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Avatar universal

Breast Feeding and Alcohol

Hi all, I will be having my first baby this July.  I was aked this question the other day and thought it dosen't hurt get opinions on it.  
My girlfriend is getting married in September.  I plan on breastfeeding my baby so i will have to pump for that evening so my mother can watch her.
Is it safe to have a few drinks if I pump enough milk for my baby for while I am away from her and have her back on my breast the following day?
I am not an advocate for drinking while pregnant or breast feeding...just a question.

19 Responses
279300 tn?1326746678
i would not recommend that. alcohol is passed directly to baby.
Avatar universal
I have read that you can drink alcohol but when you feel it in your bloodstream it is in your breastmilk.  If you have a drink or two you can wait 2 hours before you can breastfeed again but in your case if you pump milk before drinking everything is fine.  Alcohol doesn't stay in the breastmilk so you don't even have to pump and dump the milk.  I am breastfeeding as well and also have a drink once in a while.  Hope this helps.
Avatar universal
Thanks Coetzee, This does help.

300987 tn?1219983665

If you go there and scroll down, there is a chart that gives the approximate time that alcohol takes to get out of your system, based on weight. For example, if you weigh 150 and you have 4 drinks, it will take 9 hours for all of the alcohol to leave your system.
93532 tn?1349370450
I wouldn't. 9 hours isn't the issue...how will you function if you drink 4 drinks? Will you be capable of caring for your child? Will you be able to pump to keep up your supply during your party and the 9 hours following while you sober up?

Drink sparkling water, no confusion involved.
Avatar universal
According to my pediatrician and my OB, the extent to which the alcohol effects you is the same extent to which your child will be effected by the alcohol if you nurse while drinking or pump and save the milk while drinking. I was told I had two options: 1. skip pumping (and obviously nursing) while drinking and for a couple of hours thereafter (until the effects of the alcohol were far out of my system); or 2. pump and dump.

I am sure people will throw a fit over that, but the reality is that the effect that the alcohol has on you is matched in your child who nurses while you are effected. There were many nights that I had a glass of wine and nursed dd a couple of hours later. She was never effected by it because one glass didn't effect me, and I waited several hours anyway just because I wanted to be extremely cautious.

If it was me, I would pump and dump instead of saving the milk, but there is no reason why you can't have a couple of drinks at the wedding if you are not going to nurse your child until the next morning and you ensure that all of the alcohol is out of your system before you feed your baby. Again, I am sure that people will jump all over me for this, but since you have a sitter (therefore won't be carrying the child around with you, etc.) and you won't be nursing that night, the baby can't get the alcohol if you pump and dump.

For more reassurance, I would definitely recommend that you call your ob and peditrician to see if they agree. I verified with mine before I had a single glass of wine because I wanted to be double-sure that nothing would harm the baby. Best wishes!
Avatar universal
Thank you for your posting!  Everyone has different opinions on this topic...some are more "down your throat" than others.  

Your responce seems intelligent and educated.
I will speak with my OB regarding this issue.

93532 tn?1349370450
You must also be aware that your baby will be around 2 mos of age and at the age of 2 months, babies eat a frequently. You will likely need to pump while gone, in the beginning missing feedings wreaks havoc on your supply for a few days. Not only that, your breasts will likely become engorged and/or leak a bit.

On a side not, I am stunned to see your comments on your last post. Responses are deemed "less intelligent" because they are not agreeing that it is okay to drink while nursing a farily young infant? Or "down your throat" because of the same? You asked this question on another forum, didn't like the response, so you ask here. Now that you got an okay, the rest who wasted their time answering you are dubbed stupid and forceful?

Good luck getting tons of help down the road with your questions. Folks don't like to be insulted when giving advice.

Avatar universal
I think you took my posting a little personal!
I actually put in on another one becuase the first forum didn't get alot of responces at first, if it's any of your business!
These forums are for anyone to post OPINIONS.  You don;t have to get personal and pass judgnebt as if you know me.
Thanks for your opinon.
127124 tn?1326735435
Obviously drinking is a higher priority than breastfeeding so why bother at all.    You don't know how the alcohol will affect you after not drinking for so long ( if you haven't drank during pregnancy) and could/would be putting your infant at risk for an accident.  
Avatar universal
I also wanted to let you know that OBs and Pediatricians alike recommend a beer a day if you are having problems having sufficient milk. The hopps (I think that's what it is) in beer increase production. Both Fenugreek (an herb) and a beer/day are recommend by Pediatricians and OBs across the country. (Again, something I recommend checking with your physicians about personally instead of taking someone else's advise). Just thought I would let you know. A close girlfriend of mine and myself were both told to drink a beer a day by our OBs and Pediatricians (we go to different offices) if we could stand the taste because it would increase production. Thanks!

BTW - Most of us certainly do not believe that you value alcohol over your child because you are CONSIDERING having a drink or two at a wedding in two months. Everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion, and I just wanted you to know my opinion. Believe it or not, I am actually a law school graduate and a pastor's wife, so I have a couple of different perspectives from which I come, and these backgrounds strongly influence why I believe what I believe in various posts. I mention that in no way at all to insinuate that my opinion is more credible than any others because all opinions should be viewed equally. I just wanted you to understand where I am coming from. I strongly encourage speaking with YOUR doctors to determine what they believe is best for you because that is what always makes me feel most comfortable as a mother. I wish you the best.
184342 tn?1282588750
This is not a question about "intelligent and educated"-- it is about common sense...  You asked for people opinions and you got them--  when you didn't agree with them you implied that the ones that you didn't agree with were "unintelligent"...  it seems as though you have you mind made up, so why bother asking the question?  You don't have to be rude to people...

and for the record, I think it is fine to have a drink or two while breastfeeding at a function like a wedding-  I would hold off on feeding for a while, perhaps pump more in advance so you don't feed your baby while you have been drinking...  and I wouldn't go overboard-  I'd stick to one or two if I were you...  but opinions are opinions...  

