Study: Alcohol And Breast Feeding
What’s the link between alcohol and breast feeding? Can you safely have a drink or two while breastfeeding? Should you pump and dump milk to eliminate alcohol from your milk? Find out the answers in the following sections.
How Long Does Alcohol Stay In Breastmilk?
Alcohol peaks in the breast between 30 minutes and one hour. But once you stop consuming alcohol, its level will fall while leaving your bloodstream and breastmilk.
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Alcohol And Breast Feeding: The Guidelines
One to two drinks doesn’t seem harmful to your baby. As soon as you feel neurologically normal, you can breastfeed baby again, according to certain studies.
On the other hand, you should minimize alcohol intake and limit it to occasional intake, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Then, the intake should not be more than 0.5 grams of alcohol per kilogram of body weight.
The same organization noted that nursing should occur at least two hours after the alcohol consumption to ensure its low concentration on breastmilk. The other experts warn against consuming more than two drinks each week.
What To Remember About Drinking Wine While Breastfeeding?
Your baby’s age matters when looking into the effects of alcohol for his very immature liver. In this case, drinking alcohol isn’t advised.
At about his 3rd month, he can detoxify the wine, beer and other alcoholic beverages at about 50% the rate of his mom, while a toddler or an older baby can process and metabolize alcohol faster.
If you drink hard alcohol, wine or beer, will it harm your infant? If you don’t take precautions and your drink excessively, yes it could. Know that the same alcohol amount that reaches your bloodstream also gets into your milk.
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This situation also applies even if you’re just drinking wine. While its alcohol level is relatively small, it can still affect your baby’s underdeveloped liver.
What does that mean? Drinking wine while breastfeeding can also be harmful, especially that baby cannot still process the alcoholic substances.
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Sleeping And Eating
Certain studies had it that alcohol can hinder and affect baby’s sleeping and eating habits.
So for example on alcohol and breastfeeding effects, your nursing baby will consume 20% less milk if you drink four ounces of wine or one can of beer.
When it comes to sleeping, nursing babies sleep for a shorter time period after his mother drinks, even if he becomes drowsy and falls asleep faster.
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Alcohol And Breast Feeding And Development
Aside from knowing how long alcohol stays in breastmilk, you should also learn how alcohol could hinder your baby’s development.
A study had it that gross motor development among breastfed babies of mothers drinking at least a drink every day during their first three months had lagged gross motor development.
However, more studies are needed to verify and conclude how alcohol and breastfeeding are linked. But while there is no conclusive study on it, breastfeeding moms might as well abstain from drinking at least in baby’s first three months of age.
Talk to your doctor if you think you’re drinking too much.
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What Should I Do If I Cannot Help But Drink?
Aside from not needing to pump and dump milk but wait until you’re sober before breastfeeding, your next concern could probably be how to have an occasional drink safely if you’re breastfeeding.
Generally, you can have a drink, but you have to wait at least two hours before breastfeeding your baby to ensure your body has flushed the alcohol out your system.
You can also time the drink when your little one won’t be feeding for a couple of hours after your alcohol consumption.
You can also drink after feeding baby or by the time that he can already sleep through the night.
Another tip is to express and then store milk before drinking alcohol. Bottle-feed baby with this milk.
Alternatively, you can also feed him formula during the hours after consuming alcohol.
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Should You Pump And Dump?
As your body processes and digests the alcoholic beverage, say wine, the peak concentration will start dropping. That is why you don’t have to pump and dump or throw the milk away. Instead, you can just wait until your breastmilk is 0% alcohol again once you have sobered up.
So, you don’t have to pump and dump breastmilk after drinking wine except for your comfort.
More About Pump and Dump
Remember that pumping and dumping does not have to do with the speed as to which alcohol will be eliminated from breastmilk.
Also, alcohol inhibits the letdown reflex and reduces milk production, not increasing it in any way.
As a general rule of thumb when it comes to alcohol and breast feeding alcohol, you are sober enough to breastfeed if you’re okay and sober to drive. Know that less than 2% of what you consumed reaches your breastmilk.
But while alcohol peaks in your milk and blood for about one hour after consumption, it can also vary from one woman to the next based on your body fat, body weight and amount of food consumed during the same time period.
So without even saying, alcohol doesn’t collect in your milk but leaves it as it’s leaving the blood. Thus, your milk alcohol level will back down as your blood alcohol does.
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