The Truth About Alcohol And Breastfeeding

Dr Jack Newman has changed the dialogue around this topic and mums are armed with a whole new set of facts regarding alcohol and breastfeeding.

When it comes to breastfeeding a lot of mums have questions about how it will impact their lifestyle. The topic of alcohol and breastfeeding is particularly common when it comes to these questions and concerns. For some women these questions play an important role in their decision about how they will choose to feed their baby when they make an appearance.

It is important to note that for medical issues or concerns you should always contact your GP or a medical professional. In this post we will be sharing some information from trusted resources like the HSE website and world renowned lactation consultant, Dr Jack Newman.

The first issue, for a lot of families, is the array of conflicting information that comes their way about the topic of alcohol and breastfeeding. A public health nurse may say one thing while your mother in law and best friend have told you another. It is important to ensure that your information comes from an evidence based source and is medically or professionally endorsed.

According to the HSE website " If you choose to drink alcohol once breastfeeding is established, there are steps you can take to avoid passing alcohol to your baby through your milk. You can read more about that here.

For a long time many women assumed that when you were breastfeeding alcohol of any kind was completely prohibited for the safety of the baby. This is due to the fact that everything that we ingest can travel across to the baby in some form. For this reason certain medications and foods are not advised while breastfeeding. However, Dr Jack Newman has changed the dialogue around this topic and mums are armed with a whole new set of facts regarding alcohol and breastfeeding.

Dr Jack Newman is a world renowned lactation consultant and pediatrician from Canada. He has extensively researched the topic and has shared his revolutionary findings which essentially dictate that it is OK to have an alcoholic drink while you are breastfeeding your baby. Through his research it was found that while it is possible for alcohol to travel across to the baby through the breast milk it is a minuscule and unremarkable quantity deeming it not dangerous. However, this is about more than alcohol.

Dr Jacks Newman's research emphasizes that the greatest issue regarding alcohol and breastfeeding is the mother's ability to safely hold and care for her baby. For this reason it is not recommended that a breastfeeding mother becomes inebriated. It makes a lot of sense.

In the words of Dr Jack Newman -

You do not have to "pump and dump" (a terrible expression) afterwards and you don't have to wait a certain time after your more recent drink in order to restart breastfeeding. The amount of alcohol that gets in to the milk is tiny and will not hurt the baby

He goes on to talk about the fact that he is "not saying it's fine to get falling down drunk because if you are breastfeeding, you must not drop the baby, but the problem is your coordination not the amount of alcohol in your milk".

The truth about alcohol and breastfeeding
Dr Jack Newman has changed the dialogue around this topic and mums are armed with a whole new set of facts regarding alcohol and breastfeeding.

Dr Jack Newman's research may help breastfeeding mothers feel confident that they can have a nice glass of wine with a meal without feeling guilty about it. In the same way there is no sense of being "punished" by having to "pump and dump" or interrupt breastfeeding to wait a certain length of time after the drink has been consumed.

According to the HSE website it is not recommended to drink alcohol within the first month of your breastfed baby's life. This is due to the fact that

Your supply of breast milk is established in the early weeks of your baby's life. This works by supply and demand. The more you breastfeed, the more milk your body produces. This is why it is important not to miss a breastfeed in the first month.

If you are co-sleeping with your baby it is important to bare in mind that safe co-sleeping should always be practiced and one of those guidelines is that you should never co-sleep with your baby if alcohol has been consumed. You can find more information about safe co sleeping here.


Tracey Quinn

Proud mum of two who got married on Don't Tell The Bride and had an accidental home-birth (loves a good story). She's passionate about breastfeeding, positive thinking & all things cosy.

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