Moderate alcohol consumption by a breastfeeding mother ( up to 1 standard drink per day ) is not known to be harmful to the infant, especially if the mother waits at least 2 hours before nursing.
Can I have 1 unit of alcohol while breastfeeding?
Drinking Alcohol | Breastfeeding | Start for Life If you have any concerns about breastfeeding – you should always talk to your midwife or health visitor. Our has details of different websites and helplines where you can get confidential advice and support. When you’re breastfeeding, traces of what you eat and drink pass through to your breast milk.
What happens if baby drinks breast milk with alcohol?
Clinical guidance – Lactating females should be instructed to minimize their infants’ exposure to alcohol when they choose to consume alcoholic beverages. An individual can be advised to feed or express milk just prior to alcohol consumption. The number of alcoholic beverages should ideally be limited to 1 drink per day or less during lactation, and binge drinking should be avoided.15 Lactating females should be advised that the AAP guidance regarding safe infant sleep recommends avoiding alcohol use because of infant safety concerns.29 Parental alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Figure 2. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Quick Screen Lactating females should be routinely screened for past and current use of alcohol using a validated screening tool. Effective screening tools are available online through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The NIDA Quick Screen evaluates alcohol and other substances ( Figure 2 ).30 The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test is a screening tool for alcohol use.31,32 The results can guide conversations with patients about alcohol use during lactation.
When making recommendations about the duration of time to avoid feeding after alcohol intake, it is important to consider the total number of alcoholic beverages consumed. A conservative approach would recommend accurate monitoring of alcohol consumption along with the use of a nomogram to calculate the time needed to completely clear alcohol from milk after maternal consumption of an alcoholic beverage before resuming lactation ( Table 2 ).
Alternatively, a lactating female should wait at least 2 to 3 hours before directly feeding her baby milk after a single drink.5 If the baby becomes hungry before that time, previously expressed milk may be offered to the baby. Although there is no known safe amount of alcohol exposure to an infant, occasional moderate (1 drink or less) maternal alcohol use during lactation has not demonstrated harmful effects on infants and therefore should not prompt weaning.
How long after drinking coffee can I breastfeed?
Can I Drink Coffee or Alcohol While Breastfeeding?
After abstaining from alcohol and cutting back on coffee during your pregnancy, you might be eagerly looking forward to giving birth so you can finally relax with a big glass of wine and get back into the daily drive-thru line at Starbucks for your favorite drink.However, experts say if you’re planning to breastfeed, you shouldn’t get too excited about returning to those favorite drinks right away.That’s because research has shown that both alcohol and caffeine can transfer from a mother’s bloodstream into her breastmilk, and drinking too much of either can affect your baby’s health.Here are answers to a few questions you may have about how much alcohol or caffeine you can have while breastfeeding. Drinking Alcohol During Breastfeeding
How much can you drink? When it comes to drinking alcohol during breastfeeding, the CDC is pretty strict. They say consuming one alcoholic drink a day (12 oz. of beer, 5 oz. of wine or 1.5 oz. of liquor) is generally considered safe. But beware: Most glasses of wine served in restaurants contain more than 5 oz. and if you’re used to filling up your wine glass to the top, you’re probably drinking at least 12 to 14 oz. in a glass. How long do you have to wait after you drink alcohol before nursing again? If you just drink one standard drink (see amounts above), the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting two hours after you’ve finished your drink before nursing or pumping again. And if you drink more than one drink you’ll have to wait even longer. The CDC recommends waiting four to five hours if you’ve had two drinks, six to eight hours if you’ve had three drinks, etc.Since your baby needs to nurse about every three to four hours, try to have a drink as soon as possible after you breastfeed or pump so it’ll have time to work its way out of your system before you have to pump again. So if you have a special night out planned where you want to drink more than a single serving of alcohol, it’s best to feed your baby some previously pumped milk and then pump when your baby would normally feed and throw that amount of milk away. (This is when having a comes in handy!) How does alcohol affect the baby? According to the CDC, when your blood-alcohol levels are too high, it can interfere with your letdown reflex, and over time, drinking too much alcohol can decrease your milk production, affect your baby’s sleep patterns and even cause early developmental problems.
