Can You Eat Raw Cookie Dough While Breast-feeding?

Raw cookie dough can carry dangerous pathogens and when you are breastfeeding this can be an even bigger concern than at other times; however, despite the dangers, it might not be a big deal should you accidentally eat something you aren't supposed to. Practicing food safety is a good idea for a nursing mother, but if you do become ill, you don't necessarily need to stop breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding Nutrition

Breastfeeding mothers need not restrict specific food groups during nursing, including snacks or desserts. If you are nursing a baby, you should aim to eat a balanced diet containing all of the nutrients you and your baby need, but this should be attainable through a healthy, balanced diet. Cookie dough, both raw and prepared as cookies, isn't the healthiest food, but nutritionally should pose no problem when eaten on occasion as part of an otherwise balanced diet.

The main concern about eating raw cookie dough, whether breastfeeding or not, is the potential for contamination with the bacteria salmonella. Salmonella sometimes occurs in raw eggs, an ingredient in raw cookie dough 2. Only about 1 in 10,000 eggs are infected with this pathogen, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, so in most cases even raw cookie dough will remain safe. Cooking destroys the salmonella pathogen, so prepared cookies carry no risk. Cookies prepared without eggs also might be completely safe for consumption.

Salmonella and Breastfeeding

Even if you do take an occasional swipe of raw cookie dough, you need not fear passing on a potential salmonella infection to your child as long as you don't feed the baby any of the dough itself. Salmonella does not pass into breast milk from a mother's digestive tract 2. In fact, breastfeeding actually exerts a protective effect against salmonella 2. Immune cells in breast milk, and colostrum, the liquid produced before breast milk comes in, destroy salmonella organisms 2.

Points to Consider

If you do contract salmonella, continue to breastfeed your baby but make sure you get extra fluids, since vomiting and diarrhea caused by this illness can cause dehydration. Severe dehydration might negatively impact milk supply, so if this occurs you might have to supplement with stored pumped milk or formula.