As a breastfeeding mother, it’s natural to worry about what you eat and how it may affect your baby. One such question that often arises is “how long after eating tuna can I breastfeed?”. Tuna is a popular fish consumed by many people around the world due to its high protein content and other nutritional benefits. However, it also contains mercury, which can be harmful to babies.

In this article, we’ll delve into this topic in detail and provide all the necessary information that every breastfeeding mother needs to know before consuming tuna.

What Is Mercury?

What Is Mercury?

Mercury is a type of heavy metal found naturally in rocks and soil. It gets released into rivers and oceans due to human activity like burning fossil fuels or mining activities. This element frequently amalgamates with other chemicals in the environment as methylmercury.

Fish absorb small amounts of methylmercury from their diet when living organisms in water undergo methylation processes. Thus large predatory fish like sharks and swordfish contain higher levels of mercury than smaller fishes like sardines or salmon since they consume larger quantities of smaller fishes containing mercury build-up over time.

Why Is Mercury Harmful To Babies?

Why Is Mercury Harmful To Babies?

Exposure to high levels of mercury during pregnancy or lactation might have negative effects on fetal development or infant health because babies’ brains are still developing inside their mothers’ womb for 9 months while taking nourishment via umbilical cord

Studies suggest that exposure to high levels of toxic metals such as lead, cadmium & mercury through maternal milk may damage infants’ cognitive development [R]. As per American Pregnancy Association (APA), too much consumption may cause neurological problems later in life if exposed early – especially during developmental stages.

How Much Tuna Can You Eat While Breastfeeding?

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has provided guidelines regarding safe seafood intake during pregnancy and breastfeeding [R]:

– Eating up to 12 ounces (about two average meals) week-to-week of fish low in mercury can help support fetal development.
– Tuna, a popular fish, contains high levels of mercury that may cause harm to your baby if not taken in moderation. Pregnant or lactating women are advised to avoid eating more than 6 ounces per week.

The FDA recommends limiting consumption of canned tuna to 1 serving (about three or four ounces) per week for breastfeeding women. Albacore (“white tuna”) has higher concentrations of methylmercury compared to light tuna so limit it up to 6 oz every month.

How Long After Eating Tuna Can You Breastfeed Safely?

Research has shown that while consuming seafood containing traces of toxic elements doesn’t immediately pass through milk produced by nursing mothers [R], its elimination may take time depending on the severity levels present in diet at consumption and personal metabolism variation from each individual i.e some bodies process toxins differently than others causing it longer for them.

It takes around two days (approximately 120 hours) for approximately half the total amount consumed— after which prolonged exposure could affect infants’ health who possess less defense mechanisms against those chemicals. Therefore it’s necessary for breastfeeding mothers who consume sea-based food occasionally an adequate daily intake level within safe limits listed above when fishing or purchasing portions beforehand towards sustaining infant & their own wellness

Are There Any Precautions You Should Take To Eat Tuna While Breastfeeding?

Here are few tips you should consider before including this nutritious fish variety into your meal plan-

1. Opt For Fish Lower In Mercury: Choose fishes with lower mercury concentration during pregnancy and lactation as they will provide essential nutrients without risking adverse effects on infants’ neurological systems later on.

2. Stick To Guidelines: Be sure to follow recommended amounts given by US FDA guidelines based upon once weekly measures when planning meals involving cans/bags purchased at store shelves stocked with different types-weighted recipes like albacore vs lite varieties -checking labels along way towards sticking to safe intake levels accorded by regulatory bodies.

3. Check Labels and Purchase Fresh Stock: When purchasing canned tuna check for expiration dates, the brand of origin, processing procedures such as mercury removal steps before it was packed. Fresh seafood is known to accumulate less quantities of toxic substances as opposed processed forms like canned or frozen in markets beyond anything else so get your fish from trusted sources if possible.

4. Avoid Raw Fish: Eating raw or undercooked tuna can carry harmful bacteria and parasites that could be dangerous for both you and your nursling while lactating period so always cook them thoroughly before consumption ensuring all juices run clear inside flesh upon cooking completed


In conclusion, eating a nutritious diet during lactation is an important part of promoting optimal infant growth and development; but specific foods should be enjoyed within the context of overall balanced meal plans tailored around personal preferences & health conditions . In order to safely enjoy consumption when breastfeeding with neutral outcomes for yourself or child– follow appropriate safety protocols listed above which vary depending upon species gluten-free diets may need modifying based on frequency recommendations provided by the FDA along with manufacturer rules for storage handling included disclaimer warnings pre-allergy abdications done according to NIMH dietary guidelines today’s standards set towards better parenting practices help keep infants healthier longer through outages life cycle stages nonetheless.