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397c Diagonal Rd. Sturt 
 

Phone: 8358 1144 

What is a Gonstead Chiropractor? Print E-mail

The Gonstead practitioner is well educated in the teachings and application of this tremendously successful technique and case management system. Beyond the five years of chiropractic and university education required to become a Chiropractor, followed by national board licensing requirements to be a practicing Chiropractor, the Gonstead practitioner has spent additional time attending Gonstead Seminars to help perfect their application of chiropractic within the Gonstead System.

The Gonstead Doctor has set the standard in Chiropractic for patient examination and treatment. Examination of the patient includes complete patient history, static palpation, motion palpation, instrumentation of the spinal column, orthopedic and neurological testing, x-ray analysis and, if necessary, laboratory analysis. When all this information is combined, a trained Gonstead Doctor will immediately let you know if your health situation is a Chiropractic case. If it is not, a referral to the appropriate health provider will be given. If your case is a Chiropractic case, the Gonstead practitioner's will utilize  specific adjustments to restore optimal health as quickly as possible, with no "pre-planned" treatment programs. We pride ourselves on administrating individulaised chiropractic care based on the patients needs.  In the words of Dr. Gonstead, "Find the subluxation, accept it where you find it, correct it, and then leave it alone".

Above all else, our goal is to provide the patient and the profession the best in specific and ethical Chiropractic service. If you are worried about current limitations you may have in your life that may prevent you from receiving Gonstead Chiropractic care, simply call and talk to our staff and special arrangements will be made to accommodate your needs. Dr. Gonstead always put service and care of the patient above all else . . . . . . the tradition continues!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thursday
Mar222012

March April 2012 Newsletter - Wheat Free for May

You can find a PDF of the March April 2012 Newsletter here.

Learn why Marion Chiropractic is challenging you to go "WHEAT FREE FOR A MONTH" along with some wheat free meal ideas and lots of incentives for all of your family to join you.

Sunday
Oct302011

November December 2011 Newsletter - Losing Weight Without Counting Calories

WHY COUNTING CALORIES WILL NEVER WORK FOR LONG TERM WEIGHTLOSS.

According to the “conventional wisdom” if you were to monitor your calorific intake against your energy output and make sure they match – you won’t gain weight in your lifetime. But as Gary Taubes points out in his book, one need only overeat by 20 calories a day to gain 23 kilos in 20 years. Can you monitor your calorie intake that accurately? I know I can’t.

The following is a brief discussion on the science behind the changes that I have made to my diet in the last 3 years (but especially since January of this year.) I have been tweaking my nutrition since February 2009 when I was at my heaviest of 94 Kilos. Well beyond what I would ever had liked to admit. I started with slow and steady weight loss, which I was happy with, because at least it was going down and I knew the changes I was making to my lifestyle were largely sustainable. However, since the start of the year, after being exposed to a couple of great books, the progress has been rapid – just when I would have previously been plateauing with my weight loss it has actually accelerated. 15 kilos in 2 years, then 16 kilos in the last 10 months!   

The biggest change I have made is in actually understanding the biochemistry behind fat metabolism, and it all began with reading the book “Why We Get Fat And What To Do About It” by Gary Taubes. This book busted a lot of commonly held myths about diet and exercise – the most harmful of which is the old ‘Calories In – Calories Out’ argument. You see, calories from different sources have different biochemical reactions in our bodies. Thus, your body will respond a certain way to a calorie of sugar, which will be different to what it does with a calorie of carbohydrates, which is different how it reacts to a calorie of fat, and that is different to a calorie of protein and so on.

I think most of you will now be aware that sugar is not simply an “empty calorie” as we were once led to believe, but rather, has very detrimental effects. If you are not familiar with this I would suggest reading “Sweet Poison” by David Gilespie.

When you consume any carbohydrates, but especially starchy carbohydrates and sugars [complex carbohydrates and starchy carbohydrates are essentially a string of sugars that get broken down into their smaller sugar molecules by saliva (as in wheat) or stomach juices (all other starches and sugars)], your body releases the hormone insulin into your blood stream. The insulin tells all of your cells what to do with the blood sugar. It tells most cells to absorb the sugar out of the blood to burn it as fuel and additionally tells your fat cells not to release any fat to burn (since there is already carbs/sugar/fuel in the blood to burn).

