Do you drink when breastfeeding?

~♥Little Miss - posted on 05/06/2010 ( 73 moms have responded )

18,914

9

3002

What have you been told not to eat when you are breastfeeding? Are there certain foods to avoid to limit gas, and allergies in babies? Do you drink alcohol? I would love to hear everyones opinion...even those loved old wives tales!!! I am breastfeeding my 3 week old and am curious of your input!!! Thank you!

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Jessica - posted on 05/06/2010

986

20

64

There aren't actually as many limitations as far as food/drink while BFing as many people seem to think there are. I was told by the lactation consultant in the hospital (and read many places) that the equivalent of a beer or glass of wine is fine. I pretty much drank a beer or wine with dinner or in the evening almost every day and obviously, no ill effects to my son. On the occasions where I'd go out and drink more than that, I just made sure to have enough pumped milk to feed him until I was ok again. General rule of thumb is if you're ok to drive then you're ok to feed your baby. Obviously you have to do what you're comfortable with and if you aren't comfortable having a drink and feeding your baby then don't do it :) I tend to go along with moderation is key for just about everything though.

As far as food... there's no reason to avoid spicy or strongly flavored foods- unless you notice your baby seems sensitive to them after you've eaten them! Same with caffeine.

Cassie - posted on 05/12/2010

1,667

22

182

It's amazing to read so many misconceptions and bad information about breastfeeding that will only push mothers who may consider breastfeeding but also want to have some sort of social life away.

1. You CAN have a drink or two while breastfeeding.
2. A dark beer WILL increase your milk production if it is low.
3. Breastmilk metabolizes alcohol just like your blood so it will leave your milk just like it leaves your bloodstream.
4. There is NO NEED to pump and dump. That is an old wives tale and a waste of perfectly good breastmilk.

Here are some things to remember if you are going to have an alcoholic beverage while breastfeeding.
1. Alcohol is metabolized in breastmilk just like it is in your bloodstream so it is perfectly safe to have approximately 1 drink per hour while breastfeeding.
2. If you plan to have a drink or two, try to plan it around feedings so that you breastfeed, have a drink, then wait at least 1 hour before you breastfeed again. If you have two drinks, you need to wait two hours to breastfeed, etc.
3. Pumping and dumping does not remove alcohol from your breastmilk, it is just throwing away good breastmilk. Even if you pump and dump, if you are doing so within one hour of a drink, your new milk will still contain some alcohol just as your blood does. Cutting yourself and bleeding doesn't remove alcohol from your blood stream and you would be looked at funny for doing that. It is the same with pumping and dumping your breastmilk. It just needs an hour per drink to be metabolized out of your milk.

Sarah - posted on 05/08/2010

629

0

83

Apparently the flavour of breastmilk changes according to what the mother has eaten, so spicy and strong flavoured foods do affect the milk. I actually think this is a good thing as it prepares the baby for trying out new flavours when they go onto solids.

Cassie - posted on 05/08/2010

1,667

22

182

Lisa, (and anyone else who is wondering)

Alcohol is metabolized in your breastmilk just as it is in your blood. It is safe to breastfeed your baby one hour after you've had a drink. If you do not feel the effects of alcohol, you are safe to breastfeed your child. It is perfectly safe to have a drink or two after you put your baby to bed, especially if they are sleeping through the night!! The alcohol is out of your blood and out of your milk by morning.

Bobbie - posted on 05/07/2010

29

35

2

Sorry Jodi I guess I do get a bit mad and defensive about the whole drinking issue. I have seen a few babies born to alcoholic moms and it isn't pretty. I deal with alot of alcoholics on my hubby's side of the family as well and it rubs me the wrong way. My issue isn't with the moms who have the one on occasion but to the ones that have them all the time (nightly/weekly) and more then just one. I have seen many around me who say oh I am going to enjoy just this one drink then the one drink turns into a six pack/whole bottle! Now this mom is going to try and care for her baby and feed the baby as well, yikes! If a mom can stop at one that is awsome, but one does turn to two or more on many occasions. That is why I am on the side of never drinking while expecting or nursing. Being around many alcoholics as what I am makes one a bit grumpy, sorry again.

