A is for Alcohol - Can I Breastfeed and Bottom's Up?

Alcohol .jpg

Because this question gets asked OFTEN. 

Most of us should know by now that alcohol in pregnancy is a big ol' 'nope'. The research and evidence tells us that anything but abstaining from your favourite alcoholic bevy is the way to go. 

But the more common questions we get is: 

 

Can I drink while I breastfeed? How much? Will it harm my baby? Should I pump and dump my milk? 

 

Parameters for alcohol consumption and breastfeeding seem be a bit less clear, but the current discussion suggests that the transfer of alcohol to baby through breastfeeding is minimal. “Two glasses a day” is a typical guideline given for safe consumption (breastfeeding or not, more than about 1-2 6oz glasses of alcohol is detrimental to your health), and the research seems to suggest that there is minimal transfer or impact on the infant. The information available also seems to agree that there is no need to express and dispose of your milk, and nursing as usual is typically recommended. The benefit of baby receiving your breastmilk seems to be greater than any minuscule amount of alcohol that may pass through your milk. 

The most important issue when it comes to alcohol consumption is keeping your coherence and mental state in check. The primary caregiver of an infant should be able to safely care for that infant without being compromised by the consumption of alcohol or other state-altering substances or medications.

It is especially important that you do not bed-share under any circumstances if either parent is under the influence of alcohol. This poses a significant risk for the infant, and baby should be kept in it’s own crib if either parent has had significant alcohol consumption. 

Is a post birth celebratory glass or two an acceptable option after your birth? Check out the articles below, speak with your doctor, and decide for yourself. The available information seems to suggest that you can safely enjoy snuggling up this fall with a blanket, a good movie, and your favourite glass of wine.

Safe Sleep & the Breastfed Baby and Alcohol and Breastfeeding 

See Jack Newman's Facebook post about alcohol and breastfeeding here. 

*This information should not be taken as medical advice, and does not replace the advise of your primary care provider on the safety of alcohol consumption and breastfeeding.*

- Andrea