Can you eat lunch meat when nursing?

In this article we are going to answer can you eat lunch meat when nursing? What is lunch meat? Is it healthy to eat lunch meat when nursing? What is the risk of eating lunch meat when nursing and how to add lunch meat when nursing. 

Can you eat lunch meat when nursing?

Yes, you can eat lunch meat when nursing. When you are nursing, there is no need to avoid deli meats or soft cheeses. Food poisoning bacteria do not pass through the milk but there is still a risk that the mother can get sick. 

What is lunch meat?

Lunch meat is defined as a type of cooked meat that is often sold in tins. They are also known as cold cuts, lunch meats, or deli meats. The main categories are poultry, beef, pork, or a mix of them. Ham is the most common type of lunch meat. 

Lunch meats are precooked or cured and are sliced and served cold or hot. They can be sliced to order or bought pre-pack in vacuum packages. 

Chicken breast or turkey breast can be another type of poultry lunch meat. There are also many lunch types of meat made from beef. Meatloaf can be made of a variety of meats. Some other types of luncheon meats are

  • Bresaola
  • Chicken Load
  • Corned beef
  • Dutch loaf
  • Ham: baked, boiled, cooked, serrano, Iberico, prosciutto, smoked
  • Meatloaf
  • Mortadella
  • Pork roll
  • Roast beef, lamb, or pork
  • Sausages
  • Smoked meat
  • Tongue
  • Spam and treet

Is it healthy to eat lunch meat when nursing?

Lunch meats are food high in fat, nitrates, and sodium. They are not the healthiest meat you can choose. Sliced to order luncheon meats are exposed to a higher amount of preservatives. Luncheon meats have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and colorectal cancer. 

When nursing, you still need to maintain a proper balance in your diet. Try to choose lean meats like turkey products that contain less fat. 

The International Guidelines on cancer prevention recommend avoiding all processed meats. Also, the NHS recommends avoiding lunch meats because they are at a high risk of being contaminated with food poisoning bacteria for pregnant women. 

What is the risk of adding lunch meat when nursing?

Although nowadays it’s very difficult to catch an infection, you should avoid eating undercooked or raw lunch meat when nursing. The risk is not as high as when pregnant because bacteria can’t pass through breast milk. 

The three main diseases you can contract if you eat undercooked or raw luncheon meat are toxoplasmosis, salmonella, and listeriosis. Symptoms include

  • Diarrhea 
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pain
  • Fever

Listeria monocytogenes

Listeria monocytogenes cause listeriosis. If you let the bacteria go too far, it can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and other health problems. It can cause respiratory tract symptoms, septicemia, and encephalitis. 

According to the American Pregnancy Association, approximately 2,5000 people will get infected with listeria every year. 

It means that it’s very rare to get infected but pregnant and breastfeeding women are in a more delicate condition and need to be a little more careful because it could lead to fatal health conditions. 

Toxoplasma Gondii

Toxoplasma Gondii is the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis. For a normal, healthy person, it usually doesn’t cause any symptoms but for pregnant and breastfeeding women, it’s too risky, it can cause serious health problems.  One important thing to add is that once you contract toxoplasmosis you can’t contract it again. 


Salmonella is a bacteria that causes digestive symptoms like the other pathogens listed above. One important thing about salmonella is that it can cause bacteremia, a condition where there are bacteria in the blood if you let it go too far or are immunocompromised. 

What food should you avoid when nursing?

Breast milk is regulated by your body and what you eat goes to your breastmilk. You need to be aware that small amounts of what you eat or drink can be detectable in milk, especially chemicals that are in your blood. 

In medicine, breast milk is considered like blood because chemicals that can be detectable in your blood are also detectable in breastmilk. 

There is no food you can’t consume when breastfeeding and there are some recommendations on limitations, especially on 5 foods that can directly affect the baby’s health. 

  • Fish high in mercury
  • Herbal supplements that have not been considered safe
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Highly processed foods

If you need more information on what food to avoid when breastfeeding follows this link.

Other FAQs about Meat  that you may be interested in.

Can you eat meat when pregnant?

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In this article we are going to answer can you eat lunch meat when nursing? What is lunch meat? Is it healthy to eat lunch meat when nursing? What is the risk of eating lunch meat when nursing and how to add lunch meat when nursing. 


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