Being a new parent can be an exciting yet confusing time. With all of the different opinions and information out there, it can often be difficult to figure out exactly how to keep your little bundle of joy healthy and happy.
One area that is especially important for growing babies is nutrition, and as you might expect, breastfeeding plays a major role in providing the necessary nutrients. But what exactly can moms eat while breastfeeding their little ones? This blog post will dive into all of your biggest questions and debunk some common myths that are in circulation.
Can Moms Eat Sushi While Breastfeeding?
We all know that pregnant women should not consume raw fish due to the potential for bacteria and parasites that can put the fetus at risk, but what about breastfeeding women?
Sushi-loving moms can rejoice because they are free to enjoy sushi until their heart’s content post-partum. In most cases, none of the pathogens that are present can be passed onto your baby. However, there are some limits to this that you will need to consider before you hit the all-you-can-eat sushi buffet.
If you’re breastfeeding your little one, it’s important to steer clear of fish containing mercury, whether cooked or not. Mercury is a toxin that can be passed to the baby through breast milk, impacting the brain development and nervous system of your bundle of joy.
What Fish Are Safe for Breastfeeding Moms to Eat?
The good news is that cold water fish are safe for nursing moms to consume. In fact, they can even boost the levels of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids in your breast milk. These nutrients can help your little one develop healthy vision and promote cognitive development.
In fact, the dietary recommendations include a minimum of 8 ounces of fish or shellfish per week. This is a great way to get enough lean protein in your diet.
Here are the best types of fish for pregnant and breastfeeding women to eat:
- Canned tuna
What Types of Fish Are Unsafe for Nursing Moms?
As previously mentioned, fish that are high in mercury are best avoided for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Here are some fish that you shouldn’t consume if you’re nursing:
- King mackerel
- Orange roughy
- Bigeye Tunafish
Additionally, if you eat canned fish, you should ensure you are not consuming too much sodium, especially while breastfeeding.
Sushi Alternatives for Breastfeeding Moms
Vegetarian sushi options are a delicious alternative for breastfeeding women who enjoy sushi but prefer not to eat raw fish. Vegetable maki rolls filled with ingredients like avocado, cucumber, and pickled daikon can be topped with wasabi and soy sauce for a flavorful experience.
Women can also opt for vegetable nigiri or inari for additional variety. Although these vegetarian selections lack certain nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin D typically found in seafood, these important vitamins and minerals can be acquired through other dietary sources.
With all the tasty vegetarian options available, it is easy to find enjoyment while maintaining nutritional needs while breastfeeding.
Can Moms Drink Coffee While Breastfeeding?
According to WebMD, yes, moms can drink coffee while nursing.
This might come as a surprise to many parents, but experts have come to the conclusion that it is safe to drink up to 300 milligrams of caffeine per day while you are breastfeeding your little one. That’s about 3 cups of coffee or 6 cups of green tea. Keep in mind that this is less than the maximum recommendation for adults, which is 400 milligrams.
How Does Caffeine Affect Babies?
While most of the caffeine that you consume while breastfeeding will be absorbed into your system, in some cases, trace amounts may be passed to your new baby. The truth is that some babies are more sensitive to caffeine than others. That’s why it’s best to play it by ear and gradually ease back into the caffeine when you’re nursing.
Here are some indicators that your baby is being affected by your caffeine consumption:
- They are fussier or more irritable than usual
- Difficulties falling or staying asleep
- They appear hyperactive or especially energized
- They are restless and ornery
Another thing that you should consider while drinking caffeine is the age of your baby. Newborn babies can experience the effects of caffeine more intensely than older babies will.
Does Caffeine Affect The Nutritional Value of Breast Milk?
If you drink an average of three cups of coffee daily, your caffeine consumption might be affecting the nutritional value of your breast milk. Studies show that iron levels can be depleted by frequent caffeine consumption.
Thankfully, the solution for this is as simple as reducing your caffeine intake to one cup of coffee per day or cutting it out of your diet completely. However, for many moms, this is easier said than done.
If you have trouble functioning without caffeine, you’re not alone. Feed your little one before consuming your caffeine for the day. Waiting three hours after drinking your coffee can also help reduce the likelihood that you will pass caffeine on to your little one.
Pumping is also an excellent option for women who prefer to drink coffee throughout the day. All you have to do is attach your wearable breast pump before you drink your morning coffee and store the milk in freezer-friendly storage bags, and you’re all set!
Nurture Your Little One
As you embark on your parenting journey, arm yourself with knowledge about breastfeeding and nutrition for your baby. The best way to ensure a healthy and happy life for your little one is to ensure they get all the necessary nutrients from their diet. With the information from this blog post, you can now answer some of the biggest questions surrounding breastfeeding and nutrition.
Always consult a medical professional before making any drastic changes to your diet. You know what's best for your baby – and with the proper guidance, you'll both be off to a healthy and joyful start!