Drinking Caffeine During Breastfeeding
How much can you drink? The CDC says drinking two to three cups of coffee a day (containing about 300 mg of caffeine) is safe for breastfeeding moms. However, keep in mind that one cup of coffee is actually only 4 oz., and a “tall” size at Starbucks is 12 oz., which is the entire allotted amount for one day. Also, different types of coffee have different amounts of caffeine in each drink. For example, a Starbucks “tall” has 260 mg of caffeine, a Dunkin’ Donuts small coffee has 215 mg, and a McDonald’s small has 109 mg of caffeine. So focus on the amount of caffeine consumed, not the ounces. How long do you have to wait after having caffeine before you can nurse again? According to La Leche League, it takes about one to two hours for the caffeine that you drink to pass through to your baby in your breastmilk. So, just like with alcohol, it’s a good idea to drink a cup of coffee right after you nurse or pump so you’ll have time for it to wear off before you nurse again. How does caffeine affect the baby? Just like in adults, caffeine can keep babies awake and make them more fussy, and if you’re already a sleep-deprived mom, that is not a good thing. Younger babies, especially those under six months old, may be more sensitive to caffeine, however children may react differently to caffeine based on their body weight and other factors. If your baby seems especially wakeful or irritable, try cutting out caffeine for two to three weeks to see if it makes a difference.Click on the image below to see infographic larger.
: Can I Drink Coffee or Alcohol While Breastfeeding?
Can you have less than 0.5 alcohol while breastfeeding?
Is non-alcoholic wine safe for breastfeeding mums? – On the other hand, alcohol-free drinks are totally safe. “Alcohol free drinks are safe for a breastfeeding mum to drink guilt free,” says Belinda. “Like everything you consume while breastfeeding, enjoy in moderation.” While many of our drinks are, some have a 0.5% ABV. Legally, this is still considered to be alcohol-free because the amount of alcohol is negligible. Belinda tells me that these drinks are also safe for breastfeeding mums. “Some foods and drinks we consume with no hesitation have small quantities of alcohol such as fruit juices, soy sauce, vinegar, bread products and ripe fruit.
Is 0.04% alcohol in breastmilk?
How this affects a breastfed baby! – The alcohol concentration of breast milk will match that of the mother’s blood alcohol concentration. Alcohol does not go into breast milk and stay there; it goes in and comes out. As blood alcohol concentration rises and decreases so too does the concentration of alcohol in breast milk.
If a mother limits alcohol consumption, drinks after feeding and allows sufficient time for the alcohol to be eliminated from her body before the next feeding, she can significantly minimize her baby’s expose to alcohol. Even at peak levels an baby is exposed to only a fraction of the alcohol the mother ingests.1 standard drink may raise a mother’s blood alcohol level and her breast milk to approximately 0.03% – 0.04%, which is far less than the proof on the bottle.
A baby’s body goes though the same process of alcohol elimination as does an adult’s. However, the baby’s level of maturity will affect his/her ability to detoxify alcohol. In their first weeks of life a baby’s liver can only break down the alcohol at half the rate of an adult.
Can I save pumped breast milk with alcohol?
What It Means to ‘Pump and Dilute’ – But what if you just drank, and then you pump or express the breast milk while your blood alcohol levels are still high? The CDC says that if you express or pump milk within two hours of consuming one alcoholic beverage, you should discard the expressed milk.
- Parents looking for other options are turning to friends and social media for advice.
- Enter the idea of “pumping and diluting,” an alternative to the practice of “pumping and dumping,” in which breast milk pumped after drinking is diluted with previously pumped, alcohol-free breast milk—as opposed to dumping it down the drain.
