Alcohol and Breastfeeding

March 15, 2017

 

 

 

What should a breastfeeding mother do after consuming alcohol? This is an age old question that I get regularly. There is not one clean cut answer to this question because there are many variables involved. When a woman drinks alcohol she must wait for her body to metabolize the alcohol before she will be able to breastfeed safety. Generally speaking, less than 2% of alcohol reaches the blood and breastmilk and peaks between 30-60 minutes.  But the amount of alcohol consumed, body weight and food ingested all effect the rate one will metabolize. Experts recommend that breastfeeding mothers minimize their alcohol intake, drinking no more than 1 to 2 drinks per week. Also, they should ingest in no more than 0.5 grams per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of weight. So a women who weighs 130 pounds can drink a little more than one serving of alcohol in a sitting.

 

Since a mother should wait for her body to metabolize the alcohol before breastfeeding, there is no need to pump and dump the breastmilk. Alcohol does not build up in the milk, but rather leaves the milk as it leaves the blood. Pumping and discarding breastmilk will not affect the amount of alcohol in the breastmilk nor expedite the process to which you can safety breastfeed. Despite popular belief that alcohol increases milk supply, studies show the opposite. Alcohol consumption actually inhibits the milk ejection reflex (milk let down), and daily intake places a baby at risk for slow weight gain. A good rule of thumb is that if you are well enough to drive, then you are well enough to breastfeed. Happy breastfeeding!

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SOS Lactation was founded to provide families with immediate, quality breastfeeding support. Unfortunately, many mothers are filled with all sorts of well meaning, but inaccurate information. At SOS Lactation you can rely on accurate, evidence-based information to assist you on your breastfeeding journey.

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