Can I Eat Shrimp While Breastfeeding Or Will My Baby Suffer?

  • Yes, breastfeeding moms should be careful about eating shrimp
  •  Read about allergies and other ways shrimp could be harmful
  •  Discover the likelihood of things going wrong for mom and baby
  •  Bonus video: Are there any foods to avoid while breastfeeding?

Are you nursing your little one and wondering what you can eat?

Have you heard some horror stories about what can supposedly happen when you eat shrimp while nursing?

Are you concerned about the health and well-being of your baby but find yourself craving shellfish?

You’ve probably been avoiding shrimp while you were pregnant, but now that your baby has arrived, you may be ready to get back to eating one of your favorite foods. If this is the case, there’s a lot you need to know about the potential risks associated with eating shrimp while breastfeeding.

In this article, we’ll outline all the information you need to know to make an educated and informed decision and provide the safest possible outcome for your little one.

Read on to learn more.

3 Reasons to Be Cautious about Shrimp when Breastfeeding

When you’re asking yourself, “Can I eat shrimp while breastfeeding?” it’s important to learn as much as you can about the potential risks and problems that may arise from doing so. There are a few solid reasons why you might want to stay cautious about shrimp when you’re nursing your little one. Check out our list below to help you better understand this concern.

1. You or your baby might have developed an allergy. 

While you might think you’re aware of whether or not you have a shellfish allergy, there’s always a chance your body could develop one while you’re not consuming any shellfish during your pregnancy. Although this is uncommon, it has happened before. Remember that allergies can crop up overnight and that you or your baby may have a problem with shellfish, as it is a very common allergen.


2. Contaminants can be passed to your baby. 

Anything you eat that contains any type of contaminants can be passed to your child. This is just as true of shrimp as it is of anything else. Shrimp can, unfortunately, contain a lot of problem contaminants that may compromise the health of your child if these substances happen to make their way into your breast milk.

3.Food poisoning can put you out of commission for a while. 

If you get food poisoning from bad shellfish, you may not feel like nursing your baby for a while. You may also notice your milk supply suffering if you become dehydrated from your food poisoning. Even if you don’t have a very serious bout of it, this can be a big problem that keeps you off your feet when your baby needs you to be at your best.

What makes shrimp harmful?

Although you should stay away from shrimp while you’re pregnant completely, you can start introducing it back into your diet when you’re nursing as long as you’re careful. However, it’s important to understand what can potentially make shrimp harmful when you consume it while nursing your baby. Below are some of the most common reasons why shrimp may become a problem for you and your baby.


This is the biggest concern when eating any type of fish or shellfish. Too much mercury can be harmful to you as well as to your baby, and it is possible for mercury to be transferred to your baby through your milk supply. Although eating fish and shellfish every now and then shouldn’t cause harmful levels of mercury to build up in your body, it’s important to stay away from eating it very frequently while nursing.

fish and shellfish


As mentioned above, allergies to shellfish can become a problem fast, even when you aren’t expecting this to happen.

Parasites and bacteria: 

Like most fish and shellfish, shrimp can contain parasites or bacteria. This can make shrimp a very dangerous food for anyone to consume if it doesn’t come from a clean and healthy source.

Being uncooked: 

Shrimp that isn’t cooked is a lot more likely to cause food poisoning or contribute to the parasites listed in the point above. If you do consume shrimp while you’re nursing, be sure it’s always cooked through enough to destroy the chance of either of these becoming an issue for you.

As you can see, there are some problems you might face when eating shrimp. However, as long you choose cooked shrimp from clean sources, you can cut back on at least some of these problems.

What are the chances of something going wrong?

So how likely is it really that you or your baby could have a problem if you eat shrimp while breastfeeding? The risk of shellfish allergy in you or your baby is significant enough that many nursing moms simply stay away from shrimp entirely to prevent this from being a problem. Some babies will develop a rash from shellfish exposure even if they don’t have a full-blown allergy, too.

However, the chances of something more serious, such as mercury poisoning, happening due to shrimp consumption is pretty slim. As long as you don’t eat shrimp every day, there is very little reason to be worried about mercury buildup in your milk supply.


So should you avoid shrimp completely when you’re nursing? In the end, this choice is up to you. Many nursing moms prefer to stay away from shrimp altogether so they don’t have to worry about it, but there’s no reason why you can’t have a little shrimp as long as you follow a few basic guidelines:

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    Do not eat more than 12oz of shrimp per week. This equals out to between 2 and 3 servings of shrimp in a week.

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    Never consume raw shrimp, fish or other shellfish while nursing. This will reduce the risk of food poisoning or parasites.

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    If your baby develops a rash after you eat shrimp and then breastfeed, do not continue eating shrimp while nursing.

Keep these guidelines in mind and you’ll have no trouble eating shrimp while you’re nursing your child.

Bonus Video

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