Can you eat crawfish while you're breastfeeding??


I don’t know about y'all, but crawfish season is my favorite time of year! The family gatherings, the family and friends, the spice and the corn and potatoes! YUM! I get asked a lot about if a breastfeeding mother can eat crawfish, so here are some tips for you.

Pro Tip #1: Wear gloves! Mom’s are always on call, right? There's nothing like being in the middle of peeling crawfish and have to run to tend to a baby. With some disposable gloves on, you can eliminate the risk of the spicy seasoning still being on your hands when you handle your baby. Of course y'all need to wash your hands thoroughly before handling the baby, but the gloves can help a TON.

Pro Tip #2: Ask for extra! Crawfish (and most shellfish) are a good source of protein. Crawfish also have Vitamin B-12, Niacin and Folate! What else do you put in your crawfish pot? Corn has Vitamin C and Magnesium! Potatoes? MY FAVORITE! Did you know that white potatoes have more potassium than a banana does? Eat up ladies! I've been to crawfish boils where they have mushrooms, asparagus and garlic in the pot too. According to Dr. Julie Mennella, a Philadelphia biopsychologist who studied nursling behaviors related to garlic consumption by the mother, “the herb's distinctively pungent odor does not appear to bother most nursing babies and may in fact encourage babies to nurse longer.” Anecdotal evidence indicates that garlic's strong anti-fungal and antibiotic properties may help nursing babies avoid thrush and help relieve mastitis suffered by the nursing mom.

Pro Tip #3: Drink extra water! A lot of times crawfish seasonings (or the salted water used for boiling) can have more sodium than you are accustomed to eating. Keep up your hydration to counterbalance all the extra salt. You may feel a bit swollen in your fingers the day after, so take those rings off mama! If your crawfish is too spicy and you grab a glass of water to cool the burn, you may find yourself feeling like the spice is now spicier! Milk can help cool down your mouth when it’s on fire, however, I’m not sure it would taste yummy.

Pro Tip #4: Enjoy yourself and don’t over worry! Mom’s frequently get very worried that their diet will affect the baby. First of all, your breast milk will not taste spicy to the baby if you eat spicy crawfish. Spicy foods are not a reason to pump and dump or to delay breastfeeding. Most Americans eat a variety of foods, which means that your baby was exposed to a variety of tastes and smells while in the womb.

If you have an allergy to shellfish, obviously, please don’t eat crawfish. There can be a strong familial allergy to shellfish, and you might want to take caution when first trying it if a lot of your family is allergic to shellfish. Always monitor your baby for signs of an allergy when trying new foods - fussiness, diarrhea, vomiting, hives or a rash, or abdominal discomfort.

So, in conclusion - YES! you can eat crawfish while your breastfeeding! As an RN, I always encourage a healthy, well balanced diet. As a mom, I say “go for it!” :-) Pinch. Peel. Eat. Repeat! 

Luke Jones