If you are currently nursing or breastfeeding, you should be watchful of your diet. As a parent, you do want what’s best for your child, and that is just right.
You may have encountered a lot of people who told you not to eat fish when you’re breastfeeding. The presence of mercury in fish may or can harm your child.
It is just understandable that this is devastating news, especially for those who love their fish. Also, fish is one of the best sources of Omega-3, and we all know we need our Omega-3, right? We have always known fish as a healthy sea food.
Why Dread Fish When Breastfeeding?
It is true that fish contain mercury. When you eat fish, your body absorbs methymercury found in fsh. Mercury will then make its way to milk, and eventually be absorbed in your baby’s body, which is harmful for him or her. The baby’s brain and nervous system may then be affected because methylmercury acts as a neurotoxin. Babies and very young children should not be exposed to methymercury because their nervous system and brain are still developing.
Stop Eating Fish Now?
No. That is not necessary. While there may be risks eating fish while you’re breastfeeding, they are not enough to offset the good things that come with eating fish. Remember, fish is just a very good source of Omega-3. And why do we need our Omega-3? It is simply because Omega-3 helps lower the risks of chronic diseases such as cancer, arthritis, and heart diseases. Fish is healthy seafood, and should not be eliminated from the diet. However, it can be limited, or you simply need to avoid fish that has high mercury content.
Good question. One cannot totally avoid mercury exposure, but it can be controlled, starting with knowing what fish to eat and which ones to avoid. Based on research by the Food and Drug Administration in 2004, there are four types of fish that breastfeeding women and young children should avoid: king mackerel, tilefish, swordfish, and shark. These fishes are high in mercury content.
It does not really stop there. There are experts who also suggest that striped bass, marlin, Spanish mackerel, frozen or fresh tuna, and golden snapper must also be avoid, together with Chilean sea bass, orange roughy, walleye, and Crevalle jack. You must be stunned by the list, but we do want what’s best for our children, right? It’s just for the mean time. When you’re done breastfeeding, you can list them back on the menu.
Omega-3 From Other Sources
Now that you want to limit fish in your diet, that does not necessarily mean that you cannot have enough Omega-3. There are other foods that contain Omega-3. Milk, eggs, juice, soy beverages, yogurt, cereal, margarine, and bread also contain Omega-3. Although some may not have high DHA content, you can still increase the amount up by mixing the different sources in your diet.
You can also turn to supplements. Some may contain fish oil, but you don’t have to worry; that is mercury-free because mercury is not fat soluble. You can also choose cod liver oils. However, you need to make sure that you’re just taking enough vitamin A. Too much vitamin A is not good for the body.
Yes! Don’t Stop Eating Fish
...as long as you choose the fish for you. Yes, we may get our Omega-3 from other sources, but fish is still different. Aside from it being a healthy seafood, it is just delicious! Do not totally deprive yourself from it. See the list of “fish-to-eat” as your silver lining. If there are ways to protect our children without totally changing ourselves (or even our diets), then let’s take advantage of them- starting with not totally crushing out fish from the menu. Just leave out those with high mercury content to stay on the safe side.