Can you eat sushi while breastfeeding?
Many guidelines recommend avoiding sushi during pregnancy, but sushi lovers will be pleased to learn that they can enjoy this food again after the baby is born.
Although sushi is suitable to eat while breastfeeding, women should continue to avoid certain types of fish that are high in mercury. Many other types of fish, both cooked and raw, offer health benefits for both the woman and baby.
In this article, we explain the safety and risks of eating sushi and raw fish while breastfeeding.
Is sushi safe to eat while breastfeeding?
Sushi is safe to eat while breastfeeding, as long as women eat from a reputable restaurant that uses high-quality fish from reliable sources.
If the source of the fish is not clear, it is best to ask the restaurant staff for more information.
Pregnant women need to avoid raw fish as bacteria and parasites pose a risk to the fetus.
However, there is little to no risk of these pathogens passing to a baby through breast milk, which means that sushi is safe to consume while breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding women should avoid eating any fish that contains high levels of mercury, regardless of whether that fish is raw or cooked. It is possible for some mercury to pass to a baby through breast milk.
Although the quantity of mercury reaching the breast milk would be very small, infants are particularly susceptible to toxins. Mercury can affect a growing baby's brain and nervous system.
Cooked fish and breastfeeding
Cooked fish provides many health benefits for breastfeeding women and breastfed babies. Cold-water fish, in particular, is rich in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. It is also high in protein and low in saturated fat.
The health benefits of fish for infants are due primarily to its omega-3 content, which promotes good vision and cognitive development.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020 recommend that breastfeeding women eat at least 8 ounces (oz) of seafood, including fish and shellfish, per week.