When breastfeeding, it is important to avoid certain foods as they can be harmful to you and your baby. Seafood is one of these foods that should be avoided due to its high levels of mercury and other contaminants.
Mercury can cause developmental delays and neurological damage in babies and young children, and are particularly concerning for pregnant and breastfeeding women. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that breastfeeding women and pregnant women completely avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish.
Additionally, the EPA recommends limiting tuna, white croaker, yellowfin tuna, and brown rockfish to 6 ounces or less each week. It’s also important to note that these safety recommendations are based on an average size portion of fish and avoiding fish known to have higher levels of mercury.
Larger and older fish usually have higher levels of mercury and should be avoided altogether. Lastly, make sure to choose fish caught in cleaner waters and cooked to the correct temperature.
Can you eat seafood if you’re breastfeeding?
Yes, it is generally safe to eat seafood while breastfeeding. Fish and shellfish are an important part of a healthy, balanced diet and provide beneficial nutrients, including protein, vitamins and minerals that are important to the growth and development of your baby.
However, some types of fish contain higher levels of mercury, which can be harmful to your baby. These include shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. You should limit your intake of these fish and opt for fish with lower levels of mercury, such as salmon, tilapia, shrimp and canned light tuna.
Additionally, to reduce your risk of consuming contaminants in certain seafood, it is advised to choose varieties that are low in mercury and PCBs, such as wild salmon, albacore tuna, sardines, and trout.
Is there anything you should avoid eating when breastfeeding?
Yes, there are certain foods that should be avoided or limited when breastfeeding. Nursing mothers should avoid alcohol, fish high in mercury, caffeine, certain hard cheeses, processed foods, and foods with artificial sweeteners.
Alcohol can pass through breast milk to the baby and can impair the infant’s motor skills and, even in small amounts, can cause sedation. Fish with high levels of mercury, such as swordfish, shark, and king mackerel, can accumulate in the mother’s milk and harm the baby’s nervous system.
Mothers who consume more than 300mg of caffeine a day should limit their intake as it can cause irritability, restlessness, and sleeplessness in their babies. Some hard cheeses such as Roquefort and blue cheese should be avoided due to the high levels of molds that can lead to fungal infections in babies.
Processed foods, such as frozen dinners and chicken nuggets, often contain high levels of saturated fat and sodium, so avoiding them is beneficial for both the mother and baby. Artificial sweeteners, like aspartame, should be avoided as they can disrupt normal gut bacteria and are toxic for infants.
In general, mothers should look for fresh and unprocessed foods as much as possible and talk to their doctor if they have any concerns or questions. Eating a balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, proteins, and whole grains is highly encouraged.
Can a breastfed baby be allergic to seafood?
Yes, a breastfed baby can be allergic to seafood. Just like adults, babies can experience an allergic reaction when they come in contact with certain foods. Seafood is among the more common allergenic foods, and while some infants may be able to consume it without any negative effects, others may experience an allergic reaction such as skin rashes, swelling, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, vomiting or hives.
If your baby is exhibiting any of these symptoms, it is best to talk to your pediatrician. He or she may suggest eliminating seafood from your infant’s diet to determine if a reaction is present. Additionally, it may helpful to keep a food diary tracking everything the baby is eating and any symptoms that result.
What foods can upset a breastfed baby?
Foods that can potentially upset a breastfed baby include cow’s milk, citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, tomatoes, spices like curry, caffeine, chocolate, garlic, onions, large seeds, peanuts and peanut butter.
It might be helpful to keep a food journal so that you can track what you ate in the days leading up to breastfeeding sessions to see if your baby had any reactions after being exposed to certain foods.
It is also important to note that some breastfed babies can be sensitive to maternal diet, so if your baby has reactions after nursing it may be worth speaking to a lactation consultant to help identify any potential allergens contained in breast milk.
Additionally, if your baby is gassy or colicky after a feeding, it may be worth talking to a doctor to rule out any potential medical issues.
Can I eat shrimp and crab while breastfeeding?
Yes, you can eat shrimp and crab while breastfeeding. Many of the nutrients in these seafoods, such as omega-3 fatty acids and protein, are beneficial for the baby. Studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids can improve the infant’s growth and development, and that protein can help the baby’s developing immune system.
However, it is always important to practice safe and healthy eating habits while breastfeeding, such as avoiding raw and undercooked seafood, ensuring it is cooked thoroughly, and avoiding any form of contamination.
The US Food and Drug Administration also recommends that pregnant and breastfeeding women avoid fish caught from local waterways due to the potential of mercury contamination. Additionally, ensure that you check for any potential food allergies when introducing new foods to your baby’s diet.
Can breastfeeding moms eat tuna?
Yes, breastfeeding moms can typically eat tuna while breastfeeding. Tuna has a lot of beneficial nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and selenium that can help support a breastfeeding mom’s nutritional needs.
This is why many fish may be recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding moms. However, it is important for breastfeeding moms to limit their consumption of tuna because of its mercury content. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, breastfeeding moms should limit their consumption of tuna to no more than 12 ounces (two average meals) per week and avoid other types of fish that may have higher mercury levels.
Additionally, make sure to check the labels of canned tuna; “light” canned tuna contains less mercury than “white” canned tuna. And for safety, be sure to cook tuna thoroughly to help kill off harmful bacteria.
What should I eliminate from my diet while breastfeeding?
When breastfeeding, it is important to pay close attention to your diet. Eating a balanced diet and drinking enough fluids is important for maintaining your energy and milk production. However, certain foods and beverages can be passed to the baby through the mother’s milk, so it is important to avoid them while breastfeeding.