When posting on a forum such as "breastfeeding" you should assume you will get a wide range of comments and opinions...  you don't have to be insulting to people you don't agree with...  
127124 tn?1326735435
a non alcoholic beer would give the benefits of increasing your supply without alcohol.
93532 tn?1349370450
I have a feeling this point it moot anyway. I bet when that wedding comes around you won't even want to go. The idea of leaving your new baby for that long, knowing how painful your breasts will be may very well be enough to convince you to make an appearance, watch the nuptuals and get back home.
184342 tn?1282588750
true andi, if nothing else BryLo, you are going to be just too tired to stay too late anyway...  when my new son was 4 or 5 weeks old my husband and I had a date night and his sister kept our kids,  I pumped enough in advance so that we could go to a little dancehall and see a singer we really liked...  we needed some alone time...  but after just a couple of hours I was so exhausted I needed to go home, pump and go to bed...  Andi is right,  your breasts will get VERY engourged (sp??) and hurt and leak ALL over the place...  just keep that in mind!
171768 tn?1324230099
at 4 weeks pp, i went to a wedding. i pumped right before, once there, and in the car on the way home. it was our first evening out without the baby and it was WONDERFUL. sure i was tired, but i had a blast. i had made arrangements to pump in the bridal suite, but ended up pumping in my car because i was more relaxed there.

i was working with a lactation consultant at the time. she encouraged us to go, and told me to relax i deserved it. when i asked about having a drink she said i certainly earned at least one or two. She said to have a drink as soon as i got there, and then pump 2 hrs later. If i wanted to go crazy i could have another right after pumping. she told me that as long as i didn't feel the effects of the alcohol when i pumped, the milk would be fine. if i was really concerned, i could just dump it.

I stayed out of this topic til now because i have a lot of respect for many who have posted here. but this is an issue that i feel differently about than some. i am NOT advocating drinking while breast feeding, but it does bother me a little that at times people imply that you are a bad mother or your priorities are wrong if you want an occasional drink. i had 3 lactation consultants, my OB, and my pediatrician all say that occasional drinks are OK. Even the government provides guidelines that include it being ok to have a drink every now and then.

but all of this debate is off from her original question, which was "Is it safe to have a few drinks if I pump enough milk for my baby for while I am away from her and have her back on my breast the following day?"

Is it safe to have a few drinks if her baby is drinking pumped milk while she is away? yes. The baby will be back on the breast the next day. Is there any chance that the milk the baby gets at that time has any alcohol in it? No.

Now, if she had asked, "I plan on getting tanked a my friend's wedding and then going home nursing, and cosleeping with my baby" I may have responded differently.

Her baby will be 2 months old by then. I think that is a perfect time to spend an evening away from your baby, especially since the baby will be left with someone you trust.

anyways, that's my 2 cents. was I a terrible mother for having the occasional drink? i would think not. i never drank close to pumping time. and i never saw any difference in dd. and honestly, i rarely finished more than a half a beer in a sitting. i went through h-e-l-l to provide my dd with breast milk.  i would not have done what i did if drinking were a higher priority for me than providing her with the best nutrition. good luck with breast feeding and congratulations on your baby.
93532 tn?1349370450
I guess I just fail to see why drinking is so important. I grew up with an alcoholic mother who drank daily and was abusive. I kind of have a bad taste for alcohol as a result. I go for years between drinks. While nursing it never occurs to me to want a drink, same with being pregnant. I have been to dinner and am perfectly fine with water, tea, juice, or even a soda.

I just don't associate going out or celebrating with drinking. To each their own.
Avatar universal
AndiJ78 - I understand now where you are coming from, and I can totally understand your opinion. I appreciate your willingness to post.

tiredbuthappy - You and I sound very similar in how we nursed. By the time dd was two months old, I was able to skip a feeding without feeling engorged (and I was definitely compared to a cow in regards to my production level by some other nursing mothers). I was very fortunate in how my body responded, and I am grateful for your response on this forum too.

BryLo - I understood your second post to thank me for referrencing what my ob and peditrician said. I did not feel that you were saying in the second post that anyone was less intelligent for responding differently. I didn't realize how much of a debate this would raise when you posted it. I like to see the different opinions/responses of others (after all, that is what this site is about ... helping one another out by providing opinions), so I am grateful that you posted it. Whatever you choose to do, I hope you have a wonderful time!
164559 tn?1233708018
Brylo, my guess is that you won't feel like leaving your baby that young.  I actually sang in a wedding in October when Nadia was 7 weeks old.  I took her along, DH sat in the back and she slept through the ceremony.  Then I nursed her and we went to the reception.  I didn't stay for the dance, I was too tired.  I didn't drink at all as I personally hate pumping.  I would prefer to not touch a drop until she is weaned.

My advice is to expect to be tired and not in the partying frame of mind when your baby is so young.  

And for the record, my doctor does not say a drink or two is okay.
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