It’s hard to trace the origin of this practice, but Emily Bernard, IBCLC a lactation consultant and founder of Before and After Baby, says it may have started in online forums. “The thought of blending pumped ‘clean’ breast milk with breast milk that is pumped and contains any substance, including alcohol, is one of those items that has caught wave in a lot of online moms groups,” she says.
Can I keep half drunk breast milk?
What is the recommended method to store and serve breast milk that is leftover from a feeding? – If your baby did not finish the bottle, the leftover breast milk can still be used within 2 hours after the baby is finished feeding. After 2 hours, leftover breast milk should be thrown away.
Will one glass of wine affect my milk supply?
Alcohol and Breastfeeding: Is it Safe to Drink While I’m Breastfeeding? But now that you are breastfeeding is it actually safe to enjoy that alcoholic beverage or will the effects of the alcohol be harmful to your baby? Most health care professionals agree that drinking small amounts of alcohol while breastfeeding won’t hurt your baby.
- Roughly 34-million women of childbearing age drink alcoholic beverages (approximately half of all lactating women in Western countries consume alcohol while breastfeeding), so, it is understandable that it has been the subject of a lot of research.
- Still, we do not know the exact way that alcohol consumption can affect babies’ and what the safe consumption amounts are.
- Does Alcohol Get Into My Breast Milk?
The short answer is yes. Alcohol is one of the most readily absorbed drugs known and alcohol does pass from your bloodstream into your milk. Alcohol levels reach their highest in breast milk about 30-60 minutes after drinking or after 30-90 minutes if you have had something to eat while you are drinking.
- If you don’t have another drink, the concentration gradually falls and a couple of hours after having a single drink the alcohol will have mostly left your breast milk.
- Alcohol is not stored in the breast so as your liver metabolises the alcohol causing your blood alcohol level to drop, so does the alcohol level in your breastmilk.
Should I Pump and Dump? There is no benefit in “pumping and dumping” your breastmilk unless you are uncomfortable and need to express to relieve the discomfort. As your blood alcohol drops so will the level of alcohol in your breast milk and pumping and dumping will not speed up this process.
- Any breast milk that you express during the time that it takes for your blood alcohol to drop will still contain alcohol.
- The alcohol will not work its way out of the milk, once outside your body, and any milk pumped while you are affected by alcohol will need to be discarded.
- How Long Should I Wait After Drinking Alcohol to Feed My Baby? The more drinks that you have, the longer it takes for your body to clear the alcohol from your system.
Some studies suggest that the amounts of alcohol moving into breast milk are very low compared to the alcohol consumed so that the amount of alcohol that your baby actually gets is minimal and the amount of alcohol ingested by a breastfed infant is only a small fraction of that consumed by its mother.
- What and how much you’ve eaten
- How much you weigh
- How quickly you are drinking. The time that it takes for your liver to detoxify the alcohol in your system will not be sped up by coffee, cold showers, fresh air or exercise.
Mothers who ingest alcohol in moderate amounts can generally return to breastfeeding as soon as they feel neurologically normal. As a general rule, if you are sober enough to drive you should be sober enough to breastfeed. Everybody metabolises alcohol differently and your metabolism of alcohol can vary from day-to-day.
- The Australian Breastfeeding Association has a handy App to help you work out how much time you may like to wait.
- Download the free app for Apple and Android devices.
- One study suggests that the amount of alcohol that a baby will get through breast milk is approximately 5-6% of the weight-adjusted maternal dose and, even in a theoretical case of binge drinking, your baby would not be subjected to clinically relevant amounts of alcohol.
Many breastfeeding mums choose to stop drinking alcohol, however, occasional light drinking while breastfeeding has not been shown to have any adverse effects on babies. Alcohol is best avoided until your baby is over three months old and then enjoyed as an occasional treat.
- Planning Ahead is Key If you do have an alcoholic drink, make sure you allow at least a couple of hours for the alcohol to go through your system before your next breastfeed.
- Alternatively, you could have a small drink while you’re actually breastfeeding your baby.
- By the time the alcohol is in your system, your baby will have finished feeding.
