Ceviche Cravings: Navigating the Dos and Don’ts of Eating While Breastfeeding

For many women, the journey of breastfeeding can bring about a multitude of questions when it comes to their diet. One particular dish that often raises concerns is ceviche. This popular Latin American seafood dish is renowned for its tangy and refreshing flavors, but for nursing moms, the question remains – can you eat ceviche while breastfeeding? In this article, we will delve into the world of ceviche and discuss its safety and potential benefits for breastfeeding mothers. So, if you’re a new mom wondering whether or not you can enjoy this delectable delicacy while nourishing your little one, keep reading.

What is Ceviche?

Ceviche is a popular seafood dish that originated in Peru and is now enjoyed in many Latin American countries. It typically consists of raw fish or shellfish that is cured in citrus juices, such as lime or lemon, and mixed with various herbs, spices, and vegetables. Other variations may include cooked seafood or added ingredients such as avocado, corn, or chilies. Ceviche is often served as an appetizer or main course and can be found in restaurants all around the world.

While ceviche has gained popularity among foodies and seafood lovers, it has also raised concerns for breastfeeding mothers. Many wonder if it is safe to consume ceviche while breastfeeding and if it can have an impact on the quality of breast milk. In this article, we will explore this topic in detail and provide you with all the necessary information to make an informed decision.

Nutritional Benefits of Ceviche

Ceviche is not only a delicious dish but also offers various nutritional benefits. It is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. The main ingredient of ceviche- seafood- is low in calories and high in lean protein. Consuming enough protein while breastfeeding is important for both mother and baby as it helps with tissue repair and growth.

Moreover, ceviche contains a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for the development of a baby’s brain and eyesight. It also provides a significant amount of vitamin C from the citrus juices used in its preparation. Vitamin C aids iron absorption which can help prevent iron deficiency during pregnancy and postpartum.

Additionally, the variety of vegetables used in ceviche like onions, bell peppers, cilantro not only add to its delicious flavor but also contribute to its nutritional value by providing antioxidants and fiber.

Can You Eat Ceviche While Breastfeeding?

The short answer is yes, you can eat ceviche while breastfeeding. However, there are some factors to consider before consuming it. One of the main concerns regarding ceviche is the risk of foodborne illnesses, especially for breastfeeding mothers and their babies.

As mentioned earlier, ceviche is made with raw seafood that is cured in acidic juices. While this method can effectively kill harmful bacteria, it may not eliminate all of them. This is because some bacteria can survive in acidic environments. Therefore, consuming raw or undercooked seafood carries a risk of infection from bacteria like salmonella, listeria, and Vibrio cholerae.

Safety Precautions for Eating Ceviche while Breastfeeding

To enjoy ceviche safely while breastfeeding, follow these precautions:

1. Choose the right kind of seafood – When breastfeeding (and even during pregnancy), it’s best to avoid certain types of seafood that are high in mercury such as swordfish, king mackerel, shark, and tilefish. Instead, opt for low-mercury options like shrimp, scallops, and tilapia.

2. Ensure the freshness of ingredients – When making ceviche at home or ordering it from a restaurant, make sure the ingredients are fresh and properly stored. Avoid using frozen fish unless it has been fully thawed.

3. Use high-quality seafood – This may be obvious but using high-quality seafood is crucial for safe consumption. Cheap or poorly handled seafood is more likely to harbor harmful bacteria.

4. Cleanliness is key – Properly wash your hands before handling any food and make sure all utensils and surfaces are clean before preparing ceviche.

5. Marinate long enough- The citrus juices used in marinating the seafood should be acidic enough to kill bacteria but not too acidic that it affects its texture or flavor. It’s best to marinate seafood for at least 30 minutes to an hour.

6. Refrigerate properly – If you’re preparing ceviche at home, make sure to refrigerate it immediately and consume it within two hours. If you’re buying it from a store or restaurant, ask them about their storage and disposal practices.

Benefits of Eating Ceviche while Breastfeeding

While there are some safety precautions for enjoying ceviche while breastfeeding, there are also some benefits that come with consuming this delicious dish.

