Can I Eat Tomatoes While Breastfeeding? 

Photo of author

Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

Published on

BabyFacts logo

Tomatoes are an acidic fruit that many wonder if it is safe or suitable to consume during breastfeeding. Do tomatoes cause gastrointestinal reflux or allergies in babies? Let’s talk about it!

Overall, tomatoes are completely safe to consume during breastfeeding when you and your baby do not have an allergy. In fact, they are very nutritious. While the mother might experience gastrointestinal reflux from them, this won’t cause discomfort in the breastfed baby due to the acid content.

From fresh tomatoes to canned, and even tomato sauce and paste, you might be curious about including tomatoes in a breastfeeding diet. Read on to learn more! 

Is it OK to Eat Tomatoes When Breastfeeding?

Overall, tomatoes are OK to eat when breastfeeding and are very nutritious. While pregnancy brings about many food restrictions and considerations, you have much less that you must avoid while breastfeeding. Besides monitoring your caffeine, alcohol, and mercury intake, there is not much else to limit while you are breastfeeding. 

Whether fresh or raw, canned or jarred, tomatoes are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and more. Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants, including lycopene and vitamin C, that are very beneficial to breastfeeding women (source: U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] FoodData Central). 

raw sliced tomatoes with seeds

Antioxidants are compounds that protect cells from damage from free radicals and help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation (source: Antioxidants [Basel]). Consuming antioxidants during breastfeeding can be a great way to help combat this oxidative stress in you and your baby.

However, canned tomatoes are often a concern for Bisphenol A, or BPA, which is a chemical that has been found in plastics and resins. In animal studies, BPA exposure has been linked to insufficient milk production. However, there are not many human studies regarding BPA and breastfeeding (source: Environmental Research). 

BPA can get into food and beverages if it is in the container used to hold them (source: Mayo Clinic). However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has stated that the levels of BPA present in food containers are low and have no effects from low-dose exposure. 

tomato sauce in can and fresh tomatoes

Are Tomato Sauces and Pastes Safe When Breastfeeding?

Tomato sauces and pastes are another common concern for breastfeeding women since they are more concentrated sources of tomatoes.

Compared to regular fresh and raw tomatoes, sauces and pastes may just be even more nutritious! There is more lycopene per weight in processed tomato products, such as tomato paste, compared to the fresh version (source: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture). 

As mentioned above, lycopene is a beneficial antioxidant found in tomatoes that can help you and your breastfeeding baby combat inflammation and oxidative stress in the body. 

pile of fresh tomatoes

However, tomato sauces and tomato pastes are commonly found in cans. To avoid an increased risk of foodborne illness, do not consume food from cans that have deep dents that you can fit your finger into (source: USDA).

Deep dents can open a seam in the can and allow bacteria inside. However, small dents in cans that are in generally good shape should be safe to consume. Whether or not you are breastfeeding, it’s important to consider this when consuming any type of food packaged in a can.

Additionally, tomato sauces and soups can especially be an excellent source of other beneficial vitamins and minerals as they often contain other fruits and vegetables. 

Can Tomatoes Cause Reflux or Allergies When Nursing? 

Tomatoes cannot cause reflux if your baby while nursing. However, they should be avoided if you or the baby has a tomato allergy. 

It is a common misconception that eating acidic foods, such as citrus fruits and tomatoes, can contribute to reflux or indigestion in your baby when nursing. 

Thankfully, the acid in foods such as tomatoes does not affect breast milk (source: Korean Journal of Pediatrics). While a nursing mother may experience reflux or discomfort from eating tomatoes, they do not impact the pH or acidity levels of maternal plasma in the blood.

However, if you or your baby have an allergy to tomatoes, you should definitely avoid consuming them while breastfeeding.

In conclusion, I hope you found this article helpful in debunking the myths about consuming tomatoes and learning how they could benefit you and your baby while you are nursing.