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Drinking Alcohol and Breast Feeding

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We actually have a babysitter for New Year’s Eve. Yes, believe it or not, we have found the holy grail of sitters. Someone who actually wants to work on New Year’s Eve. Now, truth be told, we don’t have any plans. But we do have a few days to scare something up. And at a minimum, we have a bottle of champagne in the refrigerator we could take with us on a walk in Central Park.
If that’s what it comes to, we’ll probably have trouble finishing the bottle. You see, I have zero tolerance for alcohol. One glass of red wine and I get sleepy. One beer makes me full. A good mojito and I’m giddy. Two Tanqueray and Tonics and I’m apt to spill State secrets. Anything more and it’s lights out.
So for me, I’ve never worried too much about whether it was ok to drink while I was breast feeding. I knew I would never drink so much that it would be an issue.
Nevertheless, I have been wondering about the official take on alcohol and breast feeding. So after a bit of research, I’ve found that as with anything mommy related, there are differing, and sometimes conflicting, opinions.
But from numerous reputable sources, it seems that bottom line, alcohol in small amounts is ok. One to two drinks per week is fine. You might want to feed your baby before you have a drink, and then wait 2 to 3 hours after drinking before feeding again. Also, there’s no need to “pump and dump.” As the alcohol leaves your bloodstream, it also leaves your breast milk. So sober up, and your boobs will be set to go. If it makes you feel better, give your baby a bottle of expressed milk in the meantime.
Here’s a bit of information from
In general, if you are sober enough to drive, you are sober enough to breastfeed. Less than 2% of the alcohol consumed by the mother reaches her blood and milk. Alcohol peaks in mom’s blood and milk approximately 1/2-1 hour after drinking (but there is considerable variation from person to person, depending upon how much food was eaten in the same time period, mom’s body weight and percentage of body fat, etc.). Alcohol does not accumulate in breastmilk, but leaves the milk as it leaves the blood; so when your blood alcohol levels are back down, so are your milk alcohol levels.
Always keep in mind the baby’s age when considering the effect of alcohol. A newborn has a very immature liver, so minute amounts of alcohol would be more of a burden. Up until around 3 months of age, infants detoxify alcohol at around half the rate of an adult. An older baby or toddler can metabolize the alcohol more quickly.

La Leche League also says that the occasional drink is ok, but excessive drinking is not.
Alcohol abuse (excessive drinking) by the mother can result in slow weight gain or failure to thrive in her baby. The let-down of a mother who abuses alcohol may be affected by her alcohol consumption, and she may not breastfeed enough. The baby may sleep through breastfeedings, or may not suck effectively leading to decreased milk intake. The baby may even suffer from delayed motor development. If you are concerned that you or someone you know is drinking alcohol excessively, call your doctor.
At least one organization, the March of Dimes says you should avoid alcohol while breast feeding.
Small amounts of alcohol do get into breast milk and are passed on to the baby. One study found that the breastfed babies of women who had one or more drinks a day were a little slower in acquiring motor skills (such as crawling and walking) than babies who had not been exposed to alcohol. Large amounts of alcohol may also interfere with ejection of milk from the breast. For these reasons, the March of Dimes recommends that women abstain from alcohol while they are nursing.
So, what’s a mom to do? Use caution if you plan to get your party on this New Year’s Eve. If you want a drink or two, it seems you can go for it. You deserve to celebrate your parenting successes of the past year. Just remember, you may still have to get up in the middle of the night to feed your baby. So make sure you’ll be sober enough to safely care for her. And don’t forget, if you have an early bird, she’s not going to give you the day off from work.
Come to think of it, maybe I should book that sitter for January 1st. Cheers!!!