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

73 Comments

View replies by

[deleted account]

I have never watched what i ate while pregnant. I ate deli meats and soft cheese but only in smaller amounts.
During BF i will do the same. And yes, if i choose then i will have an alcoholic beverage. I will not get sloshed/drunk but if i feel like 1 then i may just have 1.
The whole thing on what you eat when you BF i don't get every baby has different tastes so eat what you want, Its all about trial and error. Somethings baby may love and others it might not like so much.
With both my previous children i never excluded anything while BF and they are 2 of the best eaters. We have no allergies and not many food sthat they don't like.

Shalah - posted on 06/26/2010

59

7

3

One more thing: A good microbrew beer is full of hops, which are excellent for encouraging milk production. It also contains a lot of B vitamins, which relax you and balance your brain chemistry in a healthy way!

Shalah - posted on 06/26/2010

59

7

3

Ah, the "what not to eat when you're breastfeeding" question! I'm sure you'll get a lot of varied opinions on this but here's my take. I have breastfed five babies, and the things to avoid most as far as gas and indigestion are pretty obvious, broccolli, onions, garlic, peppers of any kind, cucumbers, and spicy food. Of course, each baby is different, and you will just have to try it and see what bothers them. I don't believe you can give your baby allergies based on your diet. Breastfeeding should actually help to keep your baby from having allergies! As far as alcohol, it will be in your milk in the same concentration as it is in your bloodstream, so a little is probably fine. But drinking several drinks could get the baby drunk, even faster than you! When I was breastfeeding, if I wanted to go out and drink, I would pump my milk ahead of time so the babe could be fed non-alcoholic milk, then I expressed the milk my body made while I was intoxicated and not feed it to the baby. Usually by morning, as long as you aren't being a complete lush, your bac will be back down low enough not to effect the baby, and you can nurse again. The best way to store the expressed milk for bottle feeding is in ice cubes. Pump enough for as many feedings as you will need, freeze them in ice cube trays, and then they can be defrosted in the bottle in a pot of hot water. Of course, the easiest thing to do is just not have more than 2 drinks in a night, and drink slowly so a drink takes you 1-2 hours to finish. That way there won't be a high concentration in your milk.
Good luck!
-Shalah

Kerri - posted on 06/26/2010

71

19

0

I eat whatever I like and yes I do occasionally drink the odd glass of wine is fine anything more then I would be cautious on feeding and would never have more than two.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 06/25/2010

18,914

9

3002

Ok, to make it PERFECTLY CLEAR to all reading and responding...I was NOT asking about drinking WHILE PREGGO...I was asking about drinking WHILE BREASTFEEDING! I did NOT drink while preggo, I just wanted to hear what everyones thoughts were about having an occassional beer when bf. It Metabolizes very quickly, and I was just curious of peoples views. Thank you for all that actually responded accordingly.

Danielle - posted on 06/25/2010

915

38

38

I didn't breast feed, my close friend did though and she limited herself to one drink while she was breastfeeding.



As for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder/fetal alcohol syndrome, I did a very detailed paper for my DSW course on that very subject and no safe level of alcohol during pregnancy has ever been determined. Which is why it is recommended pregnant women avoid alcohol ENTIRELY during pregnancy.

Keri - posted on 06/24/2010

177

7

8

Fetal alcohol syndrome is not caused by a glass of wine once in a rare while while pregnant. FAS is caused an excess of alcohol while pregnant. I am talking getting drunk 3 to 5 times a week. A glass of champagne on New Years a beer or two for a celebration is not going to do irreparable harm to the fetus.

Afifah - posted on 06/17/2010

9

20

0

Drink only water, milk and fruit juice... you want the best food for your child...