Or for total peace of mind, if you’re planning to have an alcoholic drink, you could beforehand and give that to your baby for their next feed. If, on a single occasion, you have a little more alcohol than you had planned to or if your baby needs to feed sooner than you had anticipated it is OK to breastfeed your baby.
- A critical issue to consider is around the care of your baby if you are drinking alcohol.
- If you are under the influence of alcohol you may make fewer safe decisions around the attention and care of your baby.
- Drinking alcohol reduces the ability of the mother to be aware of her baby’s needs, whether she is breastfeeding or not.
It is crucial to plan ahead to arrange that safe sleeping arrangement have been made and never to sleep with your baby if you have been consuming alcohol. Mothers who have been drinking alcohol should never let themselves be in a situation where they might fall asleep with the baby; on a bed, chair or settee (this would also apply to other carers who have been drinking alcohol).
- Doing this has a strong association with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Will Drinking Alcohol Alter My Milk Supply? Studies have shown that alcohol can affect the balance of hormones that control breast milk production (prolactin and oxytocin) and can reduce your supply.
- Moderate consumption can reduce oxytocin levels affecting milk supply and let down.
Alcohol itself hinders both the milk ejection reflex (responsible for your milk letdown) and milk production, especially when taken in large amounts. But even a small amount, such as a single beer or glass of wine, can disrupt the balance of milk-producing hormones in breastfeeding women.
- While the immediate effects of alcohol on milk production and delivery last only as long as the alcohol is in your system, chronic alcohol use has the potential to lower your milk supply overall.
- But I’ve Been Told That Having Alcohol Can Increase My Breastmilk Supply? You may have heard the that drinking alcohol can help to boost your supply.
This may have been true in the past because of the way that alcohol was traditionally made and the ingredients used. The brewing process in past times differs greatly to the way that is made in modern times. In the past, not only was the alcohol content lower, the brew was also jam-packed full of grains and herbs.
- Nowadays, due to the lack of nutritional grains and herbs and a higher alcohol concentration, rather than increasing your supply, your breastmilk volumes are more likely to be lowered by the alcohol content.
- One study showed that breastfeeding women express nearly 10% less milk in the first two hours after moderate drinking (a little over one glass of wine or beer) and several other studies have shown that babies tend to get about 20 percent less breast milk if they nurse in the first four hours after the mother drinks alcohol.
- How Does Drinking Alcohol Affect My Breastfed Baby?
Drinking occasional small amounts of alcohol has been shown to have minor short-term effects on your baby’s behaviour. Some babies experience increased awake times and are more irritable. A small study explains that babies slept for 25% less time after exposure to small amounts of alcohol in breast milk.
And while breastfed babies may become drowsy and fall asleep more quickly after their mother drinks alcohol, they also sleep for a shorter amount of time. Alcohol in your breast milk can also change the way that your breast milk tastes and smells and therefore may change the way that your baby feeds.
Your baby may be reluctant to or refuse to, feed while the smell and taste of your breast milk remain altered by the alcohol. Bear in mind that alcohol can temporarily reduce your milk supply. So, if you do have a drink, your baby may seem hungrier and want to feed more.
- Studies have found that babies breastfeed more frequently, but consume less milk in the 3-4 hours after an alcoholic beverage is consumed.
- The long-term effects of drinking alcohol while breastfeeding are less clear and further research needs to be done.
- Regardless of this, drinking regularly or heavily while breastfeeding is not advised.
Moderate, heavy or continued drinking and may lead to drowsiness, deep sleep, weakness and decreased growth for your baby. Alcohol abuse (excessive drinking) by the mother can result in slow weight gain or failure to thrive in her baby. The let-down of a mother who abuses alcohol may be affected by her alcohol consumption, and she may not breastfeed enough.
The baby may sleep excessively, or may not suck effectively leading to decreased milk intake. The baby may even suffer from delayed motor development. Everything in Moderation So, it is possible to have a drink while you are breastfeeding – just in moderation! Remember that small amounts of alcohol move into breast milk when you drink an alcoholic beverage and as your body metabolises the alcohol the amount in your breast milk will also decrease.