One of insulin's primary jobs is to take sugar out of the blood — the sooner the better, because sugar in the blood damages the body. This is the reason diabetics can have such detrimental health problems (blindness, circulation problems, heart disease, ulcers, gangrene and the potential for amputations etc.). It is due to the damage sugar does to blood vessels and nerve endings when the person can't make enough insulin to bring the blood sugar levels down to a ‘safe range’.

When you eat something with a lot of sugar in it, the body kind of panics and usually overcompensates by releasing too much insulin to mop up the sugar. It takes too much sugar out of your blood, (giving you a reactive sugar low) or takes it out too rapidly, both of which can make your body panic, then giving you the signal you to eat something, and eat something NOW - also known as sharp hunger pains or overwhelming cravings for more starches or sweets.

So insulin saved the day, keeping that sugar from damaging your body, but in the process, it makes your body store fat and prevents you from burning fat, and consequently also causes you to have a sugar low which your body responds to by telling you erroneously that you need another sugar hit to keep going.

A low carb diet, like the Atkins diet, or the Paleolithic diet (how I am now approaching my nutrition) will limit carb consumption to about 30g per day. (Just quietly – I personally don’t count anything. I avoid all grains, starchy carbs and sugar sources. I eat real food until I am full, then stop eating. My body, which innately knows how to regulate all functions happening within it, in absence of the ‘mental hijacking’ of sugar and wheat, tells me when I have consumed enough.) At around 30g of carbs per day, you don’t need to release very much insulin into your system, so your body burns any fat you eat as fuel, and if you need more, your fat cells freely release fat into your blood stream to be burned as fuel (since they are not getting the signal from insulin not to let any fat out of storage).

But when you eat a large amount of carbs — a hundred grams, two hundred grams, or more (most Westerners get about 300 grams a day) — your body releases insulin in huge amounts, which makes it almost impossible to burn fat… And makes it really easy to gain weight. Some people (like my husband Luke) don't gain weight, of course, even though they eat lots of carbs, but that is a topic for a future newsletter, as this one is already going to run over. I feel it is more important to first understand this basic biochemistry. This is why people lose weight so easily and quickly when they cut carbs: Because carbs increase insulin, which leads to storing fat and preventing fat from being burned. The reason most people will have some success in calorie counting is because the easiest place to cut calories is in the high carbohydrate foods and drinks – alcohol, soft drinks, bread, pasta, rice etc. But, usually there is a plateau phase, and then, once the calorie counting stops, those foods make their way back into the diet, and the fat storage around the middle starts to return. (i.e. – we put back on some if not all of what we originally lost on the starvation diet. And it is a starvation diet – trust me, I’ve been there, many times.)

Back to the calories in calories out myth: Weight Watchers and other groups are built around limiting calories in general, and yet another way some try to limit caloric intake is to eat very low fat. This way, when insulin is released, there isn't much fat around to store, and if you eat little enough, your fat cells have to release fat so you can survive (we NEED cholesterol for brain function). People obviously can lose weight this way. But it is difficult. It requires discipline. One of the reasons Weight Watchers is successful is the support they provide their dieters with (which they keep charging you for as long as you are in the program – It’s all about money, not health). People help each other stay on the program. It would be difficult to keep at it otherwise because it is so hard. Why is it so hard? Because you're eating carbs, which cause you to crave more carbs, and then you deliberately limit how much you eat. So you feel hungry. And anyone who has tried to eat less for a long time has discovered it is very difficult. It's like running uphill constantly. What you're eating is making you want to eat more, and then you make yourself eat less. It's tough. It can be done, but it's tough.

As anyone who has tried simply limiting calories or eating very little fat knows, it is very difficult to sustain. You can do it for a while, but then you can't stand it anymore and you give in and eat… a lot! You lose weight only temporarily because you can't keep it up for any length of time without a lot of support or self-discipline. It's too hard to sustain. And, as much as we might not like to hear it, whatever we do to lose weight has to be sustainable or we return to the diet that got us fat in the first place, and – lo and behold – the weight returns.

