Can I Eat Avocado When Breastfeeding?

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Written by Gina Wagg BA, Dip.

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While you might have seen avocado dishes everywhere, are they safe and good when breastfeeding?

Avocados are safe to eat when breastfeeding as long as they underwent good harvesting and post-harvesting practices. You also need to wash them thoroughly. They are great sources of essential nutrients but may cause discomfort for those with functional bowel disorders.

What could make avocados unsafe, how can lactating mothers and their babies benefit from them, and can they really cause gas? Read on to find out!

Can I Eat Avocado When Breastfeeding?

Avocados are safe and nutritious to eat while breastfeeding. However, they can be susceptible to L. monocytogenes, which causes listeria.

According to a study, L. monocytogenes can potentially get into the avocados through the stem scar. During 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. We recommend buying 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. 

Avocados are good and healthy to eat while breastfeeding unless 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 nutrient-rich diet, avocados can offer great benefits during lactation. In fact, they fit the bill for recommended 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 antioxidants. Oleic acid, a MUFA present in high amounts in milk, is also abundant in avocados (source: Nutrients). 

beetroot and avocado salad with lemon and fresh sunflower sprouts

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

Mother’s milk, which contains oligosaccharides, serves as her baby’s dietary fiber. Lactating mothers who also experienced gastrointestinal disorders or metabolic diseases benefit from adequate fiber intake (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 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 reported having one or more functional bowel disorders (source: PubMed). These conditions 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 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 to be high in FODMAPs. A small serving (less than a quarter), can be safely enjoyed (source: Healthline). 

Avocados are loaded with nutrients that are especially helpful during lactation. They are also versatile health foods. You can use them in a smoothie, add them to toast, or make your own guacamole!