Can You Drink Alcohol While Breastfeeding?
By Wendy Colson RN, IBCLC, RLC
The holidays are fast approaching and even moms who only drink occasionally find themselves surrounded by festive cocktails, beer, and wine and become puzzled how to answer their friends and family who ask them, “Can I get you a drink?”
“You do not have to "pump and dump" (a terrible expression) afterwards and you don't have to wait a certain time after your more recent drink in order to restart breastfeeding. The amount of alcohol that gets into the milk is tiny and will not hurt the baby.” says world-renowned lactation leader, Dr. Jack Newman. In fact, our leading researchers, such as Dr. Thomas Hale, Ph. D and even the Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) give moms their blessing if they want to partake in a cocktail while breastfeeding, That’s because they have found the amount of alcohol which reaches breastmilk to be so minuscule (hundredths of a percent, i.e. 0.01-0.06).
5 Easy Rules for Breastfeeding While Consuming Alcohol to Make it Less Confining.
If you feel safe to drive, then breastfeed as usual. This applies to exclusive pumpers also.
Feeling tipsy and baby is content? Just wait until you feel like yourself again and breastfeed as usual. Rationale: Since pumping does not speed the removal of milk alcohol levels, it’s not necessary for “just tipsy”.
Feel unsafe to drive? No worries or judgement here… but appoint a designated caregiver for baby the same way you would designate a driver. Rationale: Your mental status, natural reflexes and coordination are impaired. Increasing your risk for accidents while holding baby. The only regret I want you to have is a possible headache the next morning.
Protect your milk supply! While pumping and dumping is outdated thinking since milk isn’t “trapped”, it can be very helpful to assure you don’t accidentally drop your milk supply from fuller/engorged breasts caused from extended baby separation. If you feel safe to drive while pumping, then save your milk to use later. Rationale: Fuller breast trigger a Feedback Inhibitor of Lactation (FIL), pronounced Phil. When FIL sets in he slows down milk production and it’s not easy to reverse in sensitive milk-making moms. Fuller breast also decrease prolactin receptors, the hormone responsible for making milk. If this happens, try BOOBIE* Bars
Eat, Eat, Eat! Hit that dip bowl again mama and never drink on an empty stomach. Rationale: An alcoholic drink consumed with food decreases absorption allowing you to hopefully prevent you ever feeling unsafe to drive.
By Wendy Colson RN, IBCLC, RLC
Wendy Colson, a registered nurse (RN) and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), is the Founder and CEO of Boobie* Superfoods. Throughout her career, Wendy has dedicated her time to helping other women conquer motherhood with ease. She helped thousands of mothers breastfeed their babies or receive their mother’s pumped milk during hospitalization. In addition, she has successfully developed a line of innovative, solution-based supplements & products for each stage of motherhood including pregnancy, lactation, and raising a family. Wendy currently lives in sunny San Diego with her 3 daughters and husband. She spends her leisure time devouring chips and salsa and planning new ways to overcome the challenges of motherhood.