If You Drink Alcohol, is it Okay to Breastfeed Your Baby?

List: Posted: 06/03/11

So you’ve been a responsible mother who hasn’t had a drop of alcohol since you learned that you were pregnant.  Now that the baby has been born, you are probably excited about going out and reconnecting with a few friends over drinks, or to have a glass of wine after your dinner.  If you breastfeed your baby, you are probably concerned that drinking alcohol is going to affect your child.  Is this true or not?

 

For those who breastfeed, you will find that there are several schools of thought on whether you should drink at all while you are breastfeeding.  The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that you should not ingest any alcohol when you still breastfeed your baby.  Other experts say that there isn’t any problem with drinking alcohol if you breastfeed, so long as you wait for the alcohol to pass through your bloodstream before you feed your baby (generally 1 hour per unit of alcohol consumed).

 

To be on the safe side, if you decide that you are going to have a drink, you need to make sure that you wait before you breastfeed.  It takes approximately half an hour for the alcohol to start circulating through your bloodstream.  Depending on the amount you drink, it is going to take one hour or longer before the alcohol is out of your system.  It is a good idea to wait to breastfeed for at least three to six hours after your last drink.

 

It might be a good idea to buy a breast pump and pump your breasts before you have any alcohol, so you will have that milk ready for the baby.  It isn’t quite the same as if he or she were to breastfeed, but it is still healthy breast milk, and you don’t have to worry about it harming your baby since you produced the milk before drinking anything.

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