One of the reasons a low carb diet works is that protein and fat satisfy your hunger. When you eat protein and fat, you do not crave more protein or fat. If you had a huge plate of chicken, you would struggle to continue to eat it after you had enough. You would eat a certain amount and then you wouldn't want to eat any more. You don't need a cheering section to keep you from eating any more. You're done. You're satisfied.

With carbs, you can never get enough. You can be full, topped off, completely stuffed, and you could still go for some ice cream! Or in my case as ‘old Janah’… another piece of pizza, or an extra serve of pasta - I was a wheat addict. Which isn’t as funny as it sounds. Wheat has psychoactive qualities that are addictive. Why do you think it’s in almost every ‘created’ product on supermarket shelves? To keep you coming back and buying more! But essentially eating any carbs just makes you crave more carbs.

……Continued from clinic handout ……

Don't get me wrong: Limiting yourself to thirty grams of carbs a day is still difficult, but I have found it is so much easier than eating low fat or low calorie. Your tongue still wants carbs, sure, but the rest of your body feels fine. And after a while, even your tongue calms down — you aren't craving anything at all. And your fat cells steadily release their fuel to be burned. Instead of getting more difficult over time, low carb eating actually gets easier as the lust for carbs subsides.

 

We shouldn't really call low carb eating a "diet." You want to find a way to eat that you can maintain for your lifetime, not for a little while. And ideally it would be something you can do without having to rely on a tremendous amount of self-discipline, because it is likely you will sometimes falter. You can almost count on it. Face it, we're human. We weaken sometimes. Then you'll lose weight and gain it back, lose weight and gain it back. That's demoralizing and it's not healthy.

With Weight Watchers or another program that relies on emotional support to maintain, it will work, but you're still eating too many carbs to be good for your health. Again – something that I will discuss in a future newsletter.

Let's recap a little bit before we go on. Insulin has three effects you don't want if you are carrying extra kilos:

1. Converts sugar in the blood to fat in the cells – it tells the body to store all the fat it can while the sugar is available

2. Tells the cells not to burn any fat, since there are plenty of sugar molecules to burn (and they’re harmful, so we want to burn those first to get rid of them)

3. Makes you crave more carbs

This really should not be called a "low carb diet." It should be called a low blood sugar diet. All you're trying to do is keep your blood sugar low to keep your insulin production low. You could call it a high fat diet or a high protein diet or even a high fiber diet (if you're doing it right). But essentially, it is eating foods that keep your blood sugar low.

Remember – in the vast majority of people, fat doesn't cause your body to make insulin. Protein doesn't either. Only carbs do. (There is a genetic condition wherein a very small number of people will have an insulin reaction to fat, but it is really rare.)

When there is very little insulin, your body has to burn fat. That becomes its main fuel, and your body actually gets better at burning fat the more it has to do it (because your cells make more fat-burning enzymes and fewer sugar-burning enzymes).

If you want to lose weight quickly and keep it off, and also not hurt your health but actually improve your health, a low-blood sugar diet is the best way.

One of the most important factors about a low blood sugar diet is that you won't lose muscle. As long as you're getting enough protein, you could lose a hundred pounds, and you won't lose muscle. In fact, if you're exercising, this way of eating will make it easier to gain muscle. This is not true with programs like Weight Watchers. Yes, you can lose weight by eating less but half the weight you lose will be muscle, and that's not good. Not good for your vanity, or for preventing osteoporosis.

Most people have been eating so many carbs for so long, they can't imagine eating a low carb diet. But it's not as bad as you'd think and there are a lot of nice surprises. But the first couple days, sometimes weeks, are difficult. Then it gets easier. At first you'll crave carbs, of course. But if you eat all you want of low carb foods, after a few days, you'll stop eating so much and your weight will start dropping. Every once in a while you'll miss carbs, but as you get used to the new way of eating, you'll think about it less and less. Most of the time you'll be really content. Satisfied. Never hungry. And not nearly as obsessed with food as you used to be.