1. High in nutrients – As discussed earlier, ceviche offers various nutritional benefits due to its high-quality seafood, vegetables, herbs, and spices.

2. Breast milk quality – Ceviche is not only safe to consume while breastfeeding but may also provide nutrients that can enhance the quality of breast milk. The omega-3 fatty acids present in ceviche can improve the fatty acid composition of breast milk, which can benefit infants’ growth and development.

3. Easy to digest – Compared to other forms of raw seafood like sushi, ceviche is easier to digest due to its acidic marinade. This is beneficial for mothers who may have a sensitive stomach during breastfeeding.



The Benefits of Eating Ceviche While Breastfeeding

As a new mom, it’s important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet while breastfeeding. This not only provides essential nutrients for your little one, but also helps with postpartum recovery and keeping your energy levels up. One dish that is often debated among breastfeeding moms is ceviche – a popular seafood dish made with raw fish marinated in citrus juices. So, can you eat ceviche while breastfeeding? The answer is yes, and here’s why:

Rich in Nutrients
Ceviche is a nutritional powerhouse, containing high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Omega-3s are important for both mom and baby, as they help with brain development and have anti-inflammatory properties. Protein is essential for tissue repair after giving birth. Ceviche is also rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B12, zinc, magnesium, and iron.

Low in Calories
Ceviche is a low-calorie dish that still fills you up due to its high protein content. This makes it an ideal choice for moms looking to lose the baby weight while providing enough nutrition for breastfeeding. Additionally, since ceviche doesn’t require cooking with oils or fats like other dishes do, it’s lower in overall calories.

Boosts Milk Production
Breastfeeding moms need an extra 500-700 calories a day to meet their increased energy demands of producing breast milk. Ceviche is a great option because it’s easy to digest and packed full of nutrients that help boost milk production. The proteins found in ceviche such as fish or shrimp are also known to enhance lactation.

Safe Seafood Option
One of the main concerns about eating seafood while breastfeeding is the risk of consuming high levels of mercury. However, ceviche typically uses low-mercury fish such as tilapia or cod. Additionally, the citric acid in the marinade helps to denature any harmful bacteria, making it a safer option than raw fish dishes.

Provides Essential Fatty Acids
Breast milk is rich in essential fatty acids such as DHA and EPA, which are crucial for the healthy development of your baby’s brain and vision. Including ceviche in your diet can boost your intake of these fatty acids, especially if you’re not a fan of taking fish oil supplements.

Ceviche also contains high levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps the body produce serotonin – a neurotransmitter that promotes feelings of well-being and happiness. This is particularly important for breastfeeding moms who may be experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety. Consuming foods high in tryptophan can help alleviate these symptoms.

Precautions to Take When Eating Ceviche While Breastfeeding

While ceviche does have numerous benefits for breastfeeding moms, there are a few precautions to keep in mind before including it in your diet:

Choose High-Quality Seafood
To minimize potential risks of consuming mercury or other toxins from seafood, it’s important to choose high-quality fish from reputable sources. Stick to low-mercury options like tilapia, cod, or shrimp and always make sure they are fresh.

Avoid Raw Shellfish
While fish used in ceviche is marinated with citric acid which can help kill bacteria, the same cannot be said for shellfish. It’s best to avoid raw shellfish altogether while breastfeeding as they can contain harmful bacteria or viruses that could potentially cause food poisoning.

Consume Moderate Amounts
As with any food while breastfeeding, moderation is key. It’s recommended to consume no more than two servings (6 ounces) of cooked ceviche per week to minimize any risks associated with consuming too much seafood.

