Okra and Snail

Expert Debunks Claim That Okra, Snail Causes Drooling In Babies

An expert has debunked the claim that okra and snail cause drooling in babies.

An obstetrician and nutrition expert has advised breastfeeding mothers to eat okra and snail.

The Obstetrician from the Department of Paediatrics, College of the Medicine University of Lagos, Dr Beatrice Ezenwa urged breastfeeding mothers to eat a balanced diet.

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She told PUNCH HealthWise in an exclusive chat that it has not been scientifically proven that Okra and Snail causes drooling in babies.

The nutritionist said that eating a balanced meal impacts on the nutritional value and composition of breast milk.

Dr Ezenwa, yet, warned mothers to avoid the food they notice do not agree with their babies.

She said, “In general, a breastfeeding mother can eat any food. No food is off-limit because a woman is breastfeeding.

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“The key point is to eat a balanced diet and eat in moderation. Having said that, each baby is different and may react differently to certain foods eaten by the mother which comes out in the breast milk in terms of nutrients and flavour.

“Some babies can be very fussy and cranky when their mothers eat very spicy foods. Other babies become sleepy or have disorganised sleep patterns when their mothers consume too much of certain other foods such as alcohol and caffeine.

“In some cultures in Nigeria, breastfeeding mothers are prohibited from eating certain nutritious foods such as snails, okra, etc because it will make the baby drool saliva.

“Meanwhile others encourage the consumption of more harmful ones such as excessive alcohol intake like palm wine in the name of helping the breast milk to flow. These myths are unfounded and the practices are not good, so should be discouraged,” she added.

She debunked common myths about certain foods that mothers consume causing constipation. According to the paediatrician, exclusively constipated infants are not likely to be constipated.

The doctor explained, “Breast milk is considered a natural laxative because of the easily digestible nutrients it contains.

“There are many other reasons a baby may be gassy that have nothing to do with the foods the mother has eaten.

“Some people believe falsely that eating hot and spicy foods or acidic foods such as citrus fruit and tomatoes may cause ‘gassiness’ in babies, but these are not proven.

“Unless you can see a direct relationship between specific foods and the same reaction in the baby every time, there is no need to limit your diet.”

The health expert also debunked myths about other foods. She said that consuming egusi soup, fruits and vegetables during breastfeeding does not make babies stool.

“I can safely say, it is not true.” She emphasized.

She gave a few lists of food that can spike an allergy in babies when their mothers consume them.

They are:
i. Cow’s milk
ii. Wheat
iii. Corn
iv. Eggs
v. Nuts
vi. Fish.

“This does not mean that every baby whose mother consumed these foods will have diarrhoea.

“People react differently to things. If a breastfeeding baby consistently has diarrhea each time a mother consumes a certain food he should be taken to a hospital for proper evaluation,” she added.

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She, however, emphasized the need to eat a balanced meal.

“Eat in moderation and avoid what you notice consistently do not agree with your baby or yourself.

“You also need to eat all types of food common in your culture or environment to help your child develop the taste bud for that food.

“Some flavours infants are exposed to through breast milk can influence their food preferences as they grow up,” she said.

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