Alcohol and Breastfeeding: Is it Safe?

Breastfeeding is a crucial component of your baby’s physical growth and overall healthy development. Mothers who are actively breastfeeding sometimes get mixed advice when it comes to drinking alcohol and feeding their baby.

Consuming alcohol has various effects on your baby, depending on the amount consumed and the conditions surrounding a mother’s alcohol consumption before breastfeeding.

While there is no exact guide on the long-term effects of breastfeeding while under the influence of alcohol, over-consuming alcohol is harmful and dangerous to growing babies.

Effect of Breastfeeding with Alcohol in the Blood

If a breastfeeding mother consumes a large amount of alcohol before breastfeeding, it may lead to abnormal weight gain, weakness, fatigue, and immune system complications in her infant.

Alcohol can also decrease the reflexes of the milk-ejection system in the mother’s breast.

There is enough peer-reviewed information out there to definitively conclude that breastfeeding after heavy drinking is not safe for the mother or the child.

With the right knowledge and preparation, you can make sure you practice safe drinking habits, or abstinence, based on your personal preference.

Misinformation on Alcohol and Breastfeeding

Some mothers say that having a few drinks relaxes them and stimulates milk production, making breastfeeding easier. Others say that drinking a stout will help their milk supply.

However, these tips are not proven to be accurate. No evidence supports these claims, but there is evidence supporting the harmful effects of breastfeeding while drinking.

– Keep on Reading for More Information on Breastfeeding and Alcohol –

There are a lot of conflicting guidelines out there on drinking alcohol and breastfeeding. As a mother, you do not have the time to read every journal article on the internet about alcohol and childcare.

We combed through as many reliable sources as we could find to give you the primary information on the subject. This article will provide you with enough information to make sure you are informed about safe breastfeeding so that your baby stays healthy!

How long should I wait after drinking to breastfeed?

Generally, it takes 2 hours of waiting for every one standard alcoholic beverage. So if you have three glasses of wine, you should wait at least 6 hours to breastfeed your baby.

However, if you are more sensitive to alcohol (i.e., a “lightweight”), then you should wait longer. If you are drunk or tipsy, wait until you are fully sober to breastfeed. If you have more than three drinks, then it is best to avoid breastfeeding altogether to be on the safe side.

You know yourself best, so use sound judgment.

Serving Size Matters

Note that we said STANDARD alcoholic beverage above. That is not intended to mean that consuming two extra-large glasses of wine is the same as two appropriately portioned glasses. Be reasonable and do not binge drink while breastfeeding.

Seek Help with Abuse

Alcohol abuse can reduce your milk supply and prevent your child from reaching their developmental milestones.

If you believe that you have a problem with drinking alcohol, it is in your best interest to seek help from friends, family, and professionals to help you along the way.

The Reality of Pumping and Dumping

Also, note that “pumping and dumping” will not purge your breast milk of alcohol. It is best to wait until you sober up and then feed your child.

If you have alcohol in your blood, then it is also in your breast milk. It will not leave your system until the alcohol is entirely out of your body, and purging your breast milk will not help this process.

The only things you can do to speed up the process is to drink water, eat, and rest up. Once you feel that you are in control and the correct amount of time has passed, it is okay to feed your baby.

Plan Ahead!

Breastfeeding is important for your baby’s growth and is sure to be a priority. During the first month of your newborn’s life, it’s best to avoid consuming alcohol.

If you are going out, then plan only to have a couple of drinks. Also, try to get home early enough to recover. Another smart choice is to alternate alcoholic beverages with non-alcoholic drinks to keep yourself accountable and hydrated.

Pump Before You Drink

To keep from missing a feed, you can express some milk before you go out and feed your baby later. If you would rather breastfeed your child directly, you will, unfortunately, have to wait it out.

As your baby gets older, their feeding pattern will become more apparent to you, and you can more effectively plan for your nights out. Another option is to feed your baby before you go out or have some drinks, which will make sure they get the nutrients they need.

If you can avoid drinking at all, that will always be the safest option. Going out with your friends does not mean that you have to partake in alcohol. Staying sober and enjoying the food and the company will ensure that you have a good time while prioritizing your baby’s health.

Planning Ahead for You and Your Baby

Having alcohol in your blood means that you also have alcohol in your breast milk, which can be harmful to your baby. The best thing to do if you have consumed alcohol is to wait the recommended amount of time before breastfeeding.

If you have had too much alcohol, wait until you are completely sober before breastfeeding to avoid any potential harmful effects to your little one.

Breastfeeding is an important part of your baby’s physical growth and overall development, so make sure that you are doing it the responsible way!