The Truth about Drinking while Breastfeeding

Should you pump & dump? What the experts are saying

Remember that photo on Instagram that got MAJOR attention for mommy, Jessie James Decker who was drinking a glass of wine while breastfeeding last year? She defended herself to all the shamers in an interview with People.

Or more recently, an alum from The Bachelor, Bekah Martinez, posted a picture of herself with a glass of wine in hand, waiting for her 10 week old daughter to finish feeding so she could have “a single glass of wine,” she said in the caption.

Celebrities do it, but is it actually okay?

Are they wrong to drink and breastfeed? Is it really actually harmful? While most will agree that drinking while pregnant is a no-go, the jury is still out on whether or not it’s okay while breastfeeding.

You might also like The Struggling Mama’s Guide to Breastfeeding

According to the CDC, “moderate alcohol consumption (up to 1 drink/day) is not known to be harmful to the infant.” But current recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics seem to favor a “better safe than sorry” approach encouraging women to completely abstain from any alcohol.

For me, taking 9 months away from drinking anything at all left me constantly drooling over the wine isles in the grocery store and becoming the designated driver if ever a friend had one too many at the restaurant for dinner. So, as soon as I felt comfortable, that bottle of Pinot Noir was calling my name. It felt like an earned reward after running a 9 month marathon. But the first time I cracked open the bottle, just to be sure of my newborn’s safety, I pumped out a couple bottles and could only bring myself to drink half a glass. But was pumping even necessary?

Alcohol can make it into your breastmilk, but only in small amounts

In general, less than 2 percent of the alcohol dose consumed by the mother reaches her milk. Furthermore, the practice of “pump and dump,” is actually unnecessary as the newly produced milk will still contain the traces of alcohol as long as the mother has a measurable amount in her blood. Peak alcohol levels in the mothers blood and breastmilk are reached about 30 to 60 minutes after consuming. But, infants metabolize alcohol at about half the rate of adults.

For those with a heightened level of concern regarding drinking and breastfeeding, KellyMom (an amazing site for all things breastfeeding) says, “in general, if you are sober enough to drive, you are sober enough to nurse.”

Keep in mind, even 1-2 drinks could hinder milk production

It used to be said that drinking while lactating would increase milk supply so it was actually encouraged. But science has since proven this theory wrong. Studies have shown that alcohol intake inhibits the milk ejection reflex, known as let-down, causing a temporary decrease in milk yield.

But always consider your judgment when you’re under too big of an influence

It’s no big secret that nothing good happens when you are completely inebriated. Pre-babies, this meant calling an ex at 2am. But now, not to be overly dramatic, a human life is at stake. So be careful and know your limits. Also, know that if you are going to drink:

Limit intake to 1-2 drinks maximum.

Don’t co sleep with baby after drinking because your reflexes could be impacted. Also it’s been linked to SIDS.

I hope this article was helpful. What’s your stance on the matter? Do you think it’s wrong to drink and breastfeed? Or do you believe it’s okay in moderation? Let me know in the comments below!

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