Inas - posted on 06/17/2010

4

8

0

yes u should take care of ur food type ,u should avoid some food like beans ,eggs and other different types to limit gas

Nicole - posted on 05/12/2010

1

18

0

As for foods, every baby is different. My son was gassy when I had milk product, my daughter wasnt affected at all. Its a testing thing...

You can drink when nursing... HOWEVER you should let your body digest the alcohol first... My pediatrician said that its normal/fine to have a beer or wine on occasion but with every glass/beer that I have to wait 2 hours after consumption before I nurse to give time for my liver to digest the alcohol. I always waiting an extra hour... also BEER is yeasty and will help with Milk production(Told from My OB and Ped Dr and a Lacation Consultant) So as they told me if I felt like I was losing my milk(because with my first I had a hard time keeping up production) to go ahead and drink a beer with dinner and that it should help. (The FenuGreek pills always made me sick to my stomach)

Just another opinion to add...

Heather - posted on 05/12/2010

368

21

41

There are enough opinions on here about alcohol, so I just wanted to share something interesting my lactation consultant told me. She said that garlic (one of the "no" foods), actually makes your ,milk taste sweet to babies, so usually they love it. Not all flavors translate directly in breastmilk. Something to ponder.

Lindsay - posted on 05/12/2010

357

1

24

I was told if you can't have it well pregnant, you can't have it when nursing. So no alcohol, artificial sweetners, caffeine, limited deli meat-hot dogs-fish ( due to the nitrates and mercury). I do however know a few who had the occassional glass of wine and they did the pump and dump so the baby never got that milk. But you can't pump and dump every time you eat the other things. Just be carefull!



They come out pure and it is nice to keep there little bodies away from this stuff as long as possible!

Beth - posted on 05/11/2010

3

9

0

Hell no you don't drink when you are breast feeding what goes in your mouth goes into theirs through your breast.

Celia - posted on 05/11/2010

3

8

0

Alcohol is worse than drugs in utero (I'm raising two adopted sons with many challenges due to both). Thirty years ago they didn't think things could be passed on thru the milk, but even then research was proving that wrong. Old LaLeche League bks tell moms to relax before nursing with a glass of wine or beer. Now we know that does affect the nursing child. My first had terrible colic and I dutifully drank milk which I hated. When I quit the dairy, he greatly improved.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 05/11/2010

18,914

9

3002

Thanks everyone for all of your comments...I enjoyed a beer on Mother's day, I deserved it. Good thing my little one napped for 4 hours before needed any boobie! I do not see any issues with having a beer or wine occassionally. Jenny, it does not take 6-8 hours to metabolize one drink...but all of you have good opinions on the matter.

[deleted account]

I eat what I want and haven't had any problems feeding and my daughter (1 month) hasn't had any adverse reactions. I drink alcohol as well, I just dont nurse after I drink and I limit what I drink to beer/wine and I only have a glass or two (mild drinks, no tequilla/vodka here!). After I drink I pump my boobs totally empty and throw that milk out and give her previously pumped milk from the freezer to give me time to make more milk. Its easy to haave a normal life even if you breastfeed, just always plan ahead.

Carol - posted on 05/11/2010

16

21

1

Oh one more thing, my Grandma told me to make up a solution of 1/2 t. of Alum and 1/2 cup of water then using a cotton ball to dab the nipples BEFORE the baby comes, it "pickles" the nipples and toughens them up so they don't bleed and crack. She told me about this when my #1 baby was a few days old and my left nipple was cracked and bleeding. So on Grandma's advice I took her off the breast for 24 hours and used this solution and within 24 hours it was better enough the baby wasn't getting blood while nursing and I was able to handle nursing. I have told my daughters and daughter-in-law this and found it helped each one of them, myoldest daughter decided thaqt doctors knew best and so she tried their solution and THEN she tried Grandma's solution. Much better results. BTW Alum is a spice used to make pickles.

Rebecca - posted on 05/11/2010

259

39

22

uhm..my dr told me if i wanted to bf then to avoid peanuts and fish for the first couple months..other than that..you could eat anything you wanted and drink anything that isn't caffiene or alcohol related. Definately don't drink alcohol. you don't want a drunk baby onyour hands..or even think about putting that chemical in your breasts..because everything you eat and drink, a small amount of it turns into milk..see how that works?

