• Lactation Cymru

Myth: There are dietary restrictions while breastfeeding. (Food and Alcohol).

This is a common one that follows on from pregnancy. There are restrictions on fancy cheeses, some eggs, alcohol, pates and deli meats while pregnant.

Breastfeeding is so much better! The best thing for you and your baby while you are breastfeeding is to eat a nice balanced, nutritional diet. And the fantastic thing is, the baby will taste all the lovely things the parent is eating!

Of course, if there are severe allergies in the family then it would be prudent to be careful with those allergens, and always consult your Dr/dietician.

Note however, it is still a good idea to be wary of too much fish (the mercury), and also it is recommended to take, at the very least, a vitamin D supplement (too much dreary British weather!).

As for alcohol, it's one of those hugely misunderstood topics. It can be confusing when we say that some of what you eat gets to the milk and baby can taste it, but then how is alcohol ok? The reality is, that the amount of alcohol that gets into the parent's blood is teeny tiny. It doesn't take much at all to make you tipsy.

According to the UK government website, the amount of blood alcohol that will put you over the drink/drive limit is 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood. That converts to about 0.08ml/100ml. And that's when most people are quite drunk! (Everyone reacts differently of course!) So, as alcohol flows freely between the parent's blood and the milk you can see its going to be a very small amount! Some even suggest that it's like putting a shot glass of alcohol into a swimming pool! Would you notice it?

Of course drinking alcohol is totally the parent's choice, and if they are going to feel guilty about it then is it worth it? Probably not. However, for those parent's who are looking forward to the occasional glass of wine after dinner or a celebration drink, it is absolutely fine to have it.

For those still wobbling, how about this:

  • thinking about the way that alcohol gets into blood and then into milk, it's not an instantaneous process, so if you were to, say, have a glass of wine WHILE you are feeding (shock horror, get a photo quick!) then by the time baby wants a next feed your body will have processed lots of the alcohol out of your system so there will be even less in your milk!

Just a few things to note: DO NOT bed share after you have had any alcohol at all, as it can impede your parenting instincts. Its also good to have another (sober) adult around to help care for the baby, especially if alcohol makes you sleepy, and to ensure that you do not bed share.


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