alcohol and breastfeeding,

Rachel - posted on 07/12/2010 ( 55 moms have responded )

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I am bf-ing my 10.5 month old and am visiting family from out of state. I went to my cousins house one evening and had some beers and left my son with my mother. I had a bottle of milk in the fridge for him for the morning when he woke up, (he never wakes up in the night any longer) when he woke up i gave him the bottle and he refused it. so i figured that he just wasn't hungry, I gave him his paci and laid down next to him and i woke up about 15 mins later and he had pulled my top down and was nursing!!! he couldn't have been nursing long but that doesn't make me feel any better. I've been searching on the internet looking for an answer. I'm scared that he will become sick or something, does anyone have any articles that have any info on this? all I can find is articles on breastfeeding with women who drink everyday. please help. I feel like the worst mother in the world right now. thank you.

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Jennifer - posted on 07/13/2010

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Alcohol leaves your milk at the same rate as it leaves your blood. If you no longer felt the effects of alcohol then it was no longer in your milk. Really, no worries here. Your son will be fine. Even if he had wanted to nurse during the night once the effects had worn off, it would have been fine! Unless you were very intoxicated and still feeling drunk in the morning when he was nursing, there is no problem here.

FYI - I am a volunteer breastfeeding councellor and I have studied medications and breastfeeding, including alcohol.

Mandy - posted on 07/16/2010

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Please relax, if you are sobre enough to look after your baby, you are sobre enough to feed you baby. Having a few drinks doesn't harm your baby, and not much actually gets into your milk. Mums in the UK actually used to be told to drink Guiness or bitter to help their milk. A couple of beers or a glass of wine is going to relax you, therefore relax your baby.
Alcohol leaves your breastmilk at the same rate as it does your blood, there is no need to pump and dump, you're just wasting your milk, it doesn't get rid of the alcohol any faster.
From Dr Jack Newman - leading expert on breastfeeding
"Breastfeeding Myths
1. A breastfeeding mother has to be obsessive about what she eats. Not true! A breastfeeding mother should try to eat a balanced diet, but neither needs to eat any special foods nor avoid certain foods. A breastfeeding mother does not need to drink milk in order to make milk. A breastfeeding mother does not need to avoid spicy foods, garlic, cabbage or alcohol. A breastfeeding mother should eat a normal healthful diet. Although there are situations when something the mother eats may affect the baby, this is unusual. Most commonly, "colic", "gassiness" and crying can be improved by changing breastfeeding techniques, rather than changing the mother's diet."
". A mother should not drink alcohol while breastfeeding. Not true! Reasonable alcohol intake should not be discouraged at all. As is the case with most drugs, very little alcohol comes out in the milk. The mother can take some alcohol and continue breastfeeding as she normally does. Prohibiting alcohol is another way we make life unnecessarily restrictive for breastfeeding mothers."

Angie - posted on 07/14/2010

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Sarah, that is actually inaccurate information. With that reasoning you wouldn't be able to drive a car or be sober for 24 hours after having a drink. Alcohol metabolizes roughly 1 hour for every drink you've had.

Stephanie - posted on 07/13/2010

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Another resource I've found is askdrsears.com

http://askdrsears.com/faq/bf17.asp

and I quote:
ALCOHOL IN BREASTMILK?
"I read that it is ok to have a drink of alcohol while breastfeeding as long as you do it right after breastfeeding and then don't nurse again for at least two hours after. Wouldn't the alcohol get in the breastmilk and stay there or does it just go away somehow?”

Let’s say you’re at a friend’s party, have a couple of drinks and feel a little tipsy. At that point, there will be a small amount of alcohol in your breastmilk. Now, if the party goes late… things get a little out of hand… you’ve had quite a few more drinks, and wind-up prancing around your friend’s house wearing nothing but a bear-skin rug… there will be a lot of alcohol in your breastmilk!

