Alcohol while Breastfeeding?

Jessica - posted on 06/15/2011 ( 33 moms have responded )

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Do any of you drink while breastfeeding? Is there a safe way to do so? I like a glass of wine every now and then but am too scared to feed my baby from the breast for several hours after 1 glass because I don't want him experiencing anything from the alcohol and IDK how that whole process works, typically if I drink I pump and dump for the night and he gets previously pumped breastmilk until the next morning...

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Emma - posted on 06/15/2011

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The general rule is that alcohol will remain in your breast milk for as long as it stays in your blood. So basically alcohol will leave your breast milk 2-4 hours after consuming it depending on whether you are eating with your drink. If your eating and drinking it will take longer to leave your milk because your food absorbs it. I have always been told that if your legally able to drive after a drink (your not over the limit) then the alcohol in your milk will be harmless to ur baby. I do drink a glass of wine every now and then after my baby has her last feed of the day as I know it will be 5-6 hours before she wakes for another feed. Hope that helps a bit :)

Mandy - posted on 06/17/2011

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It is perfectly safe to have a couple of drinks while breastfeeding. It leaves your breastmilk at the same rate as your blood stream. There is no need to pump and dump. None of us would get really drunk while in charge of our kids anyway, so enjoy a glass of wine now and again.
The only time you need to cut anything out while nursing is when your baby reacts to it, if there is no problem eat and drink whatever you like, it actually helps when introducing food - if you have eaten a wide variety of food, the baby will taste it in your milk and more likely to try new foods.

Minnie - posted on 06/17/2011

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My daughter has always been a quite frequent and erratic nurser. I could never have waited to nurse for even a couple of hours after having a drink. Since she only receives between 2 and 2.5% of the alcohol I consume (that's 2% of 15% alchohol in a glass of wine) I haven't worried about it.

Jodi - posted on 06/16/2011

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I do and I do not believe it is harmful. In the US we are way more uptight about alcohol in pregnancy and nursing than in other countries - and it is largely due to our law suit happy culture, not out of evidence it is harmful. EXCESSIVE drinking in the first trimester is not good and EXCESSIVE drinking while nursing may be harmful but light to moderate drinking past the second trimester or while nursing not shown to be harmful. I follow the "if you're sober enough to drive" philosophy.

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Julia - posted on 04/11/2012

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Soda contains about .04% alcohol, which is the same as breastmilk after a drink. Not that anyone would give a breastfed baby soda, but it is considered nonalcoholic. If there are trace amounts of alcohol in your milk it will not hurt the baby. When pregnant, your BAC is the same as the baby's; if you have .08% your baby has a BAC of .08%. If it's ok to have a glass of wine before your child is born, and share that BAC, then logic suggests it's even safer to have a drink and feed your baby after he is born, because the baby is getting a much smaller percentage.



On the other hand, moderation is key. I agree that we are much too uptight about alcohol in America, but binge drinking and breastfeeding don't go together. A glass of wine is 3oz, not the whole glass. I've heard the old wives tales about drinking Guiness to make your milk come in, and also have a glass of wine and then feed your baby to help them sleep! I admit I tried that last one on my colicky child, the wine did wonders for both of us.

Merry - posted on 06/24/2011

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I drink the occasional alcoholic drink while breastfeeding, after all I've been breastfeeding for the past two years and will be going for somewhere around 6 more years straight before Im done! So 8-10 years of breastfeeding and I'm not going to deny myself a drink here and there if the situation comes up :) I've probably had 4 total drinks this past two years but hey, as I said, if the situation comes up I'm not going to refuse. I just try to time it so it's out of my milk before the next feed.

Erin - posted on 06/24/2011

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Reading a lot of "If you are ok to drive you are ok to nurse" comments.
Here in Canada, after 1 drink you are legally impaired and can be ticketed with a DUI. Just wanted to point that out.
My husband installs interlock devices, and has seen a lot of "I only had one drink" stories, and even if you go out drinking the night before, and "sleep it off" since your body is at rest, so is your liver, so you dont break down the alcohol as quickly, and some people have blown over after not having a drink for 8 hours. Its all circumstances, what your doing, how much you have had, your metabolism. I dont see a problem having a glass of wine, partly because many health officials even claim a glass of red wine a day is better than a glass of orange juice for your heart and cancer preventatives. Just dont mix up your guildelines. After 1 drink, you are NOT ok to drive, by law. (In BC anyway)

CHRISTIE - posted on 06/23/2011

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Ask your doctor , but I was told that it was ok to have a glass of wine but you need to wait 2 hours after your drink to breastfeed again. If your little one is on a schedule this will be easier.

Tyrae - posted on 06/22/2011

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I drink after I put my daughter down to bed. She doesn't eat at night anymore (hasn't for the last couple weeks! YAY) so once she's down for the night I'm good till the next morning.

Lucy - posted on 06/22/2011

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A friend who is a breastfeeding specialist tells me alcohol leaves your body very quickly, so while it is dangerous to drink it while pregnant, it isn't really a problem when breastfeeding - just have your glass of wine shortly after feeding, and by the time you feed again it will already have left your system.

Tanya - posted on 06/21/2011

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one glass leaves your milk at the same rate it leaves your bloodstream, so typically 1 hour per glass. I usually will have a (very rare) drink immediately after a feeding, that way I have 2 hours to enjoy my drink and let it leave my body. However, I have left many half drinks behind if I think the baby is starting to fuss and may be hungry soon. you definitely don;t have to pump though, unless it's uncomfortable for you, even if you do give the baby previously expressed milk, you can just wait it out. alcohol will def be gone by the next feeding. i waited it out even after going to a wine expo (though i didn't feed till morning).

