Babies: 0 - 3 Months

Advice about alcohol and breastfeeding

So to make a long story short, my LO is 6 weeks and she is exclusively breastfed. I pump to relieve engorgement and have an ample supply in the deep freeze. I fed my LO and went out to dinner with my sister who I haven't seen since LO was born, and had a mixed drink with 2 oz. of alcohol in it. I get home and my MIL is there. During the conversation I mention to DH that I had my first drink in over 10 months and my MIL goes and puts in her two sense that I am being selfish and as long as I am breastfeeding I should abstain from alcohol as it will seriously harm the baby. I tell her I have a steady supply pumped if required, and that LO fed right before I left, so the alcohol should be out of my system before her next feed (normally 3-5 hours apart depending on if she's sleeping or awake). She argues with me and says I should feed her the pumped milk for a few days to be sure.

Does anyone know how long it would take for the alcohol to get out of your system? I figured waiting 3 hours after I finished my drink would be fine before I breastfeed her again (I nursed the drink for almost an hour).

Re: Advice about alcohol and breastfeeding

  • You should be fine to nurse. KellyMom says two hours is the general recommendation so waiting 3 hours should be fine. :) They do sell alcohol breastmilk test strips at Target. Can't vouch for them.

    The moms I know who drink and nurse usually drink around the time of nursing or while pumping. By the time the baby is hungry again, the alcohol isn't really in their system so much.

    http://kellymom.com/bf/can-i-breastfeed/lifestyle/alcohol/


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  • Check out Kellymom. You would have been fine to nurse.   http://kellymom.com/bf/can-i-breastfeed/lifestyle/alcohol/

     

    An excerpt:  

     In general, if you are sober enough to drive, you are sober enough to breastfeed. Less than 2% of the alcohol consumed by the mother reaches her blood and milk. Alcohol peaks in mom?s blood and milk approximately 1/2-1 hour after drinking (but there is considerable variation from person to person, depending upon how much food was eaten in the same time period, mom?s body weight and percentage of body fat, etc.). Alcohol does not accumulate in breastmilk, but leaves the milk as it leaves the blood; so when your blood alcohol levels are back down, so are your milk alcohol levels.

  • image Runner1981:

    In general, if you are sober enough to drive, you are sober enough to breastfeed. 

     

    This is the advice we were given at our breastfeeding class. Honestly, it sounds like you have been more than responsible and your little one will be totally fine when you breastfeed next. 

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  • Oh boy sounds like your MIL blew things out of proportion just a tad.  Like pp said if you can drive you an feed.  The doctor that I see specializes in breastfeeding and said that those strips are a waste of money and not to worry at all about a couple drinks.  I also have saved this link as it shows a chart that you can go by.  Sorry it's not clicky.  http://www.motherisk.org/women/updatesDetail.jsp?content_id=347

    This is from the mothers clinic at the top children's hospital in Canada.  

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  • Kellymom is a great resource like others have said.So is Motherrisk.  There is also a great chart that gives you a waiting time based on the number of drinks and your height and weight. 

    http://www.realtechmom.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/image15.png 
    *1 drink = 340 g (12 oz) of 5% beer, or 141.75 g (5 oz) of 11% wine, or 42.53 g (1.5 oz) of 40% liquor. 

    My rule of thumb is, if I have 1 drink, I will still nurse my DD at any point, although I usually nurse just before I have a drink (so I have a couple hours). If I have more than 1, then I wait 2 hours per drink.  (2 drinks =4 Hours, 3 drinks = 6 hours) With a newborn I would wait the 2-3 hours per drink including the first one, but that's just extra precaution because their livers are so new. 

    If you want to pump and dump to relieve engorgement, that's fine, but you don't have to. As the alcohol leaves your blood it leaves your milk. As others have said, if you are sober enough to drive, you are sober enough to nurse.  

  • Your MIL is nuts. LOL at feeding her pumped milk for a "few days." Even if you were completely hammered, you wouldn't still have alcohol in your system 3 days later. Anyway, one drink is completely and totally fine. Like others have said if you're sober enough to drive, you're sober enough to BF.
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  • Agree with PP, having a drink as your nursing gives the optimal time for the alcohol to leave your system for the next feeding. As long as you are safe to drive, you are safe to nurse. I have gone out twice and drank a LOT more than 2 oz of alcohol, and just abstained from nursing her for about 12 hours since my last drink. It's not being selfish to drink, especially if it's only 1 drink. Enjoy a glass every now and again.
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  • image OhBaby+2013:

    Oh boy sounds like your MIL blew things out of proportion just a tad.  Like pp said if you can drive you an feed.  The doctor that I see specializes in breastfeeding and said that those strips are a waste of money and not to worry at all about a couple drinks.  I also have saved this link as it shows a chart that you can go by.  Sorry it's not clicky.  http://www.motherisk.org/women/updatesDetail.jsp?content_id=347

    This is from the mothers clinic at the top children's hospital in Canada.  

    uh yes definitely being dramatic MIL! A few days? If you can drive, you can nurse/pump.


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  • The breastfeeding consultant at the hospital I delivered at says 2 glasses of wine or 1 liquor drink will not affect breast milk
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  • Your MIL really doesn't understand how alcohol moves through the body, does she?

    Everyone metabolizes alcohol differently, but 3 hours should be fine for a single drink. Less than 2% of the alcohol consumed, per Kellymom, reaches the breastmilk. 

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  • image MrsWindyCity:
    Your MIL is nuts. LOL at feeding her pumped milk for a "few days." Even if you were completely hammered, you wouldn't still have alcohol in your system 3 days later. Anyway, one drink is completely and totally fine. Like others have said if you're sober enough to drive, you're sober enough to BF.

    Yeah, MIL sounds quite uninformed. I want some of this substance that stays in your blood "for a few days." Sounds like a jolly good time. (I'm kidding btw, we are actually alcohol free in this household due to husband's sobriety/recovery...and I really don't need alcohol so we abstain)

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  • Some PP's have posted good advice here - I wanted to chime in that I use the Milkscreen alcohol strips after I have a couple drinks, to see if I'm ok to feed or not. Gives me peace of mind.

    By the way, I asked my midwife about this and she said it was fine to drink -- even said a Guinness or other hoppy beer could be good for my milk supply.

    I guess with the MILs and the moms it's a generational thing. I bet your MIL would have flipped her lid if she saw you drink a bit of wine while you were pregnant...but many moms do just that without harm to their babies.

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