Drinking small amounts of alcohol occasionally won’t affect your baby, however drinking regularly or heavily may affect your milk supply, make your baby sleepy or affect their growth and development. A little planning ahead can help you to minimise the amount of alcohol that reaches your baby and help you enjoy the occasional drink.
- Anderson, P.O. (1995). Alcohol and Breastfeeding. Journal of Human Lactation, 11(4), 321–323.
- Haastrup MB et al. Alcohol and breastfeeding. Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol.2014;114(2):168-173.
- Mennella JA. Regulation of milk intake after exposure to alcohol in mothers’ milk. Alcohol Clin Exp Res.2001;25(4):590-593
- Mennella JA. Short-term effects of maternal alcohol consumption on lactational performance. Alcohol Clin Exp Res.1998(7);22:1389-1392.
- Mennella, J.A. & Gerrish, C.J. (1998). Effects of exposure to alcohol in mother’s milk on infant sleep. Pediatrics, 101
- Newman, J. (1996). Is Alcohol So Bad for Breastfeeding Mothers? Journal of Human Lactation, 12(2), 93–93.
- Schulte, P. (1995). Minimising Alcohol Exposure of the Breastfeeding Infant. Journal of Human Lactation, 11(4), 317–319.
- Hale, Thomas., 2017 edition. Springer Publishing, 2017: 348-350.
DISCLAIMER: This information provides general information only. For specific advice about your baby or your healthcare needs, you should seek advice from your health professional. Medela does not accept any responsibility for loss or damage arising from your reliance on this information instead of seeing a health professional.
Can you breastfeed hungover?
The topic of breastfeeding can seem like a sea of endless questions with differing answers. Lately, I’ve been getting some repeated questions about issues apart from basic breastfeeding management that I thought I’d share here. Alcohol: when do I have to stop pumping and dumping? According to experts, drinking in moderation is compatible with breastfeeding. The AAP says, “Nursing should take place 2 hours or longer after the alcohol intake to minimize its concentration in the ingested milk.” Because alcohol moves in and out of your breast milk just as it does in your bloodstream, if you don’t feel drunk, then there’s not enough alcohol in your breastmilk to adversely affect your baby.
- If you are feeling tipsy, pumping won’t eliminate the alcohol from your milk any faster – only time can do that.
- For one drink, that’s about two hours (depending on your weight and whether you’re eating with your beverage).
- If you’re interested in more detailed times until the zero alcohol level in breastmilk based on maternal weight and number of drinks, this study has a handy chart.
If you don’t feel drunk, then there’s not enough alcohol in your breastmilk to adversely affect your baby. If you have had enough drinks to feel intoxicated, you shouldn’t breastfeed until you feel sober. In the meantime, you may miss a feeding or two (depending on how much you’ve had to drink) and your breasts may get engorged.
You should pump if this is the case in order to maintain your milk supply. Once the milk is out of your body, though, your liver isn’t helping to metabolize the alcohol anymore. So, it’s best to dump it and not save it to feed to your baby. If you know ahead of time that you will be drinking to excess, you may want to pump in the days leading up to your event so your baby has some breastmilk to drink while you’re unavailable.
What if you’re hungover the next day? As long as you’re no longer drunk, it’s safe to breastfeed. Even if you feel nauseous or are vomiting, it’s still safe to breastfeed. Just be sure you are staying hydrated and getting some rest. If you still feel a little tipsy, be sure to offer your baby milk you pumped beforehand (or formula, if necessary) instead of nursing. Should I breastfeed if I’m on antidepressants? Breastfeeding and postpartum mood disorders are sometimes complicated. They’re kind of a chicken / egg problem – which came first, the depression or the feeding difficulties? If breastfeeding is going well, then continuing to breastfeed may be the best thing you can do to help.
- But if breastfeeding difficulties are piling up, it could make your depression or anxiety worse.
