash them as well and dry them with a towel.  Don’t store them with other fruits or vegetables to avoid cross-contamination. 

Benefits-wise, avocados are good to eat and are healthful, save if you have functional gastrointestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This is discussed below.

Are Avocados Good for Breastfeeding? The Benefits

When included in a staple nutrient-rich diet, avocado can offer great health benefits during lactation. In fact, avocado fits the bill for recommended healthy foods for the lactating population.

Avocados have quite a few recommended nutrients for lactation such as folate, carotenoids, potassium, fiber, monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA), and antioxidant properties. Oleic acid, a MUFA present in high amounts in milk, is abundant in avocados (source: Nutrients). 

beetroot and avocado salad with lemon and fresh sunflower sprouts

Carotenoids are also present in the composition of breast milk and babies depend on them. Lutein and zeaxanthin help develop the retina, brain activity, and overall energy metabolism (source: PubMed). 

A mother’s milk, which contains oligosaccharides, serves as her baby’s dietary fiber. Lactating mothers who also experienced gastrointestinal disorders or metabolic diseases can do well with fiber (source: PubMed).  

Oleic acid helps decrease triglyceride melting point. This means it helps with the fluidity needed for the creation, transport, and metabolism of fat globules. Dietary MUFAs also positively affect the microbiota in breast milk and the baby’s gut in turn (source: NIH). 

Can Eating Avocados When Breastfeeding Cause Gas?

There is little to no scientific research regarding avocados causing gas and bloating in breastfeeding mothers and their babies. However, there is research on avocado being a high FODMAP food.

Avocado is listed as a high FODMAP food because of its polyols. High FODMAP diets can cause irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms and other functional bowel disorders. In fact, low FODMAP diets are now being considered a diet therapy for these conditions (source: NIH). 

In a study, 75 out of 104 pregnant women stated to have one or more functional bowel disorders (source: PubMed). This may extend up until lactation. Moreover, functional gut disorders are more prevalent in women due to fluctuations in sex hormones (source: NIH). 

Women who have IBS, according to research, tend to be more prone to IBS and have symptoms such as bloating, constipation, abdominal pain, and psychological symptoms among others (source: ScienceDirect).

avocado cut into half on a cutting board

Half of an avocado is considered high FODMAP. A quarter of its average, and so on. A small serving (less than a quarter), can be safely enjoyed (source: Healthline). 

Avocados are nutrient-dense foods that are especially helpful during lactation. And the great thing about it is that you can prepare it in multiple ways. You can make a smoothie, add it to toast, or make your own guacamole!

We hope you found this article helpful – enjoy your avocados!