This is something my wife's aunt, who is a nurse (but not in any maternity or pediatric field) advised us on. She said we should avoid giving onions to my wife (who doesn't like them usually anyway) while she's breastfeeding, because it can make the milk taste funny and thus make the baby fussy about eating it.

The main question is in the title. However, if it's a yes, to what extent is it true? Does onion powder or dehydrated onion have the same effect? Does fully cooked onion have the same effect? Does raw onion have the same effect?

  • 3
    I swear I'm not worried about every little thing. I'm just a natural skeptic, so this new life event has gives me plenty of information to be skeptical about. With my last son, I didn't know this site was around or I probably would have had even more questions. With your first child you seem to get a lot more "advice".
    – user11394
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 20:12
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    Not exactly answering the onion part, but closely related: When breastfeeding my son refused to nurse twice. Once after a bowl of particularly garlicky pasta, once after a serving of too-hot curry. I admit, I did taste the milk on these occasions and my, the curry milk was really hot. Glad we had a small stash in the freezer. He wasn't picky normally. Sister was different -if she didn't like a particular food taste in the milk, she'd raise a stink. Is still picky today, sigh.
    – Stephie
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 21:23
  • Related, but nothing specifically about onions: parenting.stackexchange.com/questions/6815/…
    – user11394
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 21:18
  • My grandmother used to tell me when she was a child the cows would eat wild onions in the fields and their first milk in the morning would be onion flavored. I would assume the same would work for humans but I'm really just guessing.
    – user7678
    Commented Aug 11, 2015 at 11:31
  • Why not taste if with and without eating Onions?
    – Ed Heal
    Commented Oct 25, 2015 at 22:46

2 Answers 2


Eating onions as well as garlic will affect the taste of your breast milk.

I was having an issue with my baby spitting up after eating while my mother was visiting a couple of weeks after I gave birth. After she left the baby stopped spitting up. It wasn't until 2 month later my husband and I figured it out... when we tried to bottle feed the baby with (frozen) milk from that same week and he refused it. My mom was cooking dishes with onions and garlic

So we did an experiment and actually taste tested different bags of frozen milk. The ones from the week my mom was visiting tasted sweet upfront but ended on a hot note. It also had a slight smell resembling onions and garlic, where as the other milks smelt sweeter.


I don't know about the flavor, but I do know that a number of foods go into the breastmilk and some are very hard for babies to digest. It gives them stomach cramps. Onions is one of them, as is cabbage.

However, this varies from baby to baby and they can get these problems with just about any food. The best thing to do is to keep track of your own diet and of the baby's complaints and whether the baby becomes gassy.

Often it's something you eat that disagrees with them and onion just happens to be a common offender.

Citation. It also mentions there's a number of other things that could be causing this, though:


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    Can you provide a citation? Cabbage, for example, has a lot of fiber which is a challenge to digest, but fiber is not transmitted through breastmilk.
    – Acire
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 23:56
  • The citation mentions onions as being occasional allergens, but nothing about gassiness from onions or cabbage. I could imagine sulfur (present in both foods) having some effect, I suppose, but that's not discussed in your citation. It also includes some fallacious information - nearly no-one is allergic to corn syrup, for heaven's sake - so I'd say that is not a helpful citation and not based in science.
    – Joe
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 21:10

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