In February 2011, Best Start Resource Centre conducted an online survey with parents across Ontario to examine awareness and behaviours regarding breastfeeding and alcohol use.
The researchers found that most women drank little or no alcohol when breastfeeding:
- 64% did not drink alcohol while breastfeeding
- 27% drank less than 1 drink a week.
- 5% drank 1 to 3 drinks per week
- 4% drank 4 to 6 drinks per week
Most women stopped drinking or reduced the amount that they drank while breastfeeding.
- 57% stopped drinking altogether
- 26% reduced the amount of alcohol they drank
- 18% did not change their drinking habits
Women were split on the impact of alcohol use on their decision to feed their baby:
- 48% felt that drinking alcohol did not impact their decision about how to feed their baby
- 39% felt that alcohol use did impact their decision on how to feed their baby
In general, the survey showed that:
- Women with higher incomes had higher levels of alcohol use
- Women with higher incomes were less likely to stop drinking while breastfeeding
Best Start Resource Centre with the support of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) has created a new brochure for mothers and their partners to help them make an informed choice when it comes to drinking alcohol while breastfeeding.
The Centre has also created a printer-ready handout with information and tips for expectant parents about alcohol use in pregnancy which are available in English, French, Arabic, Cree, Ojibway, Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, Urdu, Chinese, Spanish, and Tagalog.
View more resources on alcohol and pregnancy on the Best Start Resource Centre website here.
Best Start Resource Centre. (2012). Breastfeeding and Alcohol Use: Parent Knowledge and Behaviours in Ontario, 2011. Toronto, Ontario, Canada.