Breastfeeding women can drink alcohol after first month, according to the HSE 5 months ago

Breastfeeding women can drink alcohol after first month, according to the HSE

Women who breastfeed can drink alcohol after their baby's first month, according to the HSE.

New guidelines were issued yesterday to clear up some of the confusion around breastfeeding and alcohol consumption for new mothers.

It is recommended to avoid drinking alcohol during a baby's first month as this is when breastfeeding is established. This is the period of time when both mother and baby are getting used to the feeding process.

After this, the HSE has said that it is safe to start consume alcohol. However, there are some steps new mothers can take to ensure that the alcohol is not passed to the baby through breast milk.

  • Feed the baby before drinking alcohol
  • Wait at least two hours before breastfeeding after each standard drink (one standard drink equals one small glass of wine, half a pint, or a single measure of spirit)
  • Avoid drinking more than 11 standard drinks per week
  • Spread your alcohol consumption out over the week
  • Express breastmilk if you want to drink more than two standard drinks in one sitting
  • Have at least two alcohol-free days per week

The official guidelines read:

"You may not be able to take care of your baby properly if you are affected by alcohol. Only time makes alcohol leave your body and your milk.

"Drinking water or expressing your breast milk will not clear the alcohol from your body any faster. Breastfeeding while there is alcohol in your breast milk can affect your baby’s sleep."

You can access the HSE's full guidelines on advice from year 0 - 2 here.