Tosha - posted on 06/20/2011

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I never pumped and dumped, I just made sure I didn't drink enough to get more than a little buzz in the first place, then didn't feed until the effects were totally worn off.

Andrea - posted on 06/20/2011

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I would have an occasional glass of wine. I just made sure I fed baby right before and I didn't do it until they were older....like at least 4-6 months. I wouldn't feed them if I was feeling the effects of it, but if I did not feel it and it had been at least 2-3 hours, I didn't worry about it.

Mommy - posted on 06/20/2011

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You cna buy test strips from the pharmacy. You pump some milk, dip the strip in, and then it tells you if it is safe for baby to drink. Hope this helps.

Candace - posted on 06/20/2011

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I don't think pumping and dumping helps eliminate the alcohol from the breastmilk. It stays in the breastmilk like it stays in the bloodstream and takes about 2 hours to be processed. I would have a drink with supper when we went out. I fed my son before we ate which meant I had about four hours until he would nurse again. I never pumped and dumped. Maybe if you were having a few drinks, then you may want to pump and dump just so that you aren't engorged and uncomfortable. Make sure you have some supply stored to use. And those testing strips that some poeople have mentioned here are pretty handy. I used them a few time and never tested unsafe but it is piece of mind.

Kari - posted on 06/18/2011

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I was told for every drink you have wait 3 hours. I have 3 kids and always stuck by that rule. I only drink once and awhile, and when I do it is one drink. Hope that is of some help.

Anna Marie - posted on 06/18/2011

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Definitely enjoy and don't worry about having a drink or perhaps 2 and nursing little one. A happy mama is a better mama and if an occasional glass of wine helps make you happy, then enjoy :) as mentioned, if you are ok to drive, you are ok to nurse.

Lindsay - posted on 06/18/2011

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Just want to clarify on Lisas comment. The math is a bit fuzzy. If you had lets say two glasses of wine in an hour you might hit the legal limit to drive of .08% BAC which is then what your breast milk would be. A far cry from 2%. So ladies enjoy your beer or wine, we have plenty of other mommy things to feel guilty about!

Laura - posted on 06/18/2011

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i feed my son first then have one drink, the alcohol metabolizes in your milk just like your blood. no need to pump and dump!

Melissa - posted on 06/18/2011

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I drink while breastfeeding. Unless you are getting totally wasted, there is no need to pump and dump. Alcohol disappears from your BM at the same rate it disappears from your blood. So if you are fine to take care of your LO, you're fine to BF him.

Nicole - posted on 06/17/2011

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I love the KellyMom BF resource page. I've used it often in the past. I'm not a huge drinker but I like the occasional social drink. I've felt fine having a drink every now and then once my babies were 5+months old. And even then I'd try to time a drink for just after I nursed. It didn't always work out but the kids seemed to do ok. Except for wine with my daughter. One glass and she'd be up (even if she nursed much later) but I had a bunch of diet issues and nursing with her.

Anna - posted on 06/17/2011

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I'll allow myself 1 drink without fear, occasionally 2 in one day if they're spaced out throughout the afternoon/evening. I don't think I would be comfortable with more then that anyway just because my kids are always with me, and they don't need to think of mommy as always having drinks around.

Dora - posted on 06/17/2011

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Every individual is different when it comes to alcohol and breast feeding. There is no set time. Alcohol metabolizes out of your breast milk as it does out of your system. If you have a drink make sure you don't feel any affects from it at all and if it makes you feel better wait an additional 1-2hrs. I did what you did because I didn't want to take any chances, so I pumped and dumped the entire night and gave my baby previously pumped milk. They say it isn't necessary to do that but I did what made me comfortable. I will do the same with cutie pie#2 if I have a glass of wine.

Heidi - posted on 06/16/2011

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I drink beer while breastfeeding without fear. If I do I try and nurse while drinking because I know it's not a direct link and by the next feeding 4 hours later I'm thinking it's out of my system. Plus for every drink I drink water in between. Read that somewhere!

Shannon - posted on 06/16/2011

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I nursed both my kids for 2 years each... and the occasional glass of wine never hurt them.. it was actually recommended by my lactation consultant at one point with my daughter because I was so tense and wasn't having decent let downs... one glass of wine, and VIOLA... I suddenly had enough flowing to feed her and pump 6 oz! I'm not saying to drink a glass every day... but it sure helped me to have one at least once a week with dinner...

Destiny - posted on 06/16/2011

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I like to enjoy a Smirnoff Ice every once in a while, It has never effected my girls and the percentage of actual alcohol is so low that she gets the same if I take a dose of cough syrup so go for it but be safe!

Jessica - posted on 06/16/2011

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Thanks, I am not going to debate whether having the occassional drink is morally wrong or not, I would not in anyway ever in danger my child's health and am highly offended at the implication. I obviously from my first post have taken precautions to ensure my son gets absolutely no alcohol. Also he doesn't rely solely on my breast because he gets pumped breast milk and he gets some formula as well (one bottle a day).



He is doing awesome as far as weight, and is quite the little piggy, he sleeps fine not really sleeping through the night yet but at this age I don't expect him to.

Leandra - posted on 06/16/2011

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I personally don't do it, but my sister & sister in law have. They follow the pump and dump. If they drink, then 2 hours later they pump and dump that milk,according to the link, this would not matter, I think you should defiantly look at your child's age and weight, I would say if he/she already has a low weight, sleeping issues, etc (as mentioned in the link) I would stay away from the alcohol.

Shannon - posted on 06/16/2011

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i would wait to drink until AFTER im done breastfeeding my baby and when shes drinking something else and not depending on my breast for food. im very careful i would never risk my babies health by drinking.

Claire - posted on 06/15/2011

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You can also buy test strips at drug stores or Babies R Us that allow you to test your milk to see if your milk is safe.

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