Ferne McCann defends herself against critics, but is it safe for breastfeeding mums to drink alcohol?

Can breastfeeding mothers drink alcohol? [Photo: Getty]
Can breastfeeding mothers drink alcohol? [Photo: Getty]

Ferne McCann has been forced to defend herself after footage emerged of her appearing to do a shot before breastfeeding her baby, Sunday, before the National Television Awards.

The accusations came after Ferne uploaded a boomerang video showing her having a quick drink as she got ready, before sharing another video of her breastfeeding.

But because Ferne was only holding a small glass, some jumped to the conclusion that she was doing a shot and it was therefore ‘irresponsible’ to go on and breastfeed.

After critics attacked Ferne, she responded, clarifying that the two videos were not straight after one and that she’d only enjoyed one small glass of Prosecco.

Taking to her Instagram again, Ferne said: “It wasn’t a shot, it was a glass of Prosecco that comes with a cocktail. I was having a cheers with Rebekah to the NTAs.

“It was just a fun boomerang, having a cheers.

“I already had my milk and I gave [Sunday] one last feed in the hotel before I enjoyed a well deserved night out.”

Is it safe for breastfeeding mothers to drink alcohol? [Photo: Getty]
Is it safe for breastfeeding mothers to drink alcohol? [Photo: Getty]

How much alcohol is safe to drink when you’re breastfeeding?

According to the NHS, anything you eat or drink while you’re breastfeeding can find its way into your breast milk, and that includes alcohol.

“There’s some evidence that regularly drinking more than two units of alcohol a day while breastfeeding may affect your baby’s development,” the site states. “But an occasional drink is unlikely to harm your breastfed baby.”

There is some confusion about the actual amount of alcohol breastfeeding mums can safely consume, but the NHS says that nursing mothers should have no more than one or two units of alcohol once or twice a week.

One unit of alcohol is approximately a single (25ml) measure of spirits, half a pint of beer, or 125ml (small) glass of wine, although this depends on the strength of the drink, the site warns.

They also offer some advice for mums who do intend to have a night out drinking.

“If you do intend to have a social drink, you could try avoiding breastfeeding for two to three hours per unit after drinking,” the site suggests.

“This allows time for the alcohol to leave your breast milk.”

But you will need to make sure breastfeeding is established before you try this.

Another option is expressing milk before you go out, which means you can skip the first breastfeed afterwards and feed the baby with expressed milk instead.

Aside from giving alcohol tinged milk to your baby, there are some other risks of binge drinking while breastfeeding.

“Binge drinking, where you have more than five units of alcohol in one session, may make you less aware of your baby’s needs,” the NHS explains. “If you do binge drink, it’s essential your baby is cared for by a sober adult.”

You should never share a bed or sofa with your baby if you have drunk any alcohol, because doing this has a strong association with sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

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