What happens to the alcohol in the breastmilk? Do you need to pump and dump? The milk-alcohol level will be based on your blood-alcohol level. As your body metabolizes the excess alcohol and the blood alcohol slowly decreases, so will the milk level. You generally don’t have to pump and dump, unless you need to prevent engorgement. When the effects of the alcohol have worn off, then it is fine to nurse again.

One more thing: be prepared to pay top dollar to buy the negatives of any photos that were taken at the party!

Dr. Jim

Kirsten Veronica - posted on 07/12/2010

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Next time limit yourself to one or two over the course of two or three hours and drink LOTS of water so you don't get dehydrated and hungover. :) And never co-sleep if you're tipsy or drunk. Other than that, don't stress too much. I sincerely doubt moms in France don't have wine with dinner. ;)

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55 Comments

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R - posted on 09/26/2012

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Just do not get wedding drunk. The post below regarding the percentage of alcohol in your blood being the same as in your breastmilk are false. (Also since that person thinks that 1.8% is the legal limit they're probably dead by now.) Your breastmilk is the product of several processes including the filtration of the alcohol through your liver.



Your post did not indicate how long it had been since you had beers and then breastfed your son, but you should not feel guilty.



See scholar.google.com for medical literature regarding alcohol in breastmilk or a lactation consultant. There is probably one at your hospital if you are in a reasonably populated area.



Good Luck

Diane - posted on 07/18/2010

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The amount of alcohol in your breastmilk is the same as the amount in your blood, when you consider the fact that legally drunk (which is pretty drunk) is 1.8% blood alcohol level and your average beer is is 6% (much higher) you'd really have to be pretty drunk for it to affect your baby through your breastmilk at all. So if you're not getting drunk and/or you have sobered up some, your baby is really going to be fine.

Miranda - posted on 07/17/2010

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Some say that while breastfeeding, one can consume one beer because it will help promote lactation due to the yeast. I personally have drank two beers and breastfed my child, and have had no issues regarding it. My pediatrician said that it gets filtered by your liver and isn't as problematic as drinking while you are pregnant because it gets absorbed through your bloodstream directly to the placenta. I am not saying you should go get trashed, but it shouldn't hurt anything. If you feel more comfortable, you can pump and dump. You are an adult, that is aloud to be an adult, good luck.

Corinne - posted on 07/17/2010

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Don't fret honey, I did it and felt sooooo bad. It's not the end of the world, it was the morning after so your body will have done it's thing. I don't think a one off lapse is going to do him any harm, maybe a couple of dodgy nappies. It happens, don't beat yourself up. :)

Janell - posted on 07/17/2010

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If having an occasional drink makes you a happier, more relaxed person then I believe the benefits outway the risks. A little alcohol wont hurt. A happier and more relaxed person makes for a better parent. I would still limit it but the odd drink here and there can be quite therapeutic.

Angie - posted on 07/17/2010

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I have no articles but I do have experience. I would never go and feed my baby alcoholic breast milk, however. It happened to me once when my daughter was 20months old. I did the same as you had a couple of bottles in the fridge. It was new years 2 years ago and I decided I was going to celebrate with friends also providing the fact I would not see them much as well seen as I would be moving in a weeks time from that date. I think I had a bit too much too drink tbh because I have never felt that drunk before. I went to my bed and left the baby in care of my partner. However she had climbed up onto the bed and took a suckling whilst I was sleeping completely unaware. She was a bit tipsy (please don't laugh) and I also felt like a bad mother. Having said that though I have come across no problems with her. She is smart, no cognitive signs of damage and she was fine she was not sick or anything after that. I felt a big sense of relief after that and I have to admit I have not touched a drop of drink since AT ALL. Probably down to my guilt I had. I really do not think anything bad will happen to your baby so calm down your allowed to have a night of freedom and given that you prepared well in advance with a bottle suggests that you had good intentions. You did not deliberately set out to feed your baby milk with alcohol in it if there even was any left in the milk. x

Katharine - posted on 07/17/2010

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I just reread what I wrote...I meant I heard a beer will INCREASE milk production, not decrease it!! Sorry! My daughter doesn't like me sitting on the computer, she likes to play with the keyboard, so sometimes I write to hastily! But great advise from everyone :)

Desiree - posted on 07/16/2010

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My doctor told me if you are buzzed not to nurse. The alcohol content in your body is the same that is in your milk. If you are ok to drive, you are ok to nurse....

