Can I have an occasional drink while I'm breastfeeding? Should I 'pump and dump'? How does alcohol affect breastmilk? How long should I wait after having a drink, before breastfeeding?
New Zealand recommendations say that the safest option is to not drink while breastfeeding. If you do want to drink while breastfeeding it is recommended that you avoid doing so until your baby is one month old. After this time, mothers may wish to enjoy a drink with a meal, when out with friends, or on a special occasion. Feed Safe includes a handy standard drinks guide, to help you understand how much alcohol is in a range of common drinks. Feed Safe also contains local contact details for breastfeeding information and support services.
FREE app for iOS and android devices which contains information on breastfeeding and alcohol, to help you make an informed choice.
Health Professional Review
WellSouth Primary Health Network has helped bring Feed Safe to New Zealand and its Health Promotion and Project Coordinator, Sophie Carty says the free app contains answers to the most common questions about alcohol and breastfeeding.
“Feed Safe is a great tool for mothers wanting to regulate alcohol intake while breastfeeding, so that it doesn’t harm babies. A number of factors affect how much alcohol gets into breastmilk including the strength and amount of alcohol in drinks, what and how much has been eaten, and how much people weigh”.
New Zealand recommendations say that the safest option is to not drink while breastfeeding. However, for those who do want to drink while breastfeeding it is recommended to avoid doing so until the baby is one month old. After this time, mothers may wish to enjoy a drink with a meal, when out with friends, or on a special occasion.
“Alcohol can affect mothers’ milk production and breastmilk properties, and babies’ sleeping and eating patterns, brain development, and early learning.”
Those who decide to have an occasional drink, can enter their height, weight, and alcohol intake to accurately estimate when breastmilk should be free from alcohol. Feed Safe includes a timer, which alerts users when they should be safe to breastfeed again. The app has a handy standard drinks guide to help understand how much alcohol is in common drinks. It also contains information about what happens if a mother drinks more than she had planned.
Dunedin mother, Azaria Woodford, has used Feed Safe and says; “What a great tool for breastfeeding mums who want to enjoy the occasional drink. Now we have a visual aid that can help support us! With a quick tap I can either see how long until it’s safe to feed my baby, or what the time will be. So helpful that I don’t have to try and count back and remember myself!”.