There is no need to pump and dump, as long as you don’t plan to feed your baby within three hours of your last drink, you are fine to breastfeed. If your baby will need some milk while you are drinking, or soon after, it’s best to pump ahead of time so they have clean milk to give your baby in a bottle while you wait for the alcohol levels to drop from your blood.
Special occasions like birthdays, Christmas’, graduations and family gatherings all mean fun and entertainment. They can also mean alcohol.
As a breastfeeding mom you know it’s best for your baby to stay away from alcohol since alcohol seeps into mother’s milk and can result in various risks to your little one.
How far does that go through?
There are some rules you can follow to drink safely when you are a breastfeeding mom. When you take precautions during those times you are planning to drink alcohol, everything will work out well for everyone.
Let’s begin with the fundamentals of physiology. When drinking alcohol it’s absorbed into the bloodstream. Whatever concentration of alcohol is in a woman’s bloodstream, that will also be the same concentration as the breastmilk. For instance, when the alcohol concentration in your blood is 0.09 per cent, the milk concentration is about 0.09 per cent as well.
Those levels will last approximately 30 to 45 minutes after drinking. Instead of disposing of your milk, all you need to do is patiently wait until you have sobered up and your body has processed that alcohol. Once again your breast milk will be alcohol-free.
How long do you wait after drinking alcohol to breastfeed?
According to professionals, it is not suitable to breastfeed your little one when you are currently drinking or right after you are drinking. If a mother plans to drink alcohol, she must wait at least three to four hours after the last drink before breastfeeding her baby.
Is it safe to have a sip of wine when breastfeeding?
Many mothers, especially first-time moms would like to know if they can have a glass of wine at the same time breastfeeding. The best advice is that while it is safe to have up to one standard drink a day, it is still best to wait two hours before breastfeeding, as there may be side effects taking place that you don’t know about. A baby is unable to communicate the details of any discomfort or disorientation they may be experiencing and while there might not be any researched links to problems in later development, you also can’t rule out that problems may arise.
How much alcohol is present in breastmilk?
The amount of alcohol transmitted into mother’s milk is normally low. To determine how much alcohol is in your milk, go with whatever your blood alcohol reading is. Just be aware that your baby will have no tolerance for alcohol, so even a small amount may result in visible side effects.
If I “pump and dump” can I drink more alcohol?
No, pumping and dumping do not get rid of the alcohol in your body. As long as there alcohol in your bloodstream, it will also be present in your breastmilk. That means that you cannot simply pump the milk out affected by alcohol and have fresh milk for your little one while you are still under the influence. A mother’s milk and the bloodstream continues to be saturated with alcohol until the body has fully metabolized it.
What should a mom do if she drinks too much?
If your baby is hungry for milk before your three-hour wait is up, you’ll need to feed with formula or breastmilk that has been pumped prior to drinking. If your baby is still under three months old when your baby feeds, or just after you should pump and dump to encourage your breast milk supply. If you plan on drinking it is best to pump milk beforehand so your baby has something to soothe them if they are hungry.
For toddlers or older baby, a mother can normally skip a breastfeeding session. Older babies can typically go about five hours without breastfeeding for over four months.
Prevention tips to minimize risk
We cannot deny the fact that alcohol affects us in several ways. Even a small amount of alcohol can have the effect of slowing reflexes, offsetting our balance and being harder to wake. These things and more that are connected to the effects of alcohol can impair our ability to care for our child.
Here are some prevention tips to keep your baby safe:
- When drinking, designate a relative or a caregiver who can help escort you home safely.
- If possible, have someone with you to keep an eye on things.
- When under the influence of alcohol don’t sleep in the same bed as your child, even if you normally do so. You will have a reduced awareness so will not be as alert to where the child is in the bed or if the child is under distress. There have been tragic cases of infants being squashed and killed by a mother sleeping off alcohol.
A moderate and occasional drink is okay. You can actually have a sip while you are nursing, just make sure you leave plenty of time to metabolize alcohol before breastfeeding again.
“Pump and dump” is not on the list of priorities as your body will process the alcohol in your milk supply in due time. The only exception is if you are a new nursing mother, in which case you will need to pump and dump whenever your baby has a bottle, in order to signal to your body to make more milk. Failing to do this in the first months of feeding can reduce your milk supply.