Can You Eat Sushi While Breastfeeding?

Mamas, we get it. Your little one has you craving sushi, but you’re worried about all that raw fish. Can you really eat sushi while breastfeeding safely? The short answer is yes, you can enjoy your spicy tuna roll without worry – as long as you follow some simple guidelines.

While pregnant women need to avoid raw seafood, the rules change once baby is born. The pathogens and mercury that can harm your unborn baby aren’t transmitted through breastmilk. This means nursing mothers can indulge in sushi, as long as it’s high-quality and fresh.

Steer clear of fish highest in mercury, like tuna and mackerel. Opt for salmon, yellowtail, or shrimp instead. Only eat at restaurants you trust to serve the freshest fish. And never let your spicy roll sit out too long before digging in. Follow these tips and you can savor sushi worry-free!

Now that you know the sushi rules for breastfeeding mamas, let’s dive deeper into specifics. Keep reading to learn exactly how to choose the best fish, spot quality sushi, and avoid food poisoning when you’re craving those tasty rolls!

Why Avoid Sushi When Pregnant But Not Breastfeeding?

Raw seafood is off limits during pregnancy because of concerns about bacteria, parasites, and mercury exposure harming your unborn baby. However, these risks disappear once baby is out of your womb.

Pathogens like salmonella or listeria in raw fish are not transferred to your baby through breastmilk. So there’s no need to avoid sushi for fear of food poisoning while nursing.

Mercury builds up in the tissue of large, predatory fish. Exposure in utero can hinder brain development. But only negligible amounts of mercury pass into breastmilk, meaning your baby is not affected by the mercury lingering in your system from that sushi dinner.

So while health experts encourage pregnant women to steer clear of raw fish, the same warnings do not apply to breastfeeding mothers. As long as you choose sushi wisely, you and baby can safely savor those delicious flavors together!

Tips for Eating Sushi While Breastfeeding

Eating sushi while nursing is A-OK, as long as you follow some basic guidelines:

Select Low-Mercury Fish

Large, predatory fish accumulate the most mercury. While nursing, stick to seafood options low in mercury:

  • Salmon
  • Yellowtail
  • Rainbow trout
  • Scallops
  • Shrimp
  • Squid

Limit tuna to just 6oz per week, and avoid swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish.

Ensure Proper Food Handling

As with any raw fish, it’s important to eat sushi that’s freshly prepared and properly handled to avoid any foodborne illnesses.

  • Eat sushi from restaurants you trust, with high food safety standards. Avoid questionable spots with lackluster sanitation practices.
  • Never leave sushi sitting out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Toxin-producing bacteria can grow rapidly on raw fish when left out too long.
  • Refrigerate take-out sushi immediately and enjoy within 24 hours.
  • Smell sushi before eating – discard anything with an unpleasant or “off” odor, which indicates spoilage.

Pick Cooked Options

If you’re unsure about the safety of certain sushi but want to satisfy the craving, go for cooked varieties:

  • Cooked rolls with shrimp tempura or crab sticks
  • Shrimp, eel, or octopus nigiri (flash grilled or poached)
  • Veggie-only sushi like cucumber, avocado, and asparagus rolls

The heat from cooking kills any harmful bacteria present in raw fish. Stick to these cooked options if you have any lingering concerns.

When To Avoid Sushi Altogether

While sushi is deemed safe during breastfeeding in most cases, there are a few situations where it’s better to be cautious:

  • If you have a compromised immune system or are currently sick, avoiding raw fish until you recover reduces infection risk.
  • If your infant was born prematurely or has a compromised immune system themselves, check with your pediatrician before eating raw seafood.
  • If you develop any food poisoning symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or fever shortly after eating sushi, avoid for at least a short period as your body recovers.

Listen to your body and your pediatrician’s advice. If either gives you pause about eating sushi, hold off until you feel ready and assured of your and your baby’s health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is all sushi off limits when breastfeeding?

No, not all sushi is off limits! As long as the fish are low in mercury and the sushi is prepared properly, most varieties are safe to eat. Stick to salmon, yellowtail, shrimp, and other low-mercury options.

What about sushi restaurants – are they safe?

You can safely eat sushi from restaurants you trust to serve high-quality, fresh seafood and maintain proper food safety standards. Avoid questionable spots with subpar sanitation practices.

Can I eat sushi leftovers that have been in the fridge?

Yes, leftover sushi is safe if consumed within 24 hours of being refrigerated. Discard any sushi left at room temperature for over 2 hours.

Are spicy tuna rolls safe to eat while nursing?

Spicy tuna rolls are fine in moderation – tuna contains moderate mercury levels so limit yourself to 6oz per week. Salmon and yellowtail rolls are great low mercury options.

Can I eat sushi if my baby was born prematurely?

Check with your pediatrician first. Babies born prematurely or with compromised immunity may need you to avoid high-risk foods like raw fish until their health stabilizes.

Satisfy Your Sushi Craving Guilt-Free

In most cases, breastfeeding mothers can enjoy sushi without worry or guilt. Pregnancy restrictions don’t apply – so dig into that spicy salmon roll to your heart’s content!

Just remember to choose low mercury varieties like salmon or shrimp, ensure proper handling and storage, and opt for cooked sushi if you have any concerns. Follow these tips and you and baby can safely savor the flavors.

No need to miss out just because you’re nursing. Armed with the facts, you can indulge your sushi craving clear of any worries. Now pass those chopsticks, mama!

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Bill Kalkumnerd
Bill Kalkumnerd

I am Bill, I am the Owner of HappySpicyHour, a website devoted to spicy food lovers like me. Ramen and Som-tum (Papaya Salad) are two of my favorite spicy dishes. Spicy food is more than a passion for me - it's my life! For more information about this site Click

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