Whether consuming alcohol while breastfeeding is safe for your child is a lifelong debate. In reality, the safest option to avoid any damage to your newborn or toddler is to avoid drinking alcohol. However, doctors assure that if mommies learn to consume alcohol without making it interfere with their breastfeeding patterns, they can have the occasional drink or two.
Let’s take a deeper look into a few facts regarding alcohol and breastfeeding.
- Alcohol goes into your breast milk from your bloodstream.
- Alcohol levels in breast milk remain the same as the alcohol levels in your blood.
- It takes around a couple of hours before the amount of alcohol in a standard drink leaves your body. But once it does, it also leaves your breast milk.
- Resting, drinking water, or pumping milk to ‘dump’ the alcohol content in your breast milk does not reduce the alcohol amount in breast milk.
The only factor that can actually eliminate all alcohol content in your blood stream and breast milk is time. Alcohol continues to get removed and diffused back into a woman’s bloodstream which means that it does not get trapped in breast milk.
What you should do?
Luckily, mommies can enjoy occasional drinks without harming the growth of their children and their own health. But there is enough evidence to suggest that consuming more than two units of alcohol a day during breastfeeding can seriously affect your child’s natural development.
Here are a few tips to follow for guaranteeing your baby remains unharmed during breastfeeding.
- Do not consume more than one or two units of alcohol. Limit this intake to twice a week.
- Pump and store enough milk ahead of a dinner or night out with friends. You or your babysitter can give a bottle to your baby while you wait for the alcohol levels in your milk to drop.
- Arrange for someone to take care of your baby at night if your little one has not adapted to a bedtime routine by now. This is the safest way to ensure your baby’s safety in case you get drunk.
- Never take your baby to bed if you and your partner have consumed drugs or alcohol.
- Balance a mix of non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks to reduce your intake at a party.
According to CDC, alcohol levels are highest in breast milk for 30 minutes to an hour after a beverage is consumed. However, it can still be detected in breast milk after two or three hours of consuming a drink.
Mothers with post-natal depression or women who need emotional support are likely to return to their old drinking patterns. But stay away from binge drinking! Whenever you consume more than 5 units of alcohol in a single session, you need to have a sober adult to take care of your new-born or toddler.
If you nurse your infants in bed or co-sleep, never have any alcohol to risk the danger of suffocation. In fact, this tip is not just for breast-feeding moms but also for their partners.
Sa Bal has been in the content industry for the best part of a decade. Over the years, she has written content for almost every niche. She is particularly passionate about writing about tourism and travel, providing tips and suggestions for readers to follow.