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Meet Elissa Strumpher: Alcohol and Breastfeeding

Elissa Strumpher, mum and FASD Hub Advisory Group Community Rep:

My name's Elissa and I'm a mum of two, I've breastfed both my kids for quite a long time, and I'm a Community Rep on the FASD Hub Advisory Group.

Text displayed on the screen: Is it safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding?

Elissa Strumpher:

Many parents have questions about if it's safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding. We know that the safest thing is not to drink, but if you do choose to have a drink there are some strategies you can use to reduce the risk.

Text displayed on the screen: What happens when alcohol is consumed while breastfeeding?

Elissa Strumpher:

The alcohol in your milk is the same concentration as the alcohol in your blood, so if your blood is 0.05 your milk will also be 0.05. The alcohol in your milk is absorbed by the baby into their bloodstream, and can have negative effects on their development. It can also inhibit your letdown so your body doesn't let go the milk to the baby as easily, and so the baby might not get enough milk, and also it might have a negative impact on your milk supply.

Text displayed on the screen: If I choose to drink alcohol while breastfeeding, how can I reduce the risk for my baby?

Elissa Strumpher:

Even just one standard drink can take up to a couple of hours to clear from your milk and it depends on your body weight and things like that. There's an app called Feed Safe which you can use to put in how much you had to drink and it will tell you how long it's going to be until the alcohol is out of your milk, and if you have a regular feed time, once your baby's stretched their feeds out a little bit, you can have your drink just after the baby's had a feed and then you've got the longest time to wait until the baby will be hungry again.

Text displayed on the screen: Where can I go for more information?

Elissa Strumpher:

If you want more information about alcohol and breastfeeding, you can call the Australian Breastfeeding Helpline and you could also talk to your GP or your child health nurse for more information.