Can I Eat Beans When Breastfeeding? [Complete List]

Photo of author

Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

Published on

BabyFacts logo

We know beans are a great source of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and more. However, does it cause issues when breastfeeding? Let’s talk about it!

Overall, beans are a safe and healthy protein option when breastfeeding. While beans, just like any food, can cause discomfort for the mother or baby, however, it is different for each mother and baby. 

We will walk through the different types of beans and more in this article. Read on!

Are Beans Good or Bad for Breastfeeding? The Benefits 

Beans are a great source of nutrition that provides essential protein, vitamins, minerals, and dietary 0fiber, which are all, especially when you are breastfeeding. Therefore, it is recommended to consume legumes, such as beans, as a part of a healthy breastfeeding diet (source: Mayo Clinic). 

Beans are known for causing gas and other symptoms of digestive discomfort due to their high fiber content.

When incorporating more high-fiber foods, such as beans, into your diet, slowly increase the amount little by little to minimize any gastrointestinal symptoms you may have. After a few weeks of regularly eating beans or other high-fiber foods, the discomfort will ease as your body gets used to the fiber (source: Cleveland Clinic). 

black bean stew in a bowl and rice

Guide to Bean Types When Breastfeeding

Now that we have discussed the information regarding eating beans while breastfeeding let’s briefly go through each specific type of bean.

Since we know that the more fiber the bean contains, the more gastrointestinal upset it can cause at first, we will compare the different fiber contents of the following beans in the canned form (source: United States Department of Agriculture [USDA] Food Database): 

Green Beans: A 1-cup serving of green beans contains 2.91 grams of dietary fiber. This value is relatively low compared to other beans on this list. Therefore, green beans are less likely to cause digestive upset. 

Baked Beans: One cup of baked beans contains 13.9 grams of fiber. This amount is relatively high; therefore, baked beans should be consumed in smaller amounts until the body can adjust to the higher fiber content. 

Black Beans: Black beans contain 16.6 grams of fiber per cup. Therefore, they are the highest fiber bean on this list. Start with a small amount of this bean if you are not used to eating a lot of fiber and gradually increase to reduce digestive symptoms. 

Mung Beans: A cup of mung beans only contains one gram of dietary fiber. Therefore, these are the least likely to cause any gastrointestinal symptoms. 

Fava Beans (Broad Beans): A 1-cup serving of Fava beans or broad beans contains about 9.5 grams of dietary fiber. This amount of fiber is moderate compared to other beans, but it can still mildly affect the gastrointestinal system.

Edamame Beans: A cup of edamame beans contains 8.06 grams of fiber in the prepared and frozen form. Therefore, edamame beans can also moderate digestive symptoms, such as gas or abdominal discomfort. 

It is important to note that a study showed how for all types of beans, and even other high fiber foods such as carrots, the gastrointestinal symptoms resolved within a few weeks (source: Cleveland Clinic). 

Raw edamame soya beans with salt and sauce

Can Beans Make a Breastfed Baby Gassy? 

A common misconception that you include in your diet while breastfeeding can increase or decrease gas and colic in your baby. Except for the presence of a cow’s milk allergy, there is very little evidence that supports that any other food can increase colic in your baby (source: Canadian Family Physician).

Similarly, there is no indication that specific foods in your diet increase fussiness or gas (source: Texas Children’s Hospital). This statement is not to say that beans cannot cause a reaction in your baby; however, there is no guideline or list of these potential foods.

Beans can cause gas in your baby, but they are not sure they will. Therefore, look for patterns in your baby’s behavior after eating certain foods.

There is no reason to avoid beans simply out of fear of making your baby gassy, as plenty of breastfed babies do not experience gas after the mother eats beans. 

White dry beans heap

If your baby does appear to have gas or fussiness after you eat beans, try eliminating beans for a week and observing if it makes a difference in your baby’s behavior (source: Mayo Clinic).

Additionally, ensure while breastfeeding that your baby has a good latch to avoid swallowing too much air, burp your baby often throughout the feeding, and do not let your baby feed too quickly, as these can cause gas in your baby (source: Texas Children’s Hospital)

In conclusion, beans are a great nutritious protein option that should be included in your diet when breastfeeding. I hope you found this article helpful in breaking down the myths and facts regarding eating beans and breastfeeding.