Is It Safe To Consume Fish While Breastfeeding?

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Are you a foodie and love your plate of fish and chips? Are you hesitating from indulging your taste buds wondering if doing so will harm your breastfeeding baby? Well, if you can relate to the above situations, reading this post is a good idea.

Motherhood demands its share of sacrifices to safeguard the well-being of your precious little darling. Right from your pregnancy you may have inculcated several changes in your diet and lifestyle to ensure you have a healthy baby. Although your little bundle of joy is in your arms now, you still cannot afford to be lax in your food habits. You need to have a balanced diet to provide your infant adequate nutrition while nursing, as your breast milk is his sole source of sustenance. Do you want to know whether eating fish while breastfeeding is safe or not? Go ahead with your read!

Is It Safe To Consume Fish While Breastfeeding?

Can I eat fish while breastfeeding? According to the US Food and Drug Administration and the US Environmental Protection Agency, women who are breastfeeding must increase their consumption of fish. They recommend that every week new mothers should consume around 8-10 ounces of fish that contain low levels of mercury to boost the health and development of their breastfeeding baby. (1)

Fishes are also a storehouse of omega-3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA. It is a rich source of vitamin D and essential minerals such as iron, magnesium, iodine, selenium, and copper. (2) You must add it to your meals plans during lactation to provide your little one adequate nutrition.

In fact, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that the babies of mothers who consumed fish during pregnancy and breastfeeding showed better signs of early child development than others. (3)

[ Read: Eating Spicy Food While Breastfeeding ]

Side Effects Of Eating Fish While Breastfeeding:

While major healthcare organizations advise lactating mothers to include more fish in their diet, it is important to note that many fishes contain high levels of mercury, which can prove dangerous for the baby.

According to the FDA, if pregnant and lactating women consumed fishes that contain high levels of mercury, it could adversely affect the development of the nervous system in their babies. (4)

[ Read: Is Consuming Seafood Safe While Breastfeeding ]

Fishes That Can Be Safely Consumed During Lactation:

Certain fishes are super foods for pregnant and breastfeeding moms as they contain higher levels of fatty acids and lower levels of mercury. Here is a handy list of fishes that you can safely enjoy eating during pregnancy and lactation.

  • Atlantic mackerel
  • Capelin
  • Char
  • Herring
  • Mullet
  • Shrimp
  • Salmon
  • Clam
  • Rainbow trout
  • Lake whitefish
  • Hake
  • Anchovy
  • Oysters
  • Blue crab

These fishes are a good source of protein and are also low in saturated fats (5).

[ Read: Fish Oil While Breastfeeding ]

Fishes To Avoid While Nursing:

Some fishes may contain high levels of mercury, which can prove to be dangerous for your health and your baby’s development, especially when consumed in large amounts. Shark, swordfish, fresh tuna, tilefish, king mackerel, and marlin are some fishes that contain the highest levels of mercury. It is advisable to avoid the consumption of these fishes during pregnancy and lactation period.

However, canned tuna contains relatively low levels of mercury, and you can consume it occasionally (6).

You should consult your nutritionist before adding fish to your postnatal diet. You can also find out the quantity of fish you should be consuming every week.

Now you know how to enjoy the goodness of fish while breastfeeding. Why wait? Go ahead and spread the word!

Did you consume fish while breastfeeding? How did it benefit you? Please share your experience with other moms here!

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