Baby Settler Blog

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Alcohol & Breastfeeding

Hillary Sadler | December 15, 2020

Do you need to pump and dump?

I literally answer this question at least 3 times each week, and in light of the holiday spirit we are tackling this head on this week. There is SO much misinformation out here about breastmilk and alcohol. Let me be clear. I am NOT advocating for being drunk while breastfeeding… I am saying you can have a glass of wine (or two), a cocktail, or your favorite seasonal beer. Drinking alcohol and breastfeeding are not mutually exclusive.

 We give mothers IV narcotic pain medication after delivery and we encourage them to breastfeed. I would advocate for you to be more concerned about safe sleep and safely positioning your baby on your breast….than I am about whether or not there’s alcohol in your breastmilk.

 So, here’s a few MYTH’s you’ve probably heard:

  1. You need to pump and dump
  2. Use alcohol strips for breastmilk
  3. You can’t drink and breastfeed

Now, let’s break these down. First, pumping and dumping isn’t really a thing. Personally, I’ve tried not to ‘cry over spilt milk’ (but I have!)…and I would definitely cry over you dumping your pumped milk! What’s the point of the test strips? If you’ve had a drink, alcohol is in your blood…and the strip will be positive. You actually CAN drink and breastfeed. And if you do, it’s actually recommended you breastfeed while consuming the drink.

Verbiage straight from the CDC

Not drinking alcohol is the safest option for breastfeeding mothers. However, moderate alcohol consumption (up to 1 drink/day) is not known to be harmful to the infant. You can find more information about breastmilk and alcohol over at the CDC’s website. And when you read the information provided…make sure you read the entire article. And read between the lines.

It is true that alcohol is present in breastmilk for about 2 hours after consumption. So, if you’re feeding your baby every 2-3 hours, I’d recommend feeding your baby (or pumping) while you’re having a drink (or right after feeding or pumping)! That way, your baby finishes breastfeeding and is possibly going 2-3 hour before feeding again (or pumping again).

In conclusion Mama, have that glass of wine or cocktail if you want!! Just make sure to remember recommendations for safe sleep and remember you’re probably a light weight these days (9 months of no alcohol!). Don’t forget, to pay attention to positioning your baby at the breast: make sure their little nose doesn’t get squished or their neck is position in a way that they aren’t able to protect their airway.

Be safe and have fun Mama!


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