Can I Eat Poppy Seeds When Breastfeeding? Food Safety

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Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

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Poppy seeds are a common ingredient in baked goods, salad dressings, everything bagels, and more. So, can you safely eat this crunchy seed while you are breastfeeding? 

Overall, poppy seeds are likely safe for breastfeeding women in regular food amounts. However, avoid consuming large quantities of these seeds, including teas or dietary supplements. 

This article will cover more information about the safety of poppy seeds and their potential effect on your breast milk supply. Read on! 

Are Poppy Seeds Safe When Breastfeeding? 

Poppy seeds that are in normal food amounts are considered safe for pregnant women and likely safe for breastfeeding women (source: German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment).

In other words, consuming foods that contain poppy seeds as an ingredient is safe, such as sprinkled onto a bagel. However, more significant and more concentrated amounts, such as in pill form as a dietary supplement, are not proven to be safe for breastfeeding mothers. 

poppy seeds in a wooden bowl

Poppy seeds are rich in many vitamins and minerals, including iron and calcium (source: United States Department of Agriculture [USDA]). Poppy seeds are also a great source of dietary fiber. While breastfeeding, adequate nutrition is essential to ensure your baby gets enough nutrients. 

For instance, maternal iron intake is important during breastfeeding because iron is essential to make hemoglobin, which is a component of blood that carries oxygen in your baby’s red blood cells all throughout the body (source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]).

Additionally, iron is vital for your baby’s neurological development during infancy and as they grow. 

Calcium is crucial to support your baby’s growing bones and teeth as well as promote heart, muscle, and nerve health (source: Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital). 

The main concern of breastfeeding mothers is often the relationship between poppy seeds and the opioid morphine. However, there are only trace amounts of morphine in poppy seeds (source: German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment). 

Avoid high levels of concentrated poppy seeds, such as in tea or dietary supplements. Additionally, dietary supplements are not regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for safety or effectiveness before they hit the shelves of your local health food store (source: FDA).

However, supplements are monitored for adverse effects after they are available on the market. 

Therefore, speak with your physician about taking any dietary supplement while you are breastfeeding. 

Foods with Poppy Seeds When Nursing 

Let’s talk about more specific foods that typically contain poppy seeds and considerations for safety while breastfeeding! 

Poppy Seed Cakes and Muffins

As a popular breakfast or dessert, a slice of poppy seed cakes or a small muffin is safe while breastfeeding. However, consume these treats in moderation because they are often higher in calories, sugar, and fat. 

bagels with poppy seeds

Poppy See Breads and Bagels

Poppy seed bread is also safe for breastfeeding since it often just contains a few poppy seeds sprinkled on top. For example, the beloved everything bagels have some poppy seeds in the toppings.

Poppy Seed Dressing

Using a small amount of poppy seed dressing on your salad is also safe. However, make sure you thoroughly wash your salad vegetables and ingredients to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. 

poppy seed bread on a plate

Do Poppy Seeds Help with Breast Milk Supply?

Many speculate that consuming poppy seeds can increase the milk supply for breastfeeding mothers. However, there is no research to support this claim.

There are other lactogenic foods for increasing your milk supply, including fenugreek, anise, and fennel. 

In conclusion, I hope you found this article helpful in discussing poppy seed safety while you are breastfeeding.