During lactation, women have to stay away from a number of products that are offered by modern manufacturers as well as by numerous cafes and restaurants. Since Japanese restaurants are very popular today, naturally, the question arises: “Is it safe to eat sushi while breastfeeding?”
The diet of a nursing mother is an extremely important thing. Depending on it, the baby receives vitamins and nutrients necessary for their full development. Therefore, a mother must follow the diet. During this period she has to give up many of the foods that she may like very much. Also, she needs to minimize her visits to restaurants and cafes. Asian cuisine is very popular today, especially sushi and rolls. For some people, these dishes even have become an element of the daily menu. So, here are the reasonable questions: is it safe to eat sushi while breastfeeding? What are the benefits and dangers of this meal for a mother and her baby?
Is Eating Sushi While Breastfeeding Good or Bad?
There is no definite opinion on this issue among doctors. At first glance, there is nothing harmful in rolls, it’s just fish and rice. In addition, fish is a product that is rather beneficial for young mothers and breastfed babies. It contains iodine, vitamin B complex, and valuable amino acids.
But everything is not that easy. Firstly, the problem is that for preparing sushi raw, salted, or smoked fish is used. Secondly, in modern conditions it is not so easy to find real high-quality products. Especially it concerns valuable fish species that are delivered from far away. What’s more, these ingredients spoil very quickly.
On the other hand, if the product is made according to all the rules without breaking the technology it will not cause any harm to a mother and her breastfed baby. As an option, you can prepare sushi and rolls yourself. The ingredients for them are now easily accessible but you need to be careful with the quality of the products.
Sushi during Breastfeeding: Benefit and Harm
Lactation is an extremely important period for both the mother and her baby. Together with the nutritious milk the child receives everything that their mother consumes. In addition, a proper and balanced meal directly determines the quality of breast milk.
During such an intimate moment as breastfeeding, the baby feels their mother’s emotions and mood very clearly. Therefore, if the mother is in a good mood, then she can easily pass her feelings to the child. Unfortunately, this effect also works in the opposite direction. Therefore, if the Japanese cuisine delivers a lot of pleasure to the nursing mother, maybe it makes sense not to stop eating rolls and sushi. In addition, the product has a significant benefit.
The Benefits of Eating Sushi While Breastfeeding
- The main element of sushi and rolls is rice. It contains many healthy components such as minerals and vitamins B, E, and PP.
- There is no doubt about the health benefit of fish: everyone is aware of the phosphorus and many other useful elements. Fish is a high-protein, low-fat food that provides a range of health benefits. White-fleshed fish, in particular, is lower in fat than any other source of animal protein. Oily fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, or the “good” fats, which is especially important during breastfeeding.
- It’s hard to imagine a recipe of Japanese cuisine without nori seaweed. Seaweed is rich in iodine and vitamin B12.
- Wasabi, in its turn, has not only a sharp taste but also an antimicrobial effect. What’s more, this product protects teeth from harmful tooth decay.
- Ginger – another useful supplement that perfectly removes inflammation and improves digestion. It contains a large number of B-group vitamins, phosphorus, sodium, calcium, magnesium, folic, pantothenic, and ascorbic acid.
- Natural soy sauce is rich in amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Moreover, scientists say about its ability to resist the development of cancerous tumors.
But at the same time, these products have certain drawbacks which can become a threat for a woman and her baby. So, what should a breastfeeding mom be afraid of when eating such dishes?
Possible Harmful Effects of Eating Sushi While Breastfeeding
The most important threat of Japanese cuisine is raw fish. Almost every recipe for rolls and sushi contains it. In the country of the rising sun, they are confident in the quality of this product, so there is no question of any harm. But, unfortunately, other countries’ suppliers are not always honest. Domestic restaurants of Japanese cuisine do not always offer the proper quality fish. This sad fact speaks of the risk of having parasites in it. Trying bad quality rolls during breastfeeding can lead to a serious poisoning. Among the possible consequences is also an allergic reaction in a mother or in the baby. Fortunately, the menu of any Japanese cuisine cafe or restaurant can offer more than one alternative recipe. Choose rolls and sushi with smoked fish, Japanese omelets, vegetables, fried shrimps, and other safe fillings. Among these are children’s rolls as well.
Sauces and Other Sushi Components
- It’s not a secret that during breastfeeding a mother should exclude potentially dangerous allergens from her diet. Wasabi and ginger, in spite of their good for health properties, are well-known allergens. It is not recommended to eat them. In addition, they affect the taste qualities of milk. A child may not like such a peculiar taste. This can cause the child to refuse breast milk.
- Soy sauce, despite some positive aspects, has a high salt content. In addition, it is very difficult to find a natural product. Most of the assortment offered in shops and restaurants includes chemical ingredients. Among other things, the sauce gives the taste of milk a specific shade that a baby may not like. During the first months of lactation, it is not recommended to use soy sauce. This will help to avoid allergic reactions and other negative effects on the health of the newborn. Nursing mothers may refuse to eat rolls with soy sauce or replace it with home-cooked options. For example, sushi and a mixture of sour cream and mustard with the addition of salt are a perfect match. Extra ingredients for sour cream should be added not for the spiciness but rather for a flavor.
Some Other Harmful Effects Include:
- Possible violation of sanitary and hygienic standards. This basically applies to all fast foods and catering establishments. One can never be 100% sure about how fresh are the products which are used to make a dish, whose hands touched the food while cooking, who washed the plates and flatware, and whether they are really clean.
- Salmonella and helminths are not the only things an appetizing fish can conceal. If you regularly eat raw seafood the risk of getting serious diseases such as toxoplasmosis and listeriosis increases.
Precautionary Measures While Eating Sushi and Breastfeeding
Considering all the facts listed above, we can safely say that a nursing mother can eat sushi while breastfeeding. But she should observe some precautions. Before indulging yourself with rolls and sushi while breastfeeding, keep in mind these rules:
- If you are not sure whether a mother can eat sushi while breastfeeding but tend to a positive response, pay attention to the quality of the product. Do not hesitate to smell the food before eating. You need to make sure that the dish is absolutely fresh.
- Thinking about which sushi to choose, pay attention to recipes without raw fish. Choose slightly salted or smoked kinds or rolls without seafood.
- A preferable time to introduce the baby to the Japanese cuisine through breast milk is from 3 months and older. At this stage, the baby’s sensitive stomach is more protected from unwanted reactions.
- During breastfeeding, any controversial product should be introduced into baby’s menu gradually. Whatever rolls and sushi you prefer, start the test with a small piece and watch the reaction of the baby. It is recommended to eat no more than 5 pieces at a time.
- Even if you are a big fan of Japanese cuisine, we do not advise you to eat sushi more than once a week.
If the nursing mother follows these simple recommendations, she may not worry that exotic Japanese dishes will cause any harm to the health of her baby. Everything needs a measure. This rule becomes especially relevant and important when it comes to a nursing woman’s diet.
The bottom line is the following: eating sushi while breastfeeding doesn’t necessarily mean you’re causing your baby some problem. But it does contain a risk. Be careful with your diet and think twice before eating something. Not just sushi.