Jenny - posted on 05/11/2010

7

6

0

As far as alcohol, one serving is fine once in a while, it won't affect your baby. In fact I was told that drinking a beer may help with let down. Remember though if you go out and drink more, pumping and dumping doesn't work. However long it takes your body to fully metabolize alcohol is how long the alcohol is in your milk, 6-8 hours on average.

Carol - posted on 05/11/2010

16

21

1

I was told that beer makes lots of milk. I found out that beer and I don't mix. It comes faster than it goes down! So that didn't work for me, but then I was told a wine cooler would do the same thing that it is the relaxation caused from the alcohol that lets the milk down better. One might be ok, I wouldn't do more than that. I would think that the alcohol in moderate amounts is probably filtered pretty good by the time the baby gets it. I know I avoided onions, and have a niece who avoids chocolate we found that those two foods cause gas. Pretty much any food that causes gas in adults will cause it in baby. That has been my experience any way.

Carolyn - posted on 05/11/2010

3

7

0

Not sure if anyone touched on this as I browsed through the thread, but I was also told that if you are going to be drinking while you are breastfeeding, you should 'pump and dump' the milk produced while you were drinking as the alcohol in your breast milk won't metabolize. I did it twice while nursing my son and realized pretty quickly that dumping all that milk the next morning just made the drinks not worth it:) I did also discover however that a beer or two DEFINATELY seemed to increase milk production - This was also no fun as I was caught without a pump and the most painfully ENGORGED breasts I have EVER experienced! I just decided that as long as I was nursing, the drinks would just have to wait!

Elmarie - posted on 05/11/2010

25

33

1

I had a glass of red wine now and again and did no harm. I could never drink coffee as I think it gave her a bit of a cafeine rush lol. and no cucumber as that caused alot of cramps

Jodi - posted on 05/11/2010

26,169

36

3891

Carol, thank you for that information. That explains why the special care nurses at the hospital encouraged me to order a glass of wine with my dinner when I was in the hospital....I was usually feeding just before dinner, and then due to go back to the nursery to feed 4 hours after the pre-dinner feed.

Johnny - posted on 05/10/2010

8,686

26

318

From kellymom:

" 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.

Julia - posted on 05/10/2010

174

19

7

Every baby is different when breastfeeding, some can handle spicy foods while others can't. I would never drink while breastfeeding as it can be passed through to the baby.

Dana - posted on 05/10/2010

1

30

0

Although I totally disagree with drinking while pregnant, to each her own! If I felt that I had to drink then I would have stopped nursing my son. Minimal amount or not, I prefered not to take the chance of passing anything such as alcohol to my baby. I ate hot wings once and my son didn't want to nurse. I felt so badly that I never ate them again until I was totally done nursing him. But once again, to each her own. Other than the hot wings, I tried to eat and drink as healthy as possible.

Frances - posted on 05/09/2010

6

0

0

First, I recommend that you speak to your doctor. Second, drinking alcohol when pregnant often leads to fetal alcohol syndrome. It is my educated guess that alcohol in the mother's breast milk is not a good idea either. There is plenty of time to enjoy a social drink after you have weaned that most precious creation that you brought into the world. Enjoy the baby and the bond that forms as you breast feed. Happy Mother's Day!

Racheal - posted on 05/09/2010

2

62

0

The only issue I found was coffee the caffeine made my daughter very hyper however I gave up coffee along with the smokes when I was pregnant and had drank decaf so it was new in my system!! I will also have the occasional drink and feed I just drink the same amount if I was driving and I stretch my wine out with soda water so I can drink most of the night to be social but still feed my daughter :)

Brenda - posted on 05/09/2010

2

24

0

The foods I was told and found that made gas worse were, broccoli which I love, beans, orange juice, anything spicey. When I was nursing I had to drink either a can of beer or a glass of wine 3x;s a week to help enrich my milk and blood and that was per doctors orders.. and ofcourse that helped with them sleeping through the night lol.. They are strong and healthy and it did not effect them one bit.

