Alcohol and Breastfeeding

Alcohol and Breastfeeding, Is It Ok to Drink Wine or Beer Whilst Breastfeeding?

Congratulations! You have just given birth to a healthy baby. You and your husband go tell everyone in the family and even your friends about your new bundle of joy. So you throw a get-together and since it is a celebration, some friends opted to buy wine. Now you are faced with a dilemma, should you drink or should you not?

Breastfeeding is the ideal approach for baby’s nutrition. It has benefits to both mother and child. Alcohol, as with any other food and drink, passes through the breast ducts and is mixed with breast milk. As soon as it is metabolized, it leaves the body. It peaks around 30-90 minutes after having the drink. The levels of alcohol found in breast milk are comparable to that of the levels of alcohol in the mother’s body at the time of feeding.

How Much of It Gets Into My System and Eventually Into The Breast?

There are certain elements that need to be considered when knowing how much alcohol get into the breast.

Your weight is one of the most important elements that needs to be present in knowing how much alcohol gets into your body and eventually to your breast. The alcohol content consumed is another element needed to determine the amount of alcohol entering the body.

The variety and quantity of food consumed also matters since alcohol is metabolized faster when taken together with food. Lastly, your drinking speed also matters since this will tell how fast you could take a glass of wine in one gulp.

Can I Drink Alcohol While Breastfeeding?

Although occasional alcohol consumption has not been shown to have harmful effects on the baby, it is necessary for mothers to have two to three hour interval from the time of alcohol intake and breastfeeding.

This is to ensure that the alcohol level in the blood is low enough to have drastic effects on the baby. Feeding before consuming alcohol would do as well.  Eating while drinking is also high advised. Drinking non-alcoholic beverages in between also helps you drink in moderation.

How Much is Too Much?

Take into account that too much alcohol can alter your milk supply and even affects your baby’s growth and development. Alcohol affects the baby’s central nervous system, causing it to have a mild tranquilizing effect. More so, too much of it can result to impairment of the baby’s motor skills and disturbed sleeping patterns.

The best time to avoid having alcohol in your system is during the first few months. Newborns need to be fed frequently compared to older babies. You might be too preoccupied to even think of the alcohol in your body than having the need to feed your baby as soon as possible. Having the drink once to twice a week is fine and pediatricians recommend consuming alcohol should be limited to 0.5g per kg of body weight.

The table below shows the common alcoholic beverages and their alcohol percentages.