Different Ceviche Recipes for Breastfeeding Moms

Ceviche is a versatile dish that can be made with a variety of seafood options and marinades. Here are a few breastfeeding-friendly recipes to try out:

Tilapia Ceviche
– 1 pound tilapia, cut into small pieces
– 1 white onion, finely chopped
– 1 tomato, diced
– ½ cup cilantro, chopped
– Juice of 2 limes
– Juice of 1 orange
– Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a glass bowl, mix the tilapia pieces with the lime and orange juice. Let it marinate for at least an hour in the refrigerator.
2. Once the fish has turned opaque, add in the onion, tomato, and cilantro.
3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Serve with tortilla chips or on top of a salad.

Shrimp Ceviche
– 1 pound cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
– ½ red onion, finely chopped
– ½ cucumber, diced
– Juice of 1 lemon
– Juice of 1 lime
– ½ teaspoon honey
– Salt and pepper to taste


1. Can I eat ceviche while breastfeeding?
Yes, you can eat ceviche while breastfeeding as long as it is prepared safely and in small quantities.

2. Is it safe for my baby if I consume ceviche while nursing?
As long as the ceviche is properly cooked with fresh and properly handled seafood, it is safe for your baby. However, it is recommended to consume in moderation.

3. What precautions should I take when eating ceviche while breastfeeding?
It is important to ensure the ceviche is prepared with high-quality ingredients and refrigerate leftovers promptly. You can also consult with your healthcare provider for any specific recommendations.

4. Are there any risks associated with consuming raw fish in ceviche during breastfeeding?
There can be a potential risk of foodborne illnesses or certain bacteria being passed on to your baby through breast milk if the seafood used in the ceviche is not fresh or carefully handled. It is advised to always consume cooked seafood instead.

5. Is there any benefit of consuming ceviche while nursing?
Ceviche made with healthy ingredients like fish and lime juice can provide essential nutrients such as protein, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial for both you and your baby.

6. How much ceviche can I eat while breastfeeding?
It is recommended to limit your intake of raw fish during pregnancy and breastfeeding due to potential risks, including mercury levels in certain types of fish. It’s best to consult with your healthcare provider for individual recommendations based on your dietary choices and health condition.

In conclusion, the question of whether or not one can eat ceviche while breastfeeding is a complex one that requires careful consideration. While there is no direct evidence to suggest that consuming ceviche poses any risks to a breastfeeding mother or her baby, there are certain factors to be mindful of.

Firstly, the use of raw fish in ceviche can increase the risk of food poisoning, which can be especially harmful to infants. Therefore, it is important for breastfeeding mothers to ensure that the fish used in ceviche is fresh and properly handled. Additionally, it is advisable for pregnant and breastfeeding women to limit their consumption of certain types of fish that may contain high levels of mercury.

Furthermore, some mothers may have allergies or sensitivities to certain ingredients used in ceviche, such as citrus fruits or spicy peppers. It is important for them to consult with their doctor if they experience any adverse reactions after consuming ceviche.

On the other hand, ceviche can provide valuable nutrients and benefits for both the mother and her baby. The use of lean protein like fish can help with postpartum weight loss and promote healthy brain and eye development in babies. Moreover, incorporating a variety of vegetables and herbs into the dish can provide essential vitamins and minerals needed for optimal

Author Profile

Erick Benitez
Erick Benitez
In 2003, the Coast Sushi Bar was founded, quickly becoming a beloved fixture in its trendy neighborhood, appreciated for its exceptional sushi and vibrant BYOB atmosphere.

The chefs at Coast have developed a mastery in blending subtle yet intricate flavors, establishing a reputation for pioneering innovative New-Japanese cuisine with only the finest global ingredients.

Building on decades of culinary success, the founder launched a new endeavor in 2024—a blog focused on Japanese snacks. This blog marks a significant shift from restaurateur to food blogger, motivated by a desire to share comprehensive insights into Japanese culinary arts and snack culture. The content covers traditional snacks, the evolution of snack culture in Japan, and the global influence and adaptation of these snacks.

Each blog post reflects the founder's commitment to quality and attention to detail, mirroring the standards of Coast Sushi Bar.

Aimed at both aficionados and novices of Japanese cuisine, the blog serves as a resource for deepening readers’ knowledge and appreciation of Japan's rich and diverse food culture.