Annie - posted on 05/08/2010

1

18

0

There isn't any reason to avoid certain foods in particualr while breastfeeding! In fact, unless you are allergic to something, it may be better to eat a wide range of different kinds of foods to help a babies palat in the future! I read this in a parenting magazine and do agree. There have never been so many food allergies as there are today, and that is mostly because everyone is so afraid of them that they avoid them all together, thus actually increasing the chances of a child developing an allergy! I would say to eat as if you were feeding a baby whole foods! You would want to try something for a few days to see how the baby reacts, and then move on to other things! Also think about this; diets in other countries consist of very bold flavors and spices, and those mothers breastfeed and their children are fine...think of the garlic and curries in Indian cuisine, and Chinese cuisine, African cuisine, all these cultures use bold, exotic flavors and spices and I don't think they drastically change their diet while breastfeeding!

Keri - posted on 05/08/2010

177

7

8

I didn't restrict my eating while breast feeding. Both my younger two gave me a little bit of difficulty after eating onions the first time, but only once or twice. I have had a beer here or a glass of wine there, but not enough to get myself drunk. I also don't really limit my caffeine intake. Unless you have severe allergies, there really isn't any reason to limit what foods you eat.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 05/08/2010

18,914

9

3002

I definately have heard that what you eat can alter the taste of your breastmilk...but yeah who was the brave one to test that theory??? LOL...it is such an interesting debate about the alcohol filtering through...I mean I was on Perks for a short period of of time, and I would thnik that had more of an effect on my baby than 1 beer would. I know that most things will dump right into the breast milk, but am interested in everyones thoughts on the matter. What about more old wives tales? Anyone have some doozies?

Kim - posted on 05/08/2010

54

24

7

My doctor has told me that having the odd drink will not affect the baby in any way, as long as your not sucking them back and getting intoxicated. I have had an occasional glass of wine or wine cooler with both of my children while breastfeeding.

Cassie - posted on 05/08/2010

1,667

22

182

Andria, alcohol does leave your breastmilk as it leaves your blood stream, I agree. So why would a mother need to pump enough breastmilk to get her baby fed through the next day?? The alcohol would be out of her system long before that. There should really be no way a mother would drink enough for the alcohol to remain in her bloodstream and breastmilk until the next afternoon.

Andria - posted on 05/08/2010

1

1

0

If your going to drink alcohol when your breast feeding, you need to pump at least enough milk for that night, and enough to get you into at least the late afternoon. The amount of alcohol in your breast milk is similar to a blood alcohol level, so if you could confidently pass a breathalyzer, you would be ok to feed. If your going out and may get drunk, then you should leave your babysitter enough pumped breast milk for your baby for the night, and to get the baby until at least about suppertime the next day to ensure it is out of your system.

Cassie - posted on 05/08/2010

1,667

22

182

This is one of those issues that can inadvertently push moms away from breastfeeding all due to bad information. Being a breastfeeding mother doesn't mean that you can't have that occasional drink with dinner or friends. So many times, uninformed or misinformed people will make a mother feel guilty for that drink when it's not necessary at all!

I agree though Dana, after pregnancy and several months post-birth of not having alcohol, when I did have that first drink, I was quite tipsy after just one! :P While it is safe to have a drink while breastfeeding, there is no need to go out and get sloshed.

Dana - posted on 05/08/2010

11,264

35

489

Great advice Cassie. I should have said that earlier. I didn't have a drink while breastfeeding until my son slept through the night, that way I didn't have to worry...and of course I only had one or two drinks. I'm tiny and I don't drink much so one drink will do it for me. hehe
And who wants to be so incapacitated that you can't take care of your child properly if something goes wrong regardless if they need to breastfeed or not.

