Are you a fan of blue cheese but hesitant to indulge while breastfeeding? You’re not alone.
Many new mothers are unsure about what foods are safe to eat while nursing. While some cheeses are off-limits due to the risk of harmful bacteria, others can provide valuable nutrition for both you and your baby.
In this article, we’ll explore the safety of blue cheese while breastfeeding and provide tips for maintaining a healthy diet.
So, grab a snack (maybe some cheese?) and let’s dive in!
Is Blue Cheese Safe While Breastfeeding?
The short answer is yes, blue cheese is safe to eat while breastfeeding, but with some important caveats.
Firstly, it’s important to note that not all blue cheese is created equal. Some varieties are made with unpasteurized milk, which puts them at a higher risk of carrying harmful bacteria like listeria. Pregnant women are advised to avoid these types of cheese altogether, but the risk is lower for breastfeeding mothers.
However, it’s still important to exercise caution and choose blue cheese made with pasteurized milk whenever possible. This will greatly reduce the risk of any potential harm to you or your baby.
Additionally, it’s important to consume blue cheese in moderation. While it does have some nutritional benefits, such as being high in calcium, it’s also high in saturated fat. Too much saturated fat can lead to health issues like high cholesterol and heart disease.
Understanding The Risks Of Certain Cheeses While Breastfeeding
When it comes to cheese and breastfeeding, there are some important risks to consider. Soft cheeses like Camembert and Brie, as well as blue cheeses like Roquefort and Gorgonzola, are best avoided due to the risk of harmful bacteria affecting both the mother and baby. These types of cheese are more prevalent to avoid during pregnancy, but it’s still important to avoid them while breastfeeding as well.
Unpasteurized soft cheeses (and other unpasteurized dairy products) can carry a bacteria called listeria monocytogenes, which can cause serious problems for pregnant women and may be linked to stillbirth and miscarriage. While cheese made in the United States must be made from pasteurized milk (which kills the listeria organism), imported cheeses may still pose a risk.
However, it’s important to note that there is no evidence in the literature suggesting transmission of Listeria through breastmilk. So, while unpasteurized dairy products are not recommended during pregnancy, they are generally considered safe for nursing moms.
It’s also worth noting that what a mother eats can influence the smell and taste of breast milk. While many dairy products and soft cheeses that were advised against during pregnancy are fully allowed while breastfeeding (save for the cooked version), it’s important to consume them in moderation. Intense flavors derived from certain cheeses like brie may not be appreciated by some babies, so it’s best to wait a few months before going back to eating them regularly.
Lastly, it’s important to avoid cheese-like brie if the baby is suffering from skin irritation like eczema, which could worsen following the indirect ingestion of this food. Overall, while blue cheese is safe to eat while breastfeeding, it’s important to exercise caution and choose pasteurized varieties in moderation.
The Benefits Of Eating Cheese While Breastfeeding
Cheese, in general, is a good source of protein, calcium, zinc, vitamins, and minerals, which are all important for both the mother and baby’s health. When it comes to blue cheese specifically, it has the highest calcium content among all cheeses, containing 33% of the recommended daily intake (RDI). This makes it an excellent choice for breastfeeding mothers who need to maintain their calcium levels.
Moreover, blue cheese has been found to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens bones and makes them more prone to fractures. This is especially important for women who are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis due to hormonal changes during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
In addition to this, blue cheese can also help manage gout. Gout is a type of arthritis that occurs when uric acid builds up in the blood and forms crystals in the joints. Blue cheese contains compounds that help reduce uric acid levels in the body, making it beneficial for those who suffer from gout.
Finally, blue cheese can also keep teeth healthy and strong. This is because it contains high levels of calcium and phosphorus, which are essential minerals for maintaining healthy teeth and bones.
Tips For Choosing And Consuming Cheese While Breastfeeding
When it comes to choosing and consuming cheese while breastfeeding, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here are some tips:
1. Choose pasteurized cheese: As mentioned above, it’s important to choose cheese made with pasteurized milk to reduce the risk of harmful bacteria.
2. Avoid mold-ripened cheeses: Soft cheeses like Brie, Camembert, Roquefort, Gorgonzola, and Danish blue should be avoided, as they have a higher risk of carrying harmful bacteria.
3. Consume in moderation: Cheese is high in saturated fat, so it’s important to consume it in moderation to avoid health issues like high cholesterol and heart disease.
4. Watch for any reactions in your baby: While it’s unlikely that your baby will have an allergic reaction to cheese, it’s still important to watch for any signs of discomfort or sensitivity.
5. Consider the taste and smell: The taste and smell of your breast milk can be influenced by the foods you eat, including cheese. If you notice that your baby doesn’t enjoy the taste of your milk after consuming certain types of cheese, it may be best to avoid them for a while or consume them in moderation.