It’s a really nice feeling to eat 3 eggs for breakfast at 6:30 with some meat from last night, (or the amazing Porcetta available at the Adelaide Showground Farmers Markets on Sundays) with some avocado and mushrooms cooked up in coconut oil, then not think about food again till 2 or 3 in the afternoon. Then I may have a snack of some beef jerky, or some chorizo and a bit of cheese (although I am soon to cut out dairy for a trial run to see how my skin goes… there is still so much debate about dairy and I am sitting on the fence because I just love cheese and, at the moment it seems it’s a great source of energy for me – according to my blood sugar readings) or some nuts and seeds and salad with olive oil and lemon and mustard dressing, or even just a spoonful of coconut oil if I don’t really feel like eating. And that keeps me going till I get home and eat dinner at about 9pm… which is usually a nice juicy fatty grass fed steak with lots of leafy greens, or a chicken thigh, (skin on please) cooked in paprika and garlic with more leafy greens.

Because of the benefits of a low blood sugar diet, and because it is much easier to sustain for a long time, the low blood sugar diet completely crushes a high-carb diet in any head-to-head competition. Especially when you understand that it is safe to eat saturated fat in an environment low in sugar. A topic once again for another newsletter, or possibly a topic just for the website.

So, I know it’s been crazy, and thanks for keeping up. If you want to sum it up, the moral to the story is – Don’t eat processed rubbish, it’s full of hidden sugar and carbs! If you can’t work out what it is made of by simply looking at it – then it’s not a real food. I like to say; if the ingredients list has more than 3 commas, or has numbers, or words you cannot pronounce, then you don’t want it. And if the ingredients list has sugar or wheat or soy or corn in it, then its fake food and will be causing you harm – put it down and run!

On our website I will also put information contained in the hand out I have been thrusting upon anyone who asks. It is filled with links to all the websites I have found to be of great help whilst transitioning into this new world of nutrition and freedom from hunger.

What it really boils down to:

Avoid Wheat (modern wheat is TERRIBLE stuff – it raises blood sugar in a ridiculous way), and also, surprisingly, gluten free products (the starches they replace wheat with raise blood sugar even more than wheat, and that’s saying something!) For more on this, I highly recommend reading “Wheat Belly. Lose The Wheat, Lose The Weight And Find Your Path Back To Health” by William Davis M.D.

Avoid Processed foods, especially liquid carbohydrates (alcohol, fruit juice, soft drink) starchy carbohydrates and all sugars in obvious places and not so obvious places… Anything that has ingredients ending in “ose” - E.g. Sucrose, fructose, glucose, maltose, dextrose, lactose (yes, from dairy – this is my next step – I’m still a work in progress too) – there are many names for sugars, you should know them and read labels.

Buy good quality produce – the most expensive you can afford. Try to buy grass fed beef, it has good levels of Omega 3 and 9 fats, whereas grain fed beef has high omega 6 levels (a pro-inflammatory) and is likely on antibiotics as cattle are not meant to eat grains.

Eat lots of good fats (saturated fats are goodstick to naturally occurring fats– eggs, coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, plus the oils in nuts and meat).

Eat local, fresh salmon and tuna (not tinned).  Cook with coconut oil. Use olive oil on salads. Learn to love eggs. Buy organic, free range eggs if you can.

If you are looking to simply maintain health, then you can probably handle a carb meal a week, or a glass of fruit juice with your weekend bacon and eggs, or potato’s several nights a week. Eat dessert on the odd occasion. It isn’t a case of ‘dieting’ – its changing your lifestyle so that you can still enjoy your favourite foods, whilst still knowing how much you can get away with in terms of blood sugar rise, and what effects it is having on your body other than the obvious weight gain (or not so obvious weight gain for some).

There is a great variety of fresh organic produce sold at the Adelaide Showground Farmers Markets on Sundays.

Article written by Dr Janah James

 

 

Monday
Oct102011

March April 2011 Newsletter - Core Stability Exercises

CORE STABILITY EXERCISES - WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING?

 

What Is The Core?

