Frequently Asked Questions in the Festive Season

Posted on December 22, 2017 - 3:45pm
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Every year we are asked many questions relating to the festive season. We will try and answer some of those questions for you.

We know that alcohol in pregnancy is best avoided, however what’s the deal on alcohol and breastfeeding?

It is always safest to avoid alcohol. However, there is a wonderful publication from The Australian Breastfeeding Association on “Alcohol and Breastfeeding: a guide for mothers.” This looks at the many number of factors that need to be weighed up before having a drink. The strength of the alcohol, how much you have eaten, how much you weigh and how fast you are drinking. It will be able to guide you on how to minimise the amount of alcohol that may get into your breastmilk. I would recommend you have a look at this brochure. Angela has hard copies or click here for the link.

How about all the lovely seafood on offer at Christmas time?

The answer here is very different for women who are still pregnant and for those wRemove term: Breastfeeding BreastfeedingRemove term: diet dietRemove term: listeria listeriaRemove term: newborns newbornsRemove term: nutrition nutritionRemove term: postnatal postnatalRemove term: pregnancy nutritho have delivered. For all pregnant women no raw seafood should be eaten, and no peeled chilled prawns. Prawns and fish may be eaten but it has to be cooked thoroughly and eaten while hot. For those Mums who have had their babies these restrictions are lifted. However, fish with known high mercury levels, like Shark(Flake) Swordfish, Catfish and Deep Sea Perch (Orange Roughy) should be limited to only one serve a fortnight. A serve is 150g.

What about the Christmas Ham and Turkey?

When pregnant you can have Turkey and Ham but it must have been thoroughly cooked and eaten soon after, and I am afraid no cold left overs. If baby has been delivered then there are no restrictions.

What about salads? It is often really hot at Christmas time and a hot meal may not be an option.

Salad leaves, tomatoes, cucumbers etc. all need to be washed well before being eaten. While cold left overs are not recommended, they can be eaten if heated thoroughly. It is also a good time to fire up the BBQ and enjoy a nice well done fillet steak. Remember though to keep the raw steak away form the salads, both on bench tops as well as in the fridge.

We plan on going to the beach this summer, can I use sunscreen on the baby?

The Australasian College of Dermatologists recommends the use of a sunscreen at any age when there is exposure to the sun. However, it is always best to try and use things like protective clothing, hats and shade as the first line of management. Sunscreens, labelled for infants or babies, are less likely to cause any skin irritations. Don’t forget that sunglasses are also recommended. If you have been out in the sun a lot, then also make sure your fluid intake is increased. It is very easy to become dehydrated. We don’t recommend swimming until your bleeding has stopped.

Christmas and New Year is a popular time for eating nuts. Can we eat nuts if pregnant? and or breastfeeding?

The current studies have such differing results that it is currently impossible to offer advice about what mothers should do but current international guidance is that there is no need to either avoid nuts or to actively eat them.


Some foods are regarded as having a higher risk of containing the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes which can be harmful to pregnant women and their babies. Salmonella is also a concern. The common foods we advise women to avoid during pregnancy are

  • Soft and semi soft cheeses, unless thoroughly cooked to 75 degrees and eaten soon afterwards.
  • Processed meats, unless thoroughly cooked to 75 degrees and eaten soon afterwards
  • Cold cooked chicken
  • Pre prepared salads and vegetables
  • Pre cut fruit
  • Pate
  • Soft serve ice cream
  • Raw seafood

Pregnant women are at greater risk of getting Listeria then the average healthy adult. In Australia in 2003, there were 4.6 cases per 100,000 births. The mortality of neonatal listeriosis is about 5-15%.

For more information on food saftey during pregnancy please visit the NSW Government Food Authority Website.

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Breastfeeding   diet   listeria   newborns   nutrition   postnatal   pregnancy nutrition  
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