16 Responses to “Drinking Alcohol and Breast Feeding”

how long does it take for drinks to leave your system after drinking? if you “pump and dump” is ok to then feed say 5 hours after having your last drink?

ok so last night i drank 3 jack daniels downhome punch with 5%alcohol in it … before doing so i pumped and then dranked… after the third drink i decided to stop and ok i usually pump again at 5:30am after feeding the baby but this time i decided to fee her from the milk i pumped earlier and didnt pump till 10am this morning do you think it is safe to give my 3 week old baby the milk or should i dump it and wait

I had 2 glasses of wine and about 2 ounces of amaretto liqueur. I pumped about 2.5 hrs later. Is it safe to give my baby the expressed milk, or should I dump it to be safe?

drink or even smoking while breast feeding is a no no.. it will alter the composition of you breast milk and your child will suffer.

Mothers who are breastfeeding their babies must be aware that drinking alcohol at this time, would affect their infant’s health. It’s because alcohol can affect the growth of the baby, which would be bad in the long run.

For those of you who are worried, try milkscreen. It’s a test you can find at walgreens or babys r us or other drug stores that you stick in some expressed milk and it tells you if there is alcohol in it.

ok ladies no more worries there is this amazing invention at drug stores there are strips for breastmilk to test the alcohol level in your breast milk they are a lil pricey but having a happy and healthy baby is priceless but for moms who only have the one drink every so often u can just wait 2 to 3 hours before feeding but if your extra cautious then pump extra and store it for nights that u want to have your occasional drink

So I don’t get it some say not to breastfeed if you drank 24 hours ago . That will still effect baby cuz u tainted the milk?

Why are you asking retarded questions that have already been answered in the article above?
Yes, it is okay to have 1-2 drinks.
Yes, you should feed your baby before you start drinking.
Yes, you should wait 3 hours after you drink to feed again.
No, your milk is not ‘tainted’.
No, you don’t have to pump and dump, the alcohol leaves your milk as soon as it leaves your blood stream.

Please read before posting.
K, thanks:)

What is going so wrong that you need to be rude VIA blog. The questions asked were not retarded, one source did say DO NOT drink at all if you are Breastfeeding because your milk content will be changed, and other sources said it was okay as long as you feed before and wait until your BAC is back to normal.

Isn’t the point of this website to be helpful to concerned moms? Rather than insulting another moms question, try to be helpful.

Therefore Maria, Please read carefully before posting next time!

K…thanks =D

Firstly, very much liked response by “Dislike Rude People” to Maria’s post….too true!

Secondly, and very importantly…..please help! Need advice Re: Medicine and Breastfeeding? What have read up, advises pumping and dumping and abstaining for 36hours? With regard to one off administered tablet LEVONELLE 1500 microgram tablet. 12am tonight will be 36hrs since last feed. (already managed 24hrs!). Main Question is, Is it really necessary to “pump and dump”, or like alcohol is this likely to have cleared from my bloodstream and breastmilk? (I do not manage at all well with pumping) and…. Do I really need to wait it out another 12 hours?

My baby is nearly 14months old.
This website has links to good information about the safety of certain drugs in lactation. Primarily the website LactMed And also the main book is by Thomas Hale, Medications and Mother’s Milk. Consult both your doctor and these resources. Good luck!

Ok so if you pump but you don’t dump, will the milk you pumped atill have alcohol in it?

Yes, but here’s a sort of casual rule of thumb of how to think about this… if you would be sober and could drive, then it is fine to breastfeed. But please consult the guidelines about alcohol consumption and breastfeeding.

So I’ve read everything but I just want to ask my personal question since I’m not having the Particular drinks you’ve talked about. My son is a month an a week old& ill be going out tomorrow for the first time and will probably take a few shots of jager. Ill pump all day tomorrow so my sister can feed him my breast milk through out the night. But say I start to drink around 8pm and return home at 7am the next morning still feeling intoxicated considering its been nearly 2 years since I’ve consumed alcohol, will it be ok to feed when I get home still feeling a bit of alcohol ?? Please help. I would never ever want to hurt my son. I’d rather go buy a can of formula an feed him that for a day then put him at risk.

Here’s one way to think about it… if you would be too drunk to drive, then give him your pumped breast milk. Once you are sober, your milk is fine. But use discretion. Consult this information on the website

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