Breastfeeding and Sushi??

Updated on May 31, 2008
C.P. asks from Phoenix, AZ
8 answers

im breastfeeding my 5 month old preemie. is it safe to eat raw fish??? thanks!

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answers from Phoenix on

My son is 5 months old and I exclusively breastfeed him and eat sushi all the time and he has not been affected by it at all.

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answers from Las Cruces on

I was wondering the same thing. I haven't seen anything online.



answers from Albuquerque on

Yes, you can eat sushi and breastfeed. I craved sushi through my whole pregnancy and my OB/GYN told me it would be ok after delivery because anything you eat is filtered through your digestive system before it goes to your breast milk. Even if you ate something rotten you would get sick, but your breast milk would be fine.
So go enjoy.



answers from Tucson on

I totally understand that you like sushi, however if it were me I would not even think about eating it. Your baby is in such a fragile state being so premature. I would not take any risk at all. I do not believe that we filter out everything in our systems. Our baby eat what we eat when breast feeding. I have a 21 month old and while breast feeding I was just as careful with what I ate as I was when I was pregnant. Bottom line, I think why take a risk when you really don't have to. It is not a life or death situation that you have to eat this, so if it were me for the absolute health of my child, I would not eat it at all.

Use your best judgement and trust your gut feeling. Usually if you are doubting doing something there is a reason and you should not do it.

Good Luck. Enjoy that wonderful little baby!



answers from Eugene on

I nursed my kids, and LOVE sushi. Did you know you can have sushi made with BBQ chicken and other cooked meats? Sushi is the rice, not necessarily raw fish. Adapt and ENJOY!



answers from Phoenix on

Hi C.,

Seems like you have a variety of responses below but I'll still put in my 2 cents. My dr. said it was okay, and I HAD to have it after 9 months of cravings. I ate sashimi and did not have a problem; of course, our daughter is not sensitive to much so its all a matter of opinion. I would try to eat a favorite meal one night and then see how your baby reacts. She may be preemie and fragile, but she's at 5 months and getting stronger...



answers from Albuquerque on

I found a couple of articles that support what Nicole S is suggesting, that it's fine (,,3wsv....

Apparently, eating sushi is a twofold risk - it is one of the several risk factors that can cause condition called toxoplasmosis (, a parasitic infection which is typically asymptomatic in a healthy adult, but which can be passed to a baby in utero, and thus poses the greatest health risk to a pregnant mother and her child. Sushi (raw fish) is also a risk factor in contracting Listeriosis (, from listeria bacteria. This by the way is the same bacteria that pregnant women are trying to avoid be refraining from from soft cheeses (brie, camembert, etc.), raw (unpasteurized) dairy products and eggs that are not fully cooked (bye bye Caesar Salad and sunny side up!).

According to these sources, a nursing child is not a risk to contract the infection from her mother via breastmilk. However, keep in mind that if a mother obtains the condition from a different source than sushi (such as contanimated cat/animal feces-watch out for cleaning litter box!, contanimated water, or a surface contaminated with the parasite), and the child is in the same environment, then the child could still be at risk.

Also, I didn't find anything about ways an infected mother can transmit an infection - obviously the blood and feces are contaminated, but what about saliva? How many mothers, in a pinch, have been known to lick a napkin and wipe children's faces (potentially mouths) with the napkin? No idea about that. Ask your doctor or maybe or more thorough search online than I was able to do in my 10 minutes here would bring an answer.

****Pregnant Moms or wary nursers take heart!!*** You can still go out to a sushi restaurant if you need a fix - simply call ahead and ask if there are any sushi options with cooked fish. For example, unagi (or eel) is a cooked sushi that is typically found in most sushi restaurants. I found several restaurants in ABQ (Sushi King downtown for one which has become one of our favorites) that offer sushi rolls with *cooked* fish in them, and they are SO TASTY that I still eat them, even though I feel I can safely eat raw fish sushi as my nursing daughter is 9 months old..



answers from Phoenix on

Do not limit your fish intake while nursing. Research confirms (Hibbeln, 2007)positive cognitive outcomes from pregnant as well as nursing mothers who eat more than 12 ounces of fish a week.

Fish and shellfish have many health benefits but some fish have high levels of mercury, which can harm a baby’s developing nervous system. Women who are breastfeeding should avoid high mercury containing fish as outlined below.


Fresh and frozen tuna
King mackerel
*Limit white canned tuna to no
per month

Safer choices:

Canned sardines and anchovies
Tilapia Crab
Light canned tuna

Use the same principles when eating sushi. If you have any reservations about the quality of the fish you are eating -don't eat it or make sure it is cooked if your immune system is compromised.

J. Katzen-Luchenta AMI CFP

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