New research by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre and the Deakin University’s Centre for Social and Early Emotional Development today controversially claims it's sometimes okay to have a drink while breastfeeding!
The study looked at data from the Triple B Pregnancy Cohort, a study of alcohol use during pregnancy and development outcomes in infants at 12 months of age.
Maternal demographics and substance use were assessed during pregnancy, at eight weeks and 12 months postpartum. Breastfeeding duration, infant feeding, sleeping and development were also assessed.
Most drank at low levels - the equivalent of a glass of wine - and employed multiple strategies such as waiting until the end of a feed, waiting a few hours after drinking or expressing to minimise alcohol passed onto infants via breast milk.
The study controversially found that alcohol consumption was allegedly unrelated to breastfeeding duration, infant feeding and sleeping behaviour at eight weeks, and most infant developmental outcomes at eight weeks or 12 months.
The only significant association apparently showed that infants whose mothers drank at eight weeks postpartum had more favourable results for personal-social development at 12 months, compared with those whose mothers abstained.
'This Australian study shows for the first time that low level drinking during breastfeeding is not linked to negative impacts on infants up to 12 months of age,' said lead researcher Delyse Hutchinson, Senior Research Fellow at Deakin University and a Visiting Fellow at NDARC.
'Whilst lactating women are drinking, intake levels are typically quite low, and most women use multiple strategies to minimise alcohol being passed on to infants. The results suggest that these strategies are likely to be effective in preventing potential harm to infants.
'Whilst this study certainly does not in any way condone excessive alcohol consumption in new mums, it does suggest that those that have the occasional drink whilst using strategies to prevent alcohol reaching the infant, can do so without fear of causing harm,' she explained.