Katharine - posted on 07/16/2010

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you are wonderful just to think of it! as long as you aren't 'drunk' and feel the effects of the alcohol, your baby is fine....:) once in a while isn't going to harm your baby,....if even been told beer will help decreased breast milk supply (my issue with my 10 month old these days) Don't worry about one slip, we are human!! think about what our mothers and granmothers did...on second thought don't, too scary!

Andreina - posted on 07/16/2010

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you have to wait one hour per drink drank!
there are also alcohol strips to test the milk!

Briana - posted on 07/16/2010

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My son won't take a bottle, but he goes to bed at the same time every night. So I had a glass of wine one night, and out of nowhere he woke up wanting to nurse. I had no choice but to feed him. I was told it's ok, your LO will just be sleepy. My son was after I nursed.

Rachel - posted on 07/16/2010

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I went a little overboard. I think I had somewhere around 4-6 beers over the course of 5 hrs. I already told myself I wasnt doing that anymore. I'll have one or 2 occasionally after he goes to bed, but really its not worth the heartache or hassle. he seems okay, I was reading online on another forum about this girl who drank a 6 pack every night and bf-ed her child and he was okay up until recent where his liver functions were off...they took him back to the pedi a week later and all was normal again. after that i didnt feel like the worst mom in the world. thank u all for your support. you ladies are so sweet and supportive!!! xoxo!!

Mandy - posted on 07/16/2010

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so its ok to have a glass of wine here and there?

It's perfectly alright to enjoy a couple every now and then x

Colleen - posted on 07/16/2010

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Hi.. I wouldn't worry about having a few beers the night before and then breast feeding your child the next morning or even a few hours after. I've done it myself and never had a problem with either of my children. Everything in moderation in my opinion. Hope this helps.

Maddi - posted on 07/15/2010

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ive read the same things as amberlee. if its just a few beers he'll be fine so dont even worry. some doctors even say to drink a glass of wine and bf to calm down the baby lol its alright so dont even worry about it as long as you're not an alcoholic or doing drugs or something. but its true that BF is sooo good for the baby its better that then him have formula

Tara - posted on 07/15/2010

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You couldn't have had THAT much beer where it would be that big of a deal the next morning. What I read about is that as long as the beer is in your system, it is in your breastmilk. So if you drank a bunch of water and peed it out, it is probably all gone. But if it makes you feel better, I know someone who drinks and breastfeeds her baby all the time and her baby is fine. I'm not saying it is okay that she does it but her baby is okay, so I wouldn't worry too much. :) Just remember next time to drink the amount of water for how many beers you had. So 1 beer would be a small glass of water. Oh, and I have heard of someone that breastfeeds her child WHILE drinking beer. people are crazy.....

Becky - posted on 07/15/2010

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I was told by my doctor that if you're okay to drive you're okay to nurse. I don't drink excessively (1 beer over an hour and I'm done since he was born a few times) and everything has gone fine. Don't worry. Oh and pump and dump is good for two things, pumping and dumping while inebriated if your supply is yet to be actually established, and to relieve engorgement. In reality it is completely unnecessary to pump and dump. =) Relax mama, you're doing fine =)

Mandy - posted on 07/15/2010

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I've been told by many health care professionals that as long as you weren't drunk and you wait atleast an hour your body metabolizes it faster tahn it can get into your milk. Hope this helped

Tara - posted on 07/15/2010

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I talked to my public health nurse about this. She gave me a paper about it. it all depends on how much u had. like, for one beer allow 2 to 4 hours for it to pass and it goes up by about 2 hours every beer u have (5%alochol) From what i understand, it will work itself out the longer u wait, but talk to your doctor or PHN about it if ur still concerned. Thats what i'd do.