*Lisa* - posted on 05/08/2010

1,858

12

174

When I read the title of your thread I did a double-take. I first read it as meaning do you drink your breast milk... eek! That is what happens to your brain in the wee hours of the morning. Yes, I have also heard that strong flavours pass through your breastmilk (although I am very curious as to how they know that... who tested it?? hmmm). And I don't drink, but my friend does but only a glass of wine at night. Her baby sleeps through so she thinks that by morning it will have passed through. I'm not sure how much truth is in that.

Emily - posted on 05/08/2010

2,233

8

295

I think it's fair to say most breastfeeding moms are not alcoholics, so it's generally not a problem to have one or two drinks. Of course if you know you have a problem and can't stop at one drink, don't do it! That's just common sense, breastfeeding or not.

Jodi - posted on 05/07/2010

26,169

36

3891

I'm not saying to is rude to answer the OP here and give you opinion, because she was asking for opinions. But you did say "I always ask mums....". So you weren't just referring to this question. My apologies if you aren't always telling breastfeeding mothers this, only those who ask your opinion. if they ask an opinion, by all means give it.

You are absolutely right, going a year without a drink never hurt anyone. But having a glass of wine with dinner never hurt anyone either, including a breastfeeding baby :) There is no evidence to suggest that it does and plenty of professionals who actually approve it wholeheartedly.

Why would I think you were being rude again? Because you are now insinuating that anyone who drinks while they breastfeed must also be an alcoholic?

Bobbie - posted on 05/07/2010

29

35

2

Quoting Bobbie:

" I always ask moms who drink then breastfeed if they would put wine/beer in the baby's bottle? Most say no, then why drink and breastfeed? Same difference!"



That's kind of a little rude of you, going around and giving breastfeeding mothers your unsolicited opinion.

Hum when a question is asked one would think the one asking the question is looking to find moms to answer it. Giving their opinions on the question asked. Not every one will agree with all the answers. I don't find it rude at all. Going a year with out a drink has never hurt any one beside an alcoholic perhaps. Oh sorry being to rude again?

Jodi - posted on 05/07/2010

26,169

36

3891

Quoting Bobbie:

" I always ask moms who drink then breastfeed if they would put wine/beer in the baby's bottle? Most say no, then why drink and breastfeed? Same difference!"



That's kind of a little rude of you, going around and giving breastfeeding mothers your unsolicited opinion.

Donna - posted on 05/07/2010

8

24

1

you know my dr out rightley told me to have any where fron on to three beers a day because there is some thing in it that will thinken up your brest milk so i dont see nothing wrong with it

Johnny - posted on 05/07/2010

8,686

26

318

I ate a healthy diet of the foods that I felt like eating. I enjoy spicy food and garlic, so that is what I ate. My daughter now loves both. The only reason to moderate the mother's diet while breastfeeding is if the baby does show signs of having a particular sensitivity to a specific food or food type (like wheat or dairy). The healthy diet was more for my benefit though, to keep me strong. Mom's who are practically malnourished can still provide sufficient & nutritious breast milk to their children, it just puts greater strain on the mother's body.

I often had one beer in the evening while breastfeeding. I checked with my midwife, my doctor and did plenty of research and had no concerns about it at all. Here is a link to common breastfeeding myths debunked:

http://www.drjacknewman.com/help/Breastf...

Jessica - posted on 05/07/2010

986

20

64

"PS: Think about how alcohol affects you..... now times that by 20 and that is the effect that you will give to the baby.... if that makes sense. Same with every substance you use."

Uh, no. Your body is actually pretty good about filtering out a lot of stuff, like alcohol- which is why if a mom drinks a small amount, her baby will be fine. Not "drunk." I don't know about anyone else, but I don't get drunk from a beer or one glass of wine anyway...

Emily - posted on 05/07/2010

2,233

8

295

Bobbie, it's not the same difference. One or two drinks while breastfeeding is still healthier for your baby than drinking formula. Only a miniscule amount of alcohol passes through the breastmilk. Same as with medications.. with most medications, only a very tiny percentage of it gets into the milk, which is why many medications are safe to use while breastfeeding.

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms