Doctors make the rule for alcohol during pregnancy very clear: it should be avoided. But the advice becomes a little murkier when mom is breastfeeding. While this is clearly a personal decision, most healthcare professionals agree that it’s okay for mom to have an occasional drink while breastfeeding – which means toasting in the New Year with a glass of champagne!
Here are some guidelines and tips that Lansinoh moms have found especially helpful:
- Avoid drinking alcohol for the first three months of breastfeeding as your baby’s liver is too immature to process alcohol quickly.
- Feed your baby first and then enjoy your drink, which should give you a 2-3 hour window before you need to breastfeed again. “Nursing should take place two hours or longer after the alcohol intake to minimize its concentration” in the breastmilk.
- If your baby is sleeping through the night, or for extended periods of time, breastfeed your baby and put them down for the night before having a drink. This will give your body time to get your blood-alcohol levels back down before you need to feed baby again.
- If you are uncomfortable giving your baby any breastmilk if you have had a drink, pump breastmilk prior to drinking and feed baby that expressed breastmilk.
- You should still pump at the time you would normally feed the baby to maintain your milk supply. Despite a popular myth, there is no need to “pump and dump” your breastmilk after drinking alcohol, other than for your comfort if you are feeling full or swollen. Pumping and dumping does not speed the elimination of alcohol from your milk.
- Contrary to old wives tales, alcohol does NOT increase milk production. In reality, milk volume is reduced after one standard drink and two drinks or more may inhibit let-down.
- Be sure to drink plenty of water while consuming alcohol to avoid dehydration.
As with all parenting decisions, it’s wise to arm yourself with the latest information so you can make an educated decision that’s best for your family.