In an effort to make the ‘healthiest’ milk for our babies, many of us breastfeeding mums are eating lactation cookies, oats and taking herbal supplements plus eliminating alcohol and coffee. However…
Research proves that the mother’s diet does not change the components of breastmilk, the only exception being fatty acids (Hale & Rowe, 2017)
So the good news is you can save your money on supplements, and for those of us that want to indulge, you can enjoy a morning coffee or a glass of wine in the evening. For wine or other alcoholic drinks, the percentage of alcohol that is transferred to into your breastmilk that your baby will digest is so small that the benefits your baby receives from breastfeeding in the first place far outweigh any harm to your baby. However, the safe level of alcohol consumption for a breastfeeding mother is unknown and could vary from one person to another. A good tip is if you plan to have a glass of wine, do it while you are breastfeeding or immediately after. None of us want to end up in a tragedy like we heard in the media this time last year. That being said, there were several other risk factors for this family that the media did not mention Extra caution should be taken when your baby is under 6 months of age as the risk of SIDS is much higher and bed sharing is definitely not recommended as the babies natural reflexes will be affected (UNICEF link here). The general rule is if your sober enough to drive your sober enough to feed and prohibiting nursing mother from drinking alcohol just makes life unnecessarily restrictive: https://www.llli.org/breastfeeding-info/alcohol/
Amy and Elspeth
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