Your core is basically your torso – think of it as a cylinder with a top (roof) and a bottom (floor). Your core consists of your pelvic floor (the ‘floor’ of your core – sometimes referred to as ‘PC muscles’ or pubococcygeal muscles) your diaphragm (the ‘roof’ of your core) your transversus abdominus muscle (the ‘TA’ – front of your core) and your intrinsic back muscles (erectors and multifidus – the back of your core). The roof of your core (the diaphragm) is quite a complicated muscle, and an entire article could easily be written on proper diaphragm function. All that you need to know for now is that it’s really important to keep breathing deeply and regularly during all core exercises. We want to train our bodies to engage our core in all daily activities – and (let’s just hope) you will be breathing in all daily activities.

 

Why Do We Need Core Stability?

A strong torso, or core, benefits you in many ways. It improves posture, (preventing undue wear and tear on all joints) it strengthens and protects your lower back, and allows movement of your limbs (arms and legs) without stressing vulnerable areas like your neck and low back. In order for us to perform ANY movements, we require contraction of core muscles. This happens so that we have a stable base, or anchor, for body and limb movements. There are many muscles that cover our torso, and many of them CAN play a role in stabilising your torso, and they should only be utilised to create stability when the proper postural muscles have fatigued.

Unfortunately for many of us due to deconditioning (sitting for hours each day and not getting the opportunity to exercise) this fatigue happens too often. Whilst this is a wonderful thing that our bodies do, it isn’t a great solution long term. This ability for your body to adapt is called ‘compensation’ – if one body part isn’t working properly, another body part will do extra work; work that it isn’t really designed to do – but it will do it all the same, just so that you can keep going. You may have heard Tracey or Janah talk about compensations before; they happen a lot in the spine, but they are just as common in the muscular system. As chiropractors, we are more interested in correcting spinal dysfunctions first and foremost because the spine houses the nervous system, and proper spinal function is integral for a properly functioning nervous system, which is important for ALL body functions, not just pain reduction, or muscle tightness. One thing to point out before we go any further: sit ups do not create core strength. If you’re confused, ask us why.

 

How Much Core Stability Do I Need?

The ideal scenario of core control is one in which you are subconsciously engaging your core muscles at about 30% muscle contraction most of the time, increasing to about 70% for complex activities (moving both arms and legs and torso – activities like sport and house work) and engaged at full strength when lifting or moving heavy objects (heavy manual labour, lifting boxes, some gardening, lifting and carrying children etc.) If you are not doing this, then the load will be transferred to the wrong muscles, or worse still, the ligaments that hold your joints together. This is when injuries happen. So in order to avoid injuries, its best to develop the strength in the right muscles, and to use those muscles easily and effortlessly most of the time.

 

Where Do I Start?

As with everything it’s best to start with the basics. The idea is to slowly progress through increasing levels of difficulty, instituting harder exercises and incorporating for example leg/arm movements whilst keeping your core muscles “switched on” or activated. It is extremely important that you start with the basics until you are certain you are doing it right. Really, it is waste of time and may cause you injuries if you are not doing it correctly from the very beginning. Get Tracey or Janah to check what you are doing is correct before moving onto more challenging exercises.

 

Pelvic Neutral

First of all you need to establish pelvic neutral. This is often easiest to find when lying on the floor. Begin by lying on a solid flat surface. A carpeted floor or Yoga/Pilates mat is perfect. Lying on your back with your knees bent so that your feet are both comfortably flat on the floor. Now, flatten your lower back to the floor. Then, do the reverse and see how far you can comfortably arch your spine away from the floor. Do this a few times until you are comfortable with the movement. Next, find the halfway point between these two extremes of movement. It should be comfortable for you to be in this position. (If you are uncomfortable, stop, and wait until you see Tracey or Janah to work out why it is uncomfortable for you.) From here, keeping even steady breaths in and out, engage your pelvic floor. (If you are unsure of the best way to do this ask Tracey or Janah for a quick explanation.) If you place your fingers just on the inside of the pointy hip bones at the front of your pelvis (the ASIS – Anterior Superior Iliac Spine) when you engage your pelvic floor, you should feel the muscles under your fingers (the TA muscles) press out slightly.  You can increase this contraction by drawing your belly button inwards whilst exhaling, or imagining the tummy muscle (the TA) closing in like a drawbridge from the pubic bone up. This will also activate the intrinsic back muscles that support your spine.

