Are you a foodie and love to gorge on a platter full of seafood and fish? Are you a worried new mom wondering if eating fish is safe for your precious baby or not? Well, if you can relate to the above situations, reading this post is a good idea.
The bliss of motherhood comes with its share of adjustments and compromises, particularly when it comes to food and lifestyle. Your diet is critical to your baby’s health and development both during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Do you know that the mercury in fish can adversely affect your baby’s growth? This article will tell you everything about eating seafood while breastfeeding. Want to know more? Go ahead with your read!
Can You Eat Seafood While Breastfeeding?
Seafood is a natural source of omega 3 fatty acids and protein, both of which are essential for good health. But do you know the mercury in seafood can enter your breast milk and damage your baby’s nervous system? (1) The FDA is now planning to recommend lactating women to increase their consumption of fishes that are low in mercury content(2).
The Side Effects Of Consuming Seafood While Breastfeeding:
The consumption of seafood containing mercury during breastfeeding can pose several health risks. Studies reveal that prenatal exposure to mercury can have a negative impact on a baby’s performance in tests that evaluate parameters of language, attention, spatial cognition, and memory, etc (3).
In fact, a new study by the Harvard School of Public Health reinstates that the exposure to mercury may cause permanent damage to the baby’s brain. The child may experience a delay in developmental milestones like walking and talking. He is also likely to face memory, IQ, and attention problems as he grows up (4).
Seafood To Avoid While Breastfeeding:
There are some fishes and seafood that are high in mercury and other toxic metal content. It is best to avoid consuming those while breastfeeding. You can avoid raw shellfish, shark, marlin, king mackerel and swordfish.
Safe Seafood While Breastfeeding:
Do not be paranoid about the potential threat of mercury and other toxins in fish to your child’s health and ban it totally from your kitchen. According to FDA, you must include 8 to 12 ounces of a variety of fish in your weekly diet. You just need to carefully choose fish that are low in mercury. Do not let your child miss out on the nutritional value of fish while he is in your womb or during infancy and early childhood. The nutrients like Vitamin D in fish are critical for the growth and development of your child.
You can safely consume Anchovies, Herring, Mackerel (not King), Sardines, Oysters, Freshwater Trout, Squid, Pollock, Crab, Flatfish, Clams, Scallops, and Haddock. You can go ahead and eat Tuna (lightly canned) and other oily fishes like tilapia, catfish, cod, salmon, and shrimps but in moderation. (5) You may resume the consumption of raw fish such as sushi once your baby arrives.
So, now you know how to enjoy the goodness of fish safely. Why, wait? Go ahead and tantalize the taste buds of your family by serving them a variety of fish and seafood two to three times a week. Remember to keep a tab on your calorie intake while you binge on seafood during breastfeeding. You can broil fish or prepare some healthy fish recipes too!
Did you eat fish while breastfeeding, please share your experience and advice with other moms here. If you know some healthy fish and seafood recipes for lactating mothers or toddlers, please share it with us.