4 Important things to know about alcohol and breastfeeding

4 Important things to know about alcohol and breastfeeding

Learn everything you need to know about alcohol and how it affects your breastmilk! More here!

For moms who like to kickback after a long, busy day with a nice glass of wine, being pregnant was probably very difficult. After nine long months of pregnancy, however, you're now free to enjoy your libation of choice, right? Well...yes and no.

After the pregnancy comes breastfeeding, and as many of you know, drinking can affect and compromise a mother's breastmilk. It's actually a common belief that if you drink while breastfeeding, you'll have to "pump and dump" your milk. This, however, is a common misconception.

Before continuing, let's be clear: drinking excessively while breastfeeding can and will compromise your breastmilk and your baby's health. Furthermore, we're not condoning excessive drinking in any capacity. What we're simply saying is that in moderation and attention to detail moms can in fact enjoy the occasional beverage.

alcohol story

Check out these 4 important things all moms should know about alcohol and how it affects breastfeeding:

1. Moderation is key

Once again we see the key word "moderation". It's possible for a nursing mother to have a glass of wine, or a cocktail. It's absolutely imperative that nursing mothers never drink in excess. When you're nursing your infant, you need to keep in mind that he depends solely on you for nourishment. Drinking in excess can do more than leave you with a wicked hangover, it can directly affect your newborn's nutrients and your newborn himself. Drinking in moderation won't do any harm, though. Typically, a nursing mother should have only a single drink once or twice a week.


Learn more of the important facts every mom should know about alcohol and breastmilk. Click next for more!

2. Drinking can disrupt a baby's sleep/hunger

Studies have been conducted and claim that drinking affects a baby's sleep and hunger. In one study, babies who consumed their mother's milk after she had consumed 4oz of alcohol consumed 20% less milk than other babies. In addition, another study analyzed babies' sleep patterns after a mother had consumed a safe and recommended amount of alcohol. What these studies found is that babies who are breastfed by mothers who have consumed 4oz of alcohol are prone to falling asleep faster, however, they also sleep for shorter periods of time.

4 Important things to know about alcohol and breastfeeding

3. Your baby drinks everything you drink

As mentioned earlier, drinking can directly affect your baby's nourishment. This is because whatever you drink will metabolize in your bloodstream and be passed on through your breastmilk to your baby. Obviously, the amount of alcohol consumed will be greatly decreased wince it's been metabolized, but before you go and have that second drink, keep in mind that whatever your drinking can and will be (very slightly) passed down to your child. Many experts say one or two drinks spread out over a week is okay, though others disagree.

MayoClinic is among the groups of people who think that no level of alcohol is fit for a child. This is because of a study conducted amongst 400 babies that claimed alcohol hindered a baby's development. Allegedly, gross motor development at 1 year of age lagged in infants whose mothers drank at least one drink daily during the babies' first three months of life. And while that seems alarming, this study was never backed up by further research and additional studies. In other words, the small sample size and lack of replicated data lead many to discredit the findings.


4. Timing is everything

Everyone knows that to properly enjoy a night of drinking, you should patiently and responsibly consume your alcohol. Your body requires time to process and metabolize each drink you consume. This means that before you pump in the near future you need to know about the time constraints and how long you should wait to do so.

Experts claim that alcohol will reach (and be at its most potent state) your breastmilk somewhere between 30 to 60 minutes after consumption. If you're having that same drink on a full stomach, that time span increases to 60 to 90 minutes. On average it takes about two full hours for a glass of wine or a can of beer to leave the bloodstream completely.

In other words, moms, if you want to have that one drink, you should consider having pre-pumped milk readily available. You'll be out of commission for a minimum of two hours.


This article was based on a piece from CheatSheet

Infographic: Why breastfeeding is important

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