Can You Eat Sushi When Breastfeeding?
It’s pretty common knowledge that eating sushi when pregnant can be very risky. But is the same risk a problem for breastfeeding moms, too?
Is there anything specific you need to know about consuming raw fish when you’re nursing your child?
Can you eat sushi when breastfeeding?
The short answer is yes, but there’s a little more to it than just that, too. Check out our list of potential risks below to help you learn whether or not it’s really safe for you to eat sushi while you’re still breastfeeding your baby.
Risk #1: Mercury in the breast milk
This is probably the most well-known reason why eating sushi while breastfeeding may not be a great idea. In fact, mercury poisoning is a potential risk for eating sushi or raw fish of any kind at any time. However, when you’re nursing, you run the risk of passing mercury on to your child through your breast milk, which could be very dangerous.
Mercury poisoning may cause irritability, insomnia, twitching and tremors, weakness, and confusion.
In extreme circumstances, it can cause respiratory and kidney damage or failure and may result in death. Most of the time, mercury poisoning from one roll of sushi isn’t significant enough to cause this, but you should recognize it as a potential risk.
Ordering sushi that is made from low-mercury fish is a great way to get around this problem. Salmon, for example, is generally recognized as a lower mercury content fish.
Risk #2: Food poisoning from low-quality fish
If you’re getting your sushi from a reputable place, you probably don’t have to worry too much about food poisoning. However, this is always a potential risk when consuming raw food, and lower-quality fish may increase that risk significantly. If you can’t be totally sure of the cleanliness of the restaurant you’re ordering from and the safety of the fish they’re using, it’s best to get your sushi from somewhere else.
Food poisoning may not pose a direct risk to your baby since you’ll be the one suffering from it, but it will still impact your ability to nurse your child properly while you’re sick.
Making sure that you’re healthy enough to care for your child as much as possible is an important part of raising your baby. Because of this, it may be best to stay away from sushi until your child is finished with breastfeeding.
You can avoid this risk by choosing cooked sushi rolls. If you’re especially concerned about it, try making your sushi at home so you can ensure the fish is cooked to the correct doneness to remove the risk of food poisoning.
Risk #3: Parasites
Food poisoning isn’t the only potential problem that can come from eating bad fish. Sometimes, raw fish may contain parasites that can be transmitted to you when you eat it. And in some rare instances, you may even end up passing those parasites on to your little one through your breastmilk. This is very uncommon, but it bears mentioning so you can make an educated decision on whether or not to enjoy sushi while nursing.
Flash frozen fish or fish that has been cooked can both significantly reduce or even completely remove the risk of parasites present in your sushi. When in doubt, as the restaurant how their fish is shipped. Find out if it’s ever frozen, or stick to ordering cooked sushi rolls.
Fresh-caught fish may also decrease this risk as long as the fish comes from a clean water source.
Once again, cooking your fish at home may be the best way to get around this problem.
Risk #4: Allergens transmitted through breast milk
If you choose sushi made from ingredients that aren’t known allergens—or from ingredients you’ve already introduced to your baby—this isn’t much of a cause for concern. However, chances are good you haven’t been feeding your child fish or shellfish if he or she is still nursing. If this is the case, you may find that your baby is allergic to one of these ingredients when you eat them and pass it to your child through nursing.
Shellfish is a particularly common allergen that may cause your child to have a reaction if you eat it while still nursing. Many children will be fine with this, but it’s often best to stay away from shellfish altogether while you’re still a nursing mom.
Fish is a less common allergen, but it may still be a cause for concern, especially if you find that your baby is very sensitive to foods you may eat while nursing.
Don’t forget about the other ingredients present in the sushi, too. For example, if your sushi contains a peanut sauce and your child is allergic to peanuts, you may end up with an allergic reaction on your hands.
You may still be wondering, “Can I eat sushi while breastfeeding?” When it comes down to it, the choice is yours, but it’s always important to have a solid understanding of the risks you may encounter when eating raw fish while nursing.
There are some instances in which it’s okay to enjoy sushi while you’re breastfeeding. If you find yourself dealing with a significant sushi craving you just can’t fight, you can always try some vegetarian sushi to satisfy that desire without getting into the world of raw fish at all.
Can u eat sushi when breastfeeding if it’s cooked? You can, but be aware that it may be cross-contaminated with raw fish if the restaurant uses the same knives on all of its rolls. You can sometimes get around this by ordering rolls that are made with chicken instead of fish, but when it doubt, always ask the restaurant.
With the right precautions, you can enjoy sushi with no problem while breastfeeding. But if you have any concerns, just wait until your baby has been weaned from nursing before you chow down on sushi again.