Angela - posted on 07/15/2010

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When i was pregnant with my first, the doctor told me that one drink (a beer or 1 oz of alcohol) wouldn't affect your breastmilk, and for every drink it takes 2-3 hours (per drink) to work its way out. Usually what I would do if I did have a couple of drinks, was pump the milk and dump it.

Tiffany - posted on 07/15/2010

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As i understand it if alcohol is still in the blood it is still in the milk. So basically if you feel drunk or typsy there will be alcohol in your milk as well. ... There is no reason for pump and dump... unless it is for your own comfort , just don't nurse while intoxicated obviously..lol., In this case it sounds like baby wasn't heartily nursing either way, just pacifying himself... Just be more cautious or aware of how much your drinking while still nursing but don't beat yourself up!

Hannah - posted on 07/15/2010

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Oh as some have already pointed out, just to clarify you DON'T need to pump and dump. Despite what you may have been told, this is not necessary, Just google it and you will find lots to support this fact. Thanks (or should that be 'cheers'?!)

Catherine - posted on 07/15/2010

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Unicef's research suggests that drinking in moderation is fine and the longer between alcohol entering the body and baby feeding the better as your milk refreshes and alcohol is metabilised and therefore not present in your milk. Although the last time I went out I still pumped and dumped for my own peace of mind. I learnt this on a breastfeed training course. needless to say many of us were very happy. As long as your not sleeping with baby while under the influence you can go and enjoy a breif moment of freedom.

Candice - posted on 07/15/2010

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One or two drinks won't hurt. But don't get drunk. Beer can actually stimulate milk production.In Ireland( I believe) a mother is given a pint of Guiness right after giving birth.That said moderation is key. I'm virtually a non drinker myself.

Jennifer - posted on 07/14/2010

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My doctor said that the time it takes for the alcohol to leave your system is the same with breastmilk. If you had three drinks, don't breastfeed for three hours. I'm sure he was fine. Just remember that for the future, when you're no longer feeling any effects of the alcohol, he should be fine to nurse.

Sarh - posted on 07/14/2010

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Since this was a few days ago I'm just wondering if he was ok?! Don't feel like a bad mommy! You didn't nurse him, he helped himself! Not anyone's fault! However, this is why I just avoid drinking, because you have to pump for 24hrs and discard, just seems like a waste and then you have to hope you have enough stored or that the baby will drink formula. Just relax! and I hope he was fine!

April - posted on 07/14/2010

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You're fine Mama, relax! I can't search it right now but go to Kellymom.com. Alcohol metabolizes from your breast milk at the same rate it metabolizes from your blood stream, meaning if you haven't felt loopy for an hour or two you're golden. If you slept overnight and he nursed the next morning you are *most certainly* in the clear!

Kristina - posted on 07/14/2010

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I have done a lot of research on breast-feeding and alcohol and for every drink you have it takes about 2 hours for it to be metabolized by your body. So you can try to figure out if there was any alcohol left in your system that way. Anyways though, don't feel like your the worst mother in the world! I'm sure even if there was alcohol left in your system its not going to cause any damage.

Francesca - posted on 07/14/2010

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Pump and dump is a horrible myth. Thats like saying if you pee after you drink, the alcohol isn't in your body anymore. While the alcohol is in your blood, it will still be in your milk. So a good rule of thumb is for every drink you have wait about an hour or two to breastfeed. If you are concerned, check out the LLL information on it all.

Don't worry about your son. He will be just fine.

