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Lead & Breastfeeding

Who is at risk?

Your new born baby is at very high risk of elevated blood lead levels from you if you have an elevated blood lead level. Lead will transfer to your new baby through your breast milk, causing your baby to have elevated blood lead levels, if your child is exposed to high levels of lead they are at risk of developing the following health issues:

  • May effect the development of organs systems such as the brain and central nervous systems
  • May cause hearing and cognitive impairment, at this young age the child’s brain is still developing, lead may cause irreversible intelligence loss, causing lower IQ
  • May cause behavioural changes, poor attention, hyperactivity, depression and anxiety

How do I reduce the risk to my child?

It is essential that breast feeding women make sure you reduce the risk of elevated blood lead levels in you and your new baby by incorporating our key messages – Wet Wipe, Wash & Eat Well into your daily routines:

  • Wet wipe all kitchen benches and work tops to remove lead dust, especially before preparing meals and snacks for you and your family. Use a wet cloth and rinse the cloth regularly.
  • Wet mop all hard floor surfaces to remove the amount of lead dust that you can pick up. Regularly rinse the mop during cleaning.
  • Wash your hands especially before preparing your meals. It is essential that you wash and dry your hands regularly throughout the day, especially before eating, after working outside and petting animals.
  • Eat well, an empty stomach will absorb more lead than a full stomach, so make sure you eat regular healthy meals and snacks throughout the day. There are 5 main vitamins and minerals that assist the body to reduce lead absorption, the Lead Alliance has developed many healthy eating recipe books to assist, information on diet and lead absorption is available on this site: DIET AND LEAD ABSORPTION.
  • Information on how to reduce the amount of lead dust in your home is available on this site: LEAD AND YOUR HOME.