Breastfeeding is a great way to give your child the nutrition they need while providing valuable bonding time for the two of you. Many women have questions about what they can and cannot do while breastfeeding. It’s common to want to know what you can eat and drink and how the things you do can impact your baby. One of the most common questions is about alcohol and breastfeeding. Do you have to stop drinking until your baby weans? Is one drink okay? Depending on the source, a woman can receive a number of answers.
Alcohol and Breastfeeding
You do not need to completely abandon alchohol while you’re nursing. However, it is important to be smart about drinking and to know how alcohol impacts breast milk. If a woman drinks alcohol, it may be found in her breast milk just as it could be found via a blood test. The amount of alcohol in the breast milk is directly related to how much alcohol a woman has to drink. The greater the volume of alcohol, the higher its presence in breast milk.
Studies have shown that alcohol levels in breast milk reach their maximum about an hour after consumption. In two to three hours, the alcohol from a single serving of alcohol will be completely processed out of a woman’s system. It will no longer be present in the blood stream or in breast milk. The more a woman drinks, the longer the process takes.
Nursing after Drinking
Ideally, you should wait until the alcohol is out of your system before nursing. If you’ve had a single glass of wine, that may be as little as a couple of hours. To ensure you have milk available, you can pump beforehand so that you have milk available. For women with supply issues, it may make sense to pump after consuming alcohol and to dump that milk. The goal here is to send your body a message that it must continue to make more milk. For women without supply issues, waiting to nurse until the alcohol leaves your system is sufficient. There are tests available that allow you to be sure that all of the alcohol is out of your breast milk.
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