A common question we get in our community of moms begins with “Can I breastfeed if….” And it’s no wonder! We are told to avoid everything from roller coasters to alcohol to X-rays while pregnant, and the conflicting recommendations can carry over after birth when our body is still nourishing our little ones. So today we are launching a new series, “Can I breastfeed if…” and we will discuss some commonly asked questions about the safety of various activities and substances while pregnant. If you have a question share it on instagram with the hashtag #canibreastfeedif and we will repost and answer our favorites!
Can I breastfeed if I plan to drink alcohol?
The short answer is yes when done with a few guidelines in mind. The American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding recommends that mothers limit their alcohol intake while breastfeeding, and ingest no more than 2 oz. liquor, 8 oz. wine, or 2 beers, as well as abstain from breastfeeding for about 2 hours after drinking to further minimize any alcohol in breastmilk. (1)
Pumping and dumping shouldn’t be necessary when following the above guidelines as it does not reduce the alcohol in milk any faster. Just be sure to feed baby right before leaving home and consuming your alcohol fairly soon after arriving. This gives the alcohol time to work its way out before becoming reunited with baby. Since milk is made from your blood, once your own blood alcohol level has gone down, so has your milk’s alcohol level.
So feel safe to enjoy that holiday eggnog and return to breastfeeding a few hours later. Do you have any questions for us in this series? Let us know in the comments and on social. Lots more info about how substances and food interact with breastmilk in my video classes.
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Thanks for stopping by,
Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC
Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk. (2012, March). Pediatrics, 129(3), 842-856. Retrieved from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/3/e827