Green tomatoes while nursing
November 10, 2019 8:26 PM   Subscribe

I ate raw green tomatoes. Can I breastfeed? The Poison Control hotline confirmed that there can be toxins like solanine that theoretically can pass through breast milk, so to be safe, i should give the baby stored breast milk and "pump and dump" for a day. Really?

This feels like an overreaction, but I do want to be safe. Do any of Metafilter's brilliant scientists have any better idea than the Poison Control hotline? It kind of felt like they were making it up there at the end -- they knew it was fat soluble so it might theoretically be a concern, but they didn't have any specific info on whether or not to nurse.

It's not going to be easy to not nurse for 24 hours. The baby pretty much nurses to sleep for all bedtimes and naps. I can hear her crying right now. That said, the internet has a range of scary words.

Does anyone here have any additional info? I'd love to either justify overriding Poison Control OR feel convinced it's adequately a concern so I can feel peacefully resigned to the fact that a miserable 24 hours in which my daughter thinks I've abandoned her is necessary.

I are like 1/2 cup or less, raw, and it had the taste and crunch of green pepper. It wasn't super bitter, but it wasn't as soft as a regular tomato only green.

Sorry if this is too medical. I'm also going to call her pediatrician's office. But I've occasionally had amazing luck on Metafilter so I thought I'd ask.
posted by slidell to Health & Fitness (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would definitely continue nursing and not worry about this at all. I have a 15-month-old, so I have recent experience nursing, and fairly recent experience calling the InfantRisk hotline (which doesn't open again till tomorrow, unfortunately.)

According to food scientist Harold McGee, tomatoes don't really even contain solanine:
And it’s a chemical gaffe to attribute tomato toxicity to solanine. Dr. Mendel Friedman of the federal Department of Agriculture, who has studied potato and tomato alkaloids for two decades, wrote in an e-mail message that commercial tomatoes contain tomatine. Solanine, he added, is a potato alkaloid.

There are significant quantities of tomatine in green tomato fruits, which people have long eaten fried and pickled. And tomatine appears to be a relatively benign alkaloid.

In 2000, Dr. Friedman and colleagues reported that when lab animals ingest tomatine, essentially all of it passes through the animal unabsorbed. The alkaloid apparently binds to cholesterol in the digestive system, and the combination is excreted β€” ridding the body of both alkaloid and cholesterol. The researchers found that both tomatine-rich green tomatoes and purified tomatine lowered the levels of undesirable LDL cholesterol in animals
This is from a long column that argues it's fine to eat tomato leaves, long β€” falsely β€” considered poisonous, which have more tomatine than fruits.

I'm not seeing scary stuff about green tomatoes and breastfeeding when I google, so it might be helpful to post what's freaking you out.

Again: I have a baby, and I would continue nursing without a thought. Green tomatoes (certainly in the quantity you describe) are a normal food for humans.
posted by purpleclover at 9:01 PM on November 10, 2019 [13 favorites]

Okay so I called the pediatrician nurse hotline for a second opinion. She said that their materials had no info, so what they'd normally do next would be to call Poison Control, and that she'd be happy to do that and get a second opinion from them.

The guy who answered was like "yeahhh I don't know who you talked to before. But--" then laid out a string of reasons why it was exceedingly unlikely to be a concern. He included some of this leaves vs. fruit info that purpleclover did (though focused on solanine), and wrapped up with "I've worked here 20 years and I've never heard of anything..."

Of course my (on high alert now) anxious mind is having trouble calming down* and finding nit-picky questions to ask ("but he focused on solanine, I wonder if he considered tomatine?" But I think he did.) But the advice was clear, so I'm sure it will sink in soon. (* Hearing a baby cry for milk when you have milk you can't give it sure cranks the stress hormones up to level ten! But I'll be fine soon I'm sure.)

We are currently nursing, and the baby is almost asleep, and then I'm going to go look at kitten pictures and have an ice cream bar -- that's good for breast milk, right? ;)
posted by slidell at 9:32 PM on November 10, 2019 [20 favorites]

And thanks for doing all that quick research, purpleclover!
posted by slidell at 9:38 PM on November 10, 2019 [4 favorites]

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