Jaclyn - posted on 07/14/2010

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theres are so many differnt opinions "facts" and everything. i have done research on it and i swear every website and person u talk to says something differnt. one says its in ur milk others say little bits some say "pump and dump" others say it doesnt matter because of this and that. buttt i do think that everything should be ok :o)
maybe when hes sleepig are you overthinking it? i know i would ..idk
everything should be fine. and its not like you didnt take precaustions before you drank ya know? you were prepared and your child decided no i want the booooob. mine does that hell like rip my shirt down to nurse so i get pretty nervous with drinking too bc of all these differnt answ3ers on qhwn its ok to nurse after

Hannah - posted on 07/14/2010

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My baby doesn't take a bottle, so I have to time my drinks so I know by the time I feed her my milk will be ok again, but I too got caught out by an unexpected feed when I had one too many, and I felt so guilty, but my baby seemed fine and it just taught me to be more careful and that I have to limit myself until she's weaned. So don't beat yourself up x

Tanith - posted on 07/14/2010

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Extract from the La Leche League International The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding Seventh Revised Edition Pg 328 -



"When the breastfeeding mother drinks OCCASIONALLY or limits her consumption to one drink or less per day, the amount of alcohol her baby receives has not been proven to be harmful."



To clarify:



"Alcohol does pass freely into a mother's milk and has been found to peak at 30 to 90 minutes after consumption of one alcoholic drink. Once the mother's body metabolizes the alcohol, a process that takes two to three hours, the alcohol is eliminated from her system and from her milk. However, the more alcohol that is consumed, the greater the amounts in her milk and the longer it takes to be eliminated."

Sarah - posted on 07/14/2010

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alcohol takes 24 hrs to be out of the system and you have to express the milk out in the morning, my opinion is to just not drink, its not worth it when it can potentially affect your child so much

Jennifer - posted on 07/13/2010

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The alcohol leaves your milk the same way it got in and is then metabolized and excreted by your body. It is not necessary to pump and dump. Pumping and dumping will not help you to be ok to nurse any faster. Nor do you need to pump off some "contaminated milk" to get to some milk that is ok. It just does not work that way. Even if you were to drain your breasts while you were drunk, the milk they immediately filled up with would still have alcohol in it. Conversely, if you were drunk, did not empty your breasts, and then nursed/pumped after you were no longer feeling the effects of alcohol, that milk would be fine. You can't get rid of the alcohol by pumping, you just have to wait.

Jacquelyn - posted on 07/13/2010

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What did you drink and how long after did he nurse - I am guessing it was all out of your milkso don't worry and if there was a small amount he is fine and you still shouldn't worry, in the old days rubbing wiskey on the gums was the cure for teething ;) http://kellymom.com/health/lifestyle/alc...

Kendra - posted on 07/13/2010

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Alcohol does transfer through breast milk, but I believe your body still filters some of it out. I wouldn't feel like the worst mother in world, as there much worse things that you could be doing. But for the future remember how you're feeling now, and maybe make a different desicion in regards to drinking. :-)

D.Denise - posted on 07/13/2010

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First of all, calm down. We're all human and being a mom 24/7 isn't the easiest thing to be. You took precautions by pumping ahead of time and having it ready for him when you knew you were going to have a few drinks, which shows great care and concern for your child. As you also said, he didn't nurse for very long either. Your body would have processed most of the alcohol and you'd have gotten rid of it by going to the bathroom. You didn't mention how long after you'd drank til he nursed, but it could have been hours and as I said, your body would have processed it anyway. Only a small percentage of it would have gotten into your breastmilk and even a smaller amount would have been taken into his body as he only nursed a short while. Please don't beat yourself up over this. It was a ONE time thing and doubtful it did any real harm. At ten months old, he's already developed immunities and has a strong healthy body from your nursing and it is unlikely to have caused permanent affects on him. This was a live and learn lesson. I wish you well. P.S. You're not the worst mother in the world! How dare you try and take that title from someone MORE DESERVING!!! hahah (((HUGS!!!)))