The foods and drinks to which babies may be sensitive include:
-Caffeine: Caffeine can make breastfeeding babies more jittery and can interfere with their sleep. Therefore, it is best to avoid coffee, black tea, energy drinks, and chocolate-containing products during breastfeeding.
-Alcohol: While an occasional drink may not harm a breastfeeding baby, it is best to avoid any alcohol since it can decrease the amount of milk produced. If you do drink, do so immediately after breastfeeding or pumping, to allow time for the alcohol to leave your system before the next feeding.
-Fish: Oily fish contain high levels of pollutants, such as mercury, so it is important to limit intake of these fish, such as tuna, shark, swordfish, marlin and mackerel.
-Herbs: Certain herbs such as sage, oregano, parsley, and peppermint can pass through breast milk and can affect a baby’s hormones, so it is best to avoid them during breastfeeding.
-Industrial chemicals: Chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, and chemical solvents can be passed to the baby through breast milk, so it is important to avoid contact with these chemicals.
In addition to the foods and drinks mentioned above, it is recommended to eliminate added sugar and processed foods as well as eat in moderation when it comes to dairy and gluten, as some babies may be sensitive to these.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet will help you to meet your nutritional needs while breastfeeding, and will ensure that your baby receives all the nutrients they need.
Can shellfish pass through breast milk?
No, shellfish cannot pass through breast milk. Breast milk is an incredibly nutritious and important part of infant nutrition, but due to the filtering and breakdown processes of milk production, proteins and other allergens, including shellfish proteins, stay in the mother’s body and do not pass through breast milk.
Additionally, breast milk is filtered in the mother’s body and can help protect infants from food allergens. Therefore, if a mother has a shellfish allergy, the safest route is to avoid consuming shellfish altogether to avoid potential allergic reactions in the infant.
Does seafood decrease milk supply?
No, seafood does not decrease milk supply. In fact, experts suggest that breastfeeding mothers can enjoy all types of seafood, including fish and shellfish, while pregnant and while breastfeeding. The nutritional benefits of consuming seafood are numerous and include essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
Eating fish and other seafood is important as it provides important nutrition that may be helpful for optimal milk production. Seafood can also enhance the mothers’ absorption of iron, calcium, and other important minerals.
Additionally, seafood is a good source of protein which is important for milk production. Although there are some risk factors to consider, such as possible mercury and chemical contamination, the overall benefit when monitored appropriately may make seafood a beneficial addition to a lactating mother’s diet.
How do I know if my baby is allergic to seafood?
If you suspect that your baby may have a food allergy to seafood, it is important to talk to your pediatrician before attempting to diagnose it yourself. A food allergy diagnosis should be made by a health care professional.
In order to diagnose a food allergy to seafood, your baby will likely have to undergo allergy testing using a combination of skin-prick tests, or blood tests for specific IgE antibodies. If a potential food allergy is found, your pediatrician may recommend an elimination diet to identify the food group causing the reaction.
This involves eliminating the suspected food from your baby’s diet for up to 6 weeks and then reintroducing it slowly to observe the reaction.
Additionally, your pediatrician may recommend that you keep a food and symptom journal to track when and how your baby reacts to certain foods. This information can help your doctor determine what caused the reaction.
In some cases, your baby may experience anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, vomiting, and swelling.
If your baby experiences any of these symptoms, seek emergency medical help right away.
What is the most common allergy in a breastfed baby?
The most common food allergy in a breastfed baby is milk protein, also known as cow’s milk protein. In breast milk, cow’s milk proteins can pass through, triggering an allergic reaction in babies. Symptoms of milk protein allergy in breastfed babies may include eczema, skin rashes, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Allergies to milk proteins can be dangerous and can range in severity, so it is important to speak to your health care provider if you suspect your baby has a milk protein allergy. Other possible allergies in a breastfed baby may include soy, eggs and wheat.
Depending on the baby’s age and health, a doctor may recommend medications, dietary changes or other treatments to help alleviate the symptoms of the food allergy.
Can newborns be around shellfish?
Newborns should not be around shellfish as it may pose a serious health risk to them. Shellfish are high in a type of iron called heme iron, which is difficult for babies to digest. Consuming heme iron in large quantities can lead to a condition known as iron overload, which can result in serious liver and heart damage.
It is also important to be aware that shellfish is a commonly known food allergen and can trigger a severe reaction if a baby has an allergy. For these reasons, it is best to avoid giving shellfish to newborns and always be mindful of their possible presence in food given to babies.
It is also important to check labels for any potential allergens that may be present. It is best to talk to your healthcare provider about what foods are right for your baby.
Can seafood make babies sick?
Seafood has the potential to make babies sick, particularly if it is not prepared properly. Babies under one year old should not be given any type of raw or undercooked seafood, including sushi. Certain types of seafood can also contain additional contaminants that may not be suitable for babies.
Mercury is commonly found at higher concentrations in seafood and can be harmful to infants. Additionally, some of the bacteria and viruses found in some seafood can cause gastrointestinal issues in babies.
In order to reduce the risk of baby getting sick from eating seafood, it should be cooked thoroughly. Make sure it is heated to an internal temperature of at least 145°F and check with a food thermometer.
Older babies can start to eat cooked, mashed, or shredded fish. Make sure to check with the baby’s doctor first before introducing fish into their diet. To further reduce the risk, choose baby-safe fish such as cod, haddock, and pollock.
Avoid more oily fish such as mackerel, swordfish, shark, and tuna because they are more likely to contain higher levels of mercury.