Most pregnant & nursing mothers are advised to stay away from the appetizing glass of red wine. Go through this article and find the answer to - do breastfeeding and alcohol mix?

Alcohol And Breastfeeding

You have waited for nine long months to deliver your new joy of life. You have stayed away from all spicy, fatty, sugary, and salty food, all for producing a fit and healthy baby. But now that you are free from that frightful and atrocious labor pains, you are tempted to revert to your food habits, hogging your favorite food and tipples. Crossing the bridge and going back to the typical lifestyle can be very detrimental though. Are you willing to risk your baby’s health for that sparkling glass of champagne? But, what to do about that craving that you have kept aside for the last nine months? Is it safe to consume alcohol while breastfeeding? Well, the answer is ‘to a certain extent’. Researches indicate occasional drinking of alcohol is not harmful to the nursing baby. But then, what are the dos and don’ts regarding alcohol while breastfeeding a baby? Take a look at the important points about mixing alcohol and breastfeeding.
Do Breastfeeding And Alcohol Mix?
  • A newborn baby has a very immature liver. Hence, even small amount of alcohol can be a huge burden on the baby’s system. Until 3 months, a baby is capable of detoxifying alcohol at around half the rate of an adult. Thereafter, the baby or toddler can metabolize alcohol more quickly. Hence, it is advised that you stay from drinking entirely during this period.
  • However, if you simply cannot avoid drinking during the first three months, drink in moderation, not more than 1-2 units of alcohol per week.
  • If you have had a cesarean, wait till you have totally recovered before resuming alcohol consumption.
  • Also, if you have been diagnosed with postpartum depression, stay away from alcohol since it is a depressant. Hence, it will worsen your symptoms.
  • Do not drink before nursing and avoid breastfeeding for 2-3 hours after consuming alcohol.
  • Less than 2% of the alcohol consumed by a mother reaches her breast milk. 
  • Taking more than 2 drinks per day has shown to affect the baby’s growth process. Studies indicate that doing so may result in slow infant weight gain, delayed muscular and motor development, and delayed early learning.
  • Mothers who consume alcohol in heavy doses should not take their babies to bed with them. Large doses of alcohol can affect the baby’s nervous system causing drowsiness, deep sleep, weakness, and depression of the respiratory system.
  • Contrary to the common belief that consuming small amounts of beer or any other alcohol can help relax the mother, studies have shown that alcohol consumption can, in fact, reduce the mother’s let-down. This only means that the mother has to nurse her baby for longer durations or more frequently.
  • Nursing mothers are often advised to intake small amounts of alcohol to calm down a fussy infant or promote good sleep. However, researches indicate that consuming alcohol-infected milk can alter the baby’s sleeping pattern, causing shorter sleep periods following the nursing process.
  • Most mothers are in the assumption that pumping the breasts and discarding the milk immediately after drinking alcohol will eliminate the alcohol from the milk. However, this is not true as any newly produced milk will contain alcohol as long as the blood contains measurable amounts of alcohol. Hence, you cannot presume that breast milk will not contain any amount of alcohol.
  • The lighter the mother weighs, the longer the body will take to metabolize the same amount of alcohol consumed as against a more weighing mother. For example, if you weigh 100 lbs (45 kg), it will take 3.1 hours to break down 1 standard drink, while the same amount will be metabolized in 1.9 hours by a mother weighing 160 lbs (72 kg).

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