Alcohol and Breastfeeding – Things You Should Consider

It is a known fact that women shouldn’t be drinking alcohol during their pregnancy. The same thing is true for the women who are breastfeeding. Remember that alcohol and breastfeeding isn’t a good combination and you could do a lot of harm to the baby.

Alcohol and Breastfeeding

The truth about breastfeeding and alcohol

It is very important to remember that consuming alcohol won’t increase your milk production. According to the specialists the babies will demand to be fed more often, but they will have less milk than usually. One of the studies conducted in this field showed that a drink decreased the milk production of women by 23%.

Another thing that women have to be thinking about regarding drinking alcohol during breastfeeding is that if you have two or more drinks, it may inhibit the let-down of milk. One of the recent studies showed changes in the sleeping pattern of the babies who were exposed to alcohol through breast milk.

You can see that drinking alcohol when breastfeeding might make the babies sleep less. In case the mother is drinking on a daily basis, it is possible that the baby will gain weight more slowly than normal. In the same time drinking can be associated with a slower gross motor development.

General guidelines regarding breastfeeding and drinking

According to the specialists if you have a drink or two every now and then, there will be no harm done to the baby. It is said that alcohol is compatible with breastfeeding. However the majority of the specialists believe that women should avoid alcoholic beverages because it can inhibit milk production.

When it comes to drinking alcohol while breastfeeding you should make sure that you wait a couple of hours before nursing. This is important because alcohol is concentrated in the breast milk. Specialists also say that women shouldn’t have more than 1-2 drinks per week.

If you are thinking about drinking during breastfeeding you have the possibility to return to breastfeeding as soon as you feel neurologically normal. In case you do have a few drinks there is no need to pump milk. You can’t eliminate alcohol from the milk this way and you can’t speed up the elimination either.

In numbers

The women who are drinking while breastfeeding should know that they can start breastfeeding again when they are sober enough to drive. It is good to know that only about 2% of the consumed alcohol reaches the breast milk. The alcohol levels peak in the breast milk 30-60 minutes after the mother drinks.

Naturally this time frame regarding drinking when breastfeeding varies from one woman to the other and it also depends on how much food you had before you drank. Alcohol doesn’t accumulate in the breast milk. It leaves the breast milk as soon as it leaves the blood.

As you can see drinking and breastfeeding isn’t such a good idea, however, you could make it work. Nonetheless you should never have more than 2 drinks per week to ensure the health of your baby.


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