Try to establish pelvic neutral with core contraction in different situations. Try standing up and placing your hands on your hips, with your fingers facing forwards, and your thumbs facing backwards. Slide your hands a little further around your back so that your thumbs are sitting about 5cm from your spine. Again find pelvic neutral. In this position it may help to think of it as keeping your torso upright, tall not tight, and then tucking your tailbone under, then arching your back and sticking your tailbone out. Once you have found the halfway point ‘pelvic neutral’ then engage your pelvic floor and TA muscles again. You should feel the muscles sitting under your thumbs engage. If you can’t check with Tracey or Janah to make sure you’ve got your hands in the right place.

Those are the basics. From here, we want you to practice engaging these muscles as often as you think about it. A good way to trigger any activity you want to build into a habit is to choose a colour, and every time you see that colour, connect it with the activity. For instance, say my colour is orange, every time I see something orange, I am going to think about posture and engage my core muscles. This means when I see an orange piece of paper, I correct my posture and switch my core on. When I see a carrot, I correct my posture and switch my core on, when I see an orange billboard I correct my posture and switch my core on, when I see an orange traffic light I correct my posture and switch my core on. Traffic light colours are good ones to pick, as most of us will see them several times a day, and sitting in your car seat is a really good place to practice proper posture and core control, as it’s often the place where we get a bit lazy and where injuries are likely to be exacerbated. Ladies should know it’s the best place for those pelvic floor exercises anyway!

 

Monday
Oct102011

July August 2011 Newsletter - Alcohol and Breastfeeding

Alcohol and Breastfeeding

This article is taken from Well Adjusted Babies website, dated June 15th 2011.

A reference list for this article is provided at the front desk.

 

In answer to the question “Will my breastfed baby be affected by what I eat and drink?”… The answer is yes. A mother’s milk will pass consumed substances such as food, alcohol and other chemicals through to her child. This can be either advantageous or detrimental, depending upon the mother’s awareness and her lifestyle habits…

Alcohol, caffeine, environmental toxins, recreational drugs and prescription and over-the-counter medications all pass through breast milk to our babies. These substances are mildly filtered by the mother’s metabolism but their harmful effects will still impact her child due to their small body-weight ratio. As breastfeeding mothers we need to be mindful of this. (For more information please ask Tracey or Janah for a copy of their Well Adjusted Babies text, and look up “Reducing Breast Milk Toxicity” Chapter 14; and “The placenta: Not the barrier we once thought”)

Right from the start let us be clear that the placenta marginally protects an unborn baby from infection but research now shows it does not act as a barrier for alcohol, drugs and other toxins. If your mother-in-law tries to coerce you into having a glass of red with her at the “weekly family get-togethers” and you are hesitant, then trust that intuition knowing that there is now ample research telling us that alcohol, caffeine, recreational drugs, prescription and over-the-counter medications all pass through our breast milk to our baby.

Consider a pregnant woman who weighs 50kg (for ease of calculation) and takes a drug that crosses through the placenta undiminished. Her developing baby, when its weight is less than 100 g, has 500 times the drug exposure per kg of tissue than she does herself1. This example demonstrates how the dosage the mother consumes may have mild effects for her own physiology but enormous ramifications for a delicate and vulnerable developing baby.

Interesting facts about alcohol and breastfeeding

From the Australian Breastfeeding Association2 guide for mothers:

  • ·         Once consumed, alcohol will be passed via breast milk 30–60 minutes after you start drinking.
  • ·         How much alcohol gets into your breast milk depends upon the strength and amount of alcohol in your drink, what and how much you’ve eaten, how much you weigh, and how quickly you are drinking.
  • ·         As a general rule it takes 2 hours for an average woman to get rid of the alcohol from 1 standard alcoholic drink, thus 4 hours for 2 drinks, 6 hours for 3 drinks and so on.
  • ·         Once you stop drinking and the amount of alcohol in your blood drops, the amount in your milk will too. Only time will reduce the amount of alcohol in your breast milk.
  • ·         Because alcohol elimination follows zero-order kinetics; drinking water, resting, or “pumping and dumping” breast milk will not accelerate elimination. Unlike urine, which stores substances in the bladder, alcohol is not trapped in breast milk, but is constantly removed as it diffuses back into the bloodstream.