- If you are suffering from postpartum depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress, OCD, bipolar or more, the best thing to do is seek treatment.
- While interpersonal therapy is likely an important part of your treatment, a pharmaceutical may be necessary, too.
Many times, a drug compatible with breastfeeding can be prescribed. For depression and anxiety, the most commonly prescribed antidepressants are usually SSRIs and these seem most compatible with breastfeeding. In their review article, Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, an expert in the field of breastfeeding and mental health, and Thomas Hale, a breastfeeding and pharmacology expert, conclude: ‘the exposure of breastfeeding infants to paroxetine, sertraline and nortriptyline is unlikely to produce detectable or elevated plasma drug levels.
- Infants exposed to fluoxetine may have higher levels of exposure Citalopram may lead to elevated levels in some infants, whereas escitalopram produces a lower relative infant dose.
- Breastfeeding mothers should be advised to observe for any possible signs of adverse reactions including irritability, poor feeding, or major changes in sleep patterns.
Premature babies or other unstable infants should be closely monitored for adverse effects.’ If you have been prescribed an antidepressant, or if your doctor plans to prescribe one but would like more information, individual medications can be reviewed in the online database LactMed.
If a breastfeeding-friendly medication cannot be found for your diagnosis, you will need to weigh the importance of getting treated against your personal feelings about breastfeeding. Taking the medication is probably going to win out, as it may be dangerous to leave your condition untreated. And since formula offers a safe alternative (especially in the United States), your baby will still thrive.
This can be a painful decision, though, and working through those feelings with a counselor or therapist is important. Is it safe to sleep with my baby? As a breastfeeding mother, it’s likely you’ve fallen asleep with your baby nursing. Those nighttime feedings may have been easier lying in bed, and you may have awakened with a jolt later in the night, feeling guilty because you baby is still sleeping beside you in your bed.
- The current recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics state that babies should sleep in the same room as mom for the first several months (at least) to prevent SIDS, but that they should not bed share, as this poses a danger for baby.
- This blanket prohibition, though, is countered by experts who have studied breastfeeding and infant sleep.
According to baby sleep expert, James McKenna, co-sleeping a ‘ biological imperative ‘ – babies and mothers are hard-wired to be together, and this doesn’t stop with sleep. For babies, sharing sleep with mom regulates their breathing, temperature, heart rate and more, and they respond to their mom’s movements, keeping them safe as they sleep.
They are able to feed frequently and fall back to sleep easily, sometimes barely waking at all. Mothers across cultures and times have shared a sleep space with their children without adverse effects. Researchers conclude that half of parents report sharing sleep with their babies by age 3 months, and that among breastfeeding parents, 70-80% sleep with their baby at least part of the night.
The best thing to do if you plan to sleep with your baby is to make deliberate choices to make the sleep space as safe as possible. Only bedshare if: ● You are breastfeeding. If you are formula feeding, your baby should sleep in a cot or crib near you.
● You are not a smoker ● You have not been drinking alcohol and are not taking medications that would limit your arousability ● Your baby is healthy and was not born early ● Your baby is lightly dressed and always placed on their back to sleep ● You sleep on a firm mattress that has no places where baby could become entrapped ● You do not have any pillows or fluffy bedding that could cover baby ● You and your partner agree to bedshare ● You do not let any older siblings or pets into bed with you The most dangerous place to fall asleep with your baby is on a sofa or upholstered chair.
So if you feel like you might fall asleep nursing your baby, its better to bring your baby into bed with you and make the sleep space safe. If you are expecting or are supporting someone who is expecting and would like to prepare themselves for breastfeeding success, prenatally, I highly recommend taking our online breastfeeding course.
- Check out a free chapter here.
- This course comes with 9 months of access and a live Q&A with Naiomi Catron RNC,IBCLC.
- If you have more specific questions and would like expert advice from an IBCLC for your individual breastfeeding questions, check us out! Subscribe to Diva Diaries, to get more helpful, current, evidence-based breastfeeding resources.
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