So.. Can I Drink Alcohol and Breastfeed? Please!!

26 April 2012 / 0 comments

There are a lot of do’s and don’ts when it comes to breastfeeding. If this is your first time with the experience, it might seem a little bit daunting. Even for an experienced nurser, there might be a lot of questions that come up as you make it through the days and weeks following the birth of your baby. One of the first questions asked might include alcohol and breast milk and how they affect each other. Can you nurse and have a drink? Will any alcohol make it to baby if you do have a drink? There are a few things to know once you have settled in to breastfeeding that might be helpful along the way.

When to avoid Alcohol

  • In the very beginning of your breastfeeding experience, alcohol should be avoided. Not only will it go through your milk and to baby, but it could hinder your milk production. Hindered milk production in the early days of nursing might make it difficult to get enough milk established to continue on with nursing.  Instead of having an alcoholic drink, make it a non-alcoholic version instead if you feel like celebrating. Down the road you can enjoy the alcohol again in limited quantities.

alcohol breastfeeding

When can I slam a few back?

  • After your milk has been established and you have built up a supply of expressed milk in the freezer and refrigerator, then it is possible for you to enjoy a glass of wine or a drink with a meal. When you do have an alcoholic beverage, there are a couple of different things that you can do after to make sure that your milk production stays high and that your baby still stays safe.

Utilize Stored Breast Milk if you Can

  • First, after you have had the drink, use the frozen breast milk in bottles for 24 hours after you have consumed the alcohol. When you use the saved milk in the freezer or from the refrigerator, then you know it does not have any alcohol in it and it cannot harm your baby. Even if you only have one or two drinks, a trace amount of alcohol will get back to the baby. If you prefer your baby to get nothing from your indulgence, then use up the stored milk.
  • To keep up your milk production while you use up stored milk, you can continue to use a breast pump, but discard the milk pumped during the first 24 hours after you have consumed the alcohol. This milk directly after you have the drink will be when your body is processing and burning off the alcohol, so it is when it will be in the breast milk. If there is enough stored breast milk, you could even choose to dispose of milk for 36 hours after you have consumed alcohol, but 24 will probably be enough time if you only have had one or two drinks.

Regular and moderate drinking during breastfeeding is not recommended. It can make the milk lack in nutrients and also put your milk production at risk. domain archive . And if there isn’t any stored breast milk to use, then you are potentially putting your baby at risk by drinking and then nursing them afterwards. Even trace amounts of alcohol can get in to baby’s system. Small amounts can affect them because they have such a small body and under developed system that cannot process the alcohol out as easily or as quickly as an adult body can. Alcohol and breast milk aren’t a good combination, either for the mother or the baby. If you find you are tired of going without alcohol and want a nightly glass of wine, then it might be time to wean your baby.

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Written by Stefanie Prinkles

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