Can You Eat Sushi While Breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding can be a difficult yet extremely rewarding task. While breastfeeding is done primarily to sustain a baby, the process does build a special relationship between the mother and child as well as provide psychological benefits. These include improved sleep and a less fussy baby, as per WebMD. Regardless of the reason for breastfeeding, it's crucial to provide the baby with healthy milk. To do so though, most mothers tend to look after what they consume on a daily basis. That way, no harmful chemicals or substances get passed onto their newborn (via March of Dimes).

While there are well-known things to avoid when breastfeeding, like smoking, drinking alcohol, or taking illegal substances, some may not be sure if sushi is a part of the list. Therefore, here's what to keep in mind when that sushi craving starts to creep up on you while breastfeeding your new bundle of joy.

Sushi and breastfeeding

For some people, sushi is the ultimate food out there. After all, the variety of rolls out there almost seem endless. Luckily, those breastfeeding can eat sushi, according to the experts at MomJunction. However, all moms should be aware that any sushi made with fish that contains or has absorbed high amounts of mercury is not safe to consume. In other words, this includes bigeye and yellowtail tunas, swordfish, tilefish, and sharks. Keep in mind, this rule goes for all types of seafood dishes made with these types of fish, not just sushi.

In turn, those who aren't cautious put their baby at risk of catching a bacterial infection from the bacteria found in raw fish. The mercury, found in fish, can also affect the newborn's brain and nervous system. That being said, it's essential to know where the seafood you're consuming or are looking to consume is coming from, seeing as it can save you a whole lot of concern for your baby.

Healthy fish choices for breastfeeding moms

Although fish with high levels of mercury should be avoided at all costs, that's not to say all seafood should be banned from your diet while breastfeeding. Luckily, there are safe options to choose from that will not harm your newborn. In fact, some seafood options will actually contribute to a child's development, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Choline, usually found in fish, can help with your child's spinal cord.

Some fish choices to include in your diet while breastfeeding or even still pregnant are bluefish, buffalofish, snapper, mahi mahi, halibut, crab, lobster, catfish, cod, shrimp, crawfish, scallop, sardine, or oysters, among many others. However, be sure to stick to a proper portion, which tends to be less than 12 ounces per week. If you have any questions or concerns regarding any specific food while breastfeeding, reach out to your doctor, they will have a better idea of what's safe for you and your baby.