Blue Cheese When Breastfeeding: Is It Safe?

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Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

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Blue cheese has a unique flavor that you either love or hate, whether it is on a burger, topped on a salad, or in a blue cheese salad dressing or dipping sauce. If you enjoy blue cheese, you may wonder if you can consume it while breastfeeding. 

Overall, blue cheese is safe to consume during breastfeeding. While unpasteurized cheese does not put your baby’s health at risk, you can still get a foodborne illness (such as listeria) from eating unpasteurized dairy products, so you should opt for pasteurized blue cheese.

This article will cover more information regarding the safety of blue cheese during breastfeeding, benefits and side effects, and more! 

Is It Safe to Eat Blue Cheese While Breastfeeding? 

It is safe to consume blue cheese, including Roquefort, Stilton, and other types, while you are breastfeeding as long as the milk used to make the cheese has been pasteurized. 

Blue cheese with rosemary on a cutting board

However, it is important to just have blue cheese in moderation since it is high in saturated fat and calories. 

What About Unpasteurized or Raw Blue Cheese While Nursing?

Pasteurization is the process of heating the milk used to make the cheese to extreme temperatures that allow the harmful bacteria, such as listeria, to be killed (source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA]).

Thankfully, there is no research that demonstrates that bacteria that cause foodborne infections, such as listeria, can go from the mother to the infant through breast milk (source: Breastfeeding).

While your baby cannot get sick from listeria in unpasteurized milk and cheese products, keep in mind that you can get sick! Listeria infection can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and flu-like symptoms (source: FDA). 

These symptoms can make caring for your newborn baby very difficult and can disrupt your regular routine. Therefore, even though your baby cannot get sick, opt for pasteurized cheese and other dairy products to minimize the risk of getting sick.

Unfortunately, the majority of blue cheese is unpasteurized and, therefore, should be avoided. In the United States, unpasteurized dairy, including blue cheese, must have a warning disclosure. Therefore, look for a blue cheese product that explicitly states that it is pasteurized or made from pasteurized milk. 

In the case of blue cheese salad dressing, it is often not specified on the packaging if the milk and cheese used are pasteurized.

While the potential bacteria is likely killed during manufacturing, to be on the safe side, it is best to avoid blue cheese salad dressing while you are breastfeeding unless it is homemade with pasteurized ingredients.

Again, it is safe for your baby to have unpasteurized blue cheese, but there is a risk of you getting sick, which can impact your ability to care for your baby. 

blue cheese on a cutting board

Benefits or Side Effects of Blue Cheese When Breastfeeding

Many breastfeeding mothers wonder if the strong flavor of blue cheese can cause any adverse side effects in their breastfed baby, and thankfully it can’t! Consuming intensely flavored foods can change the taste of your breast milk, but this is not bad!

It is actually beneficial to consume a wide variety of flavors while you are breastfeeding because it can increase your baby’s affinity for different flavors into childhood (source: Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism). 

Additionally, blue cheese can provide you with protein, calcium, and other nutrients when consumed in moderation.

Calcium, for example, is a mineral that works in conjunction with vitamin D to support strong bones and teeth, healthy nerve transmission, muscle functioning, and more (source: National Institutes of Health [NIH]). 

I hope this article was informative and helpful in discussing blue cheese consumption while breastfeeding.