Rachael - posted on 07/13/2010

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The amount of alcohol that passes through to your breast milk after it is metabolized is very tiny. My pediatrician actually recommends not to pump and dump as that is "wasting liquid gold" as he puts it. The safest time to nurse is as you have your first drink (it hasn't reached your milk supply yet) or aprox. one hour per drink after your last drink (this is an aprox. because metabolism is different for everyone) If it makes you feel more comfortable you can call your Dr. but I am sure your little guy is just fine

Kate - posted on 07/13/2010

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I will have a beer occasionally, it is really not a big deal as long as you are not drunk or tipsy. I just drink very slowly-it takes me an hour to finish one beer. My baby has never had any ill effects, in fact she is very healthy and happy!

Angie - posted on 07/12/2010

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Dont' worry at all, like the others have said sober enough to drive sober enough to breastfeed. Even being a bit tipsy with a baby that age won't hurt him as long as it isn't a regular thing.

Racheal - posted on 07/12/2010

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hunnie your fine, if your sober enough to drive your sober enough to nurse, and since you slept its ok!! promise..he wont get sick

Brittony - posted on 07/12/2010

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I personally asked my doctor if it was ok to drink while bf-ing. She said one or two beers isnt gonna hurt the baby at all. She said I may notice him getting gassy though. She said as long as I don't feel tipsy when i'm drinking there is no need to pump and dump.

Lika - posted on 07/12/2010

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i commend you on having the courage to ask that... your not a bad mother your human and things happen... i breastfed 6 children and usually if i have a drink i stop drinking well b4 i am to return home and then try to flush my system by drinking lots of water... im sure this is a system i devised somewhere along the way but none the less my kids all turned out fine...

Rachel - posted on 07/12/2010

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i wasnt drunk...but hungover, yes. i think hes okay but im just s little worried because hes been sleeping alot. when he wakes up hes alert and happy, since then hes even hit a couple milestones. but i always worry. thanks for your support ladies. i feel alot better.

Kirsten Veronica - posted on 07/12/2010

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Oh dear, if it was the next morning there is NO reason to be concerned. If you aren't inebriated there isn't any problem with having a drink once in a while. In fact I've had doctor friends who are very pro-breastfeeding and very natural parents SERVE me wine while DD was latched on. As I said, as long as you aren't drinking to excess the amount that your child would be exposed to through your breast milk is very small. If you are concerned feel free to wait until the alcohol has left your system (one hour per drink) to breastfeed. Alcohol is not stored in breast milk, so pumping and dumping isn't necessary. I don't deny myself a glass of wine or dark beer every once in a while and in fact used guinness to help with production when stress was lowering my milk supply. (I know that's controversial, but it did work for me.)

Jacquelyn - posted on 07/12/2010

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If you are safe to drive - effects are worn off - which I'm sure they were the next day - you are safe to nurse - there is no need to pump and dump it leaves you milk like it leaves your blood :)

Mandy - posted on 07/12/2010

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If it was the next morning you should be fine, the last time I drank I pumped when I got home and dumped it but a couple hours later nursed again. It should have been out of your system w/in 6-8 hrs after your last drink ( depending on how much you have had of course) this is all on a couple of drinks 3ish..at most. Hope this helps, but I wouldn't worry to much about this one time, look at all the kids that are fine and the moms out there that drink and smoke all the time. I should also tell you I just googled the question in "how long after having an alcohol drink can I breastfeed" and there's quite a few answers for it. Good luck

Melissa - posted on 07/12/2010

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I would just call your pediatrician but I don't think it will hurt him. Were you intoxicated when he was doing this?? If not there is probably not much to worry about. If you were I still don't think there is much to worry about just be careful while you are BF that you do not drink!

Amberlee - posted on 07/12/2010

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This is going to sound horrable BUT I read that the benifits outweigh the risks of smoking and drinking while BF, Not that I say go drink and BF anyway but this once might ot hurt him.... I hate saying it too but i am just trying to help you out

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