 

The Canadian Family Physician Journal4 reports several proven or potential adverse effects of alcohol on suckling infants even after exposure to only moderate levels, including:

  • ·         impaired motor development
  • ·         changes in sleep patterns
  • ·         decreases in milk intake
  • ·         risk of hypoglycemia
  • ·         changes to a mothers’ milk flow following large amounts of alcohol

The safest option is not to drink

If you are breastfeeding, the safest option is not to drink alcohol3. Occasional drinking, however, does not warrant discontinuing breastfeeding, as the benefits of breastfeeding are extensive and well recognized4.  If you choose to drink alcohol please consider the following guidelines:

  • ·         Try to avoid alcohol in the first month after your baby is born until breastfeeding is well-established. Newborns have frequent breastfeeds without any pattern. You may not be able to tell when the next feed will be so you need to be aware that your baby could need another feed while there is still alcohol in your milk. As babies get older they fall into a more regular feeding pattern. After that, alcohol intake should be limited to no more than two standard drinks a day. If you have 1 or 2 standard drinks a day, then time the drinks to have the least effect on your baby. Breastfeed your baby before you drink. You can then enjoy a drink knowing you’ll be unlikely to need to feed again within the next couple of hours.
  • ·         Eat before and while drinking. One way to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink is to alternate alcoholic with non-alcoholic drinks. 
  • ·         You should not drink alcohol immediately before you breastfeed. You should consider expressing milk in advance if you want to drink alcohol.
  • ·         Drinking 3 or more drinks a day can be harmful to your health and that of your baby. Be aware that you may not be able to take care of your baby properly if you are affected by alcohol; that alcohol may decrease the flow of your milk and thus reduce your supply and that your baby may be slower to reach developmental milestones.

What should I do if I am going to have a planned night of drinking?

Social events don’t stop just because we become “a parent”. Even for non-drinkers there may be times when you want to attend an event and you may want to have a few drink socially. Remember:

  • ·         Breast milk with a small amount of alcohol is still better for your baby than artificial baby milk.
  • ·         You can express some milk ahead of your night out so that your baby can have this milk if you miss a feed while drinking, or while you are waiting for the amount of alcohol in your milk to drop.
  • ·         You can also express and freeze extra milk just in case you may drink more than you plan to.
  • ·         If you miss a feed while drinking alcohol and your breasts are feeling uncomfortable, express some milk and throw it away. This will help with your comfort and will maintain your milk supply.
  • ·         You may find that your milk flow is not as strong as usual while there’s still alcohol in your blood. Your milk flow will come back to normal again once your body has cleared the alcohol.
  • ·         Be aware that your baby may not sleep as well as usual.  He might fall asleep quicker, but wake up sooner, instead of having a deep sleep lasting for a longer time6. Researchers Mennella and Garcia-Gomez (2001)7 state that short-term exposure to small amounts of alcohol in mothers’ milk produces distinctive changes in the infants’ sleep–wake patterning.
  • ·         If you are someone heavily influenced by hangovers then arrange for someone else who isn’t affected by alcohol to look after your baby. Most importantly don’t sleep with your baby if you (or anyone else in the bed) are affected by alcohol.

In contrast to alcohol exposure during pregnancy, a breastfeeding mother who occasionally has alcohol can limit her baby’s exposure by timing breast feeds in relation to drinking. This is because alcohol peaks in a mothers’ bloodstream approximately 30-60 minutes after she stops drinking, and decreases from that point onwards8,9. Note that contrary to popular belief, it has been shown that infants actually ingest less breast milk in the few hours following a mothers’ consumption of alcohol than normal, due to the direct effect that alcohol has on a mothers’ milk production6,8.