Healthy eating habits/Breastfeeding and alcohol
For women who are breastfeeding - What you need to know about consuming alcohol.
Siany Hodgins 17164450
Is it safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding?
For women who are breastfeeding, not drinking is the safest option because:
- There are concerns that alcohol passed through breast milk may have adverse effects on the infant;
- Larger amounts of alcohol in the breast milk can cause problems with breast milk let-down.
However, according to the Australian Breastfeeding Association
- You CAN enjoy an alcohol drink.
- The key is to plan ahead.
How much of the alcohol I drink gets into my breast milk?
The short answer is 100%....
The amount of alcohol in your milk is equal to the amount of alcohol in your blood.
How does this happen?.....
Alcohol can move freely from your blood in and out of your breast-milk, so if you have any alcohol in your blood, the same amount of alcohol be present in your breast milk. Once the alcohol has passed through your system, your breast milk will be alcohol free – alcohol is not ‘stored’ in your milk. The amount of alcohol in your blood can be affected by:
- the total alcohol content of your drink;
- the type and quantity of foods eaten;
- your weight;
- how quickly you are drinking.
How long does it take for the alcohol to clear from my breast milk?
As a general rule, it takes 2 hours for an average woman to get rid of the alcohol from 1 standard alcoholic drink. therefore 4 hours for 2 drinks, 6 hours for 3 drinks and so on.
Alcohol will be in your breast-milk 30–60 minutes after you start drinking. This is included in the 2 hours, which is taken from the time you start of drinking.
It is important to remember that many factors can change how alcohol affects you including:
- body composition (weight, how much muscle and fat you have);
- mental health status;
- drug use;
- existing medical conditions.
How can I get rid of alcohol out of my milk faster?....
While expressing your milk is important for your comfort and to maintain milk production, it will not get rid of the alcohol any quicker.
Can I drink alcohol straight away?...
It is strongly recommended that you do not consume alcohol until your baby is at least one month old.
What is a standard drink?
In Australia, a standard alcoholic drink contains 10g of alcohol, which is equal to:
REMEMBER, you may not always be served, or serve yourself a standard drink
- for example, an average bottle of beer/ cider contains around 1.4-1.6 standard drinks – if you drink one of these bottles it will take around 3 hours for the alcohol to clear from your breast milk.
How can I manage breastfeeding when I am planning to drink alcohol?
It is important to have a plan when consuming alcohol, you can be prepared by:
- Timing your alcohol consumption with your baby's feeding and sleeping patterns;
- Eat before and while you are drinking alcohol;
- Express some milk for your baby ahead of time (breast milk can be frozen for up to 3 months.
The current Australian Dietary Guidelines recommends that women consume no more than 2 standard drinks on any day.
Siany Hodgins 17164450
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (2003). 4810.0.55.001 - Breastfeeding in Australia. Viewed at http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4810.0.55.001
- Brown, J. E. et al. (2011). Nutrition through the life cycle (4th Edition). Belmont, CA, Wadsworth, CENGAGE Learning
- Australian Breastfeeding Association (2013). Alcohol and breastfeeding. Viewed at https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bf-info/safe-when-breastfeeding/alcohol-and-breastfeeding
- Department of Health (2012). The Australian Standard Drink. Viewed at http://www.health.gov.au/internet/alcohol/publishing.nsf/Content/standard
- NHMRC (2013). Australian Dietary Guidelines – providing the scientific evidence for healthier Australian diets. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved from http://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/sites/default/files/files/the_guidelines/n55_australian_dietary_guidelines.pdf