- Older mothers with higher educational levels, social class, & income are drinking alcohol while breastfeeding.
- Alcohol freely gets into breastmilk. When you drink alcohol, it passes into your breastmilk in similar concentrations as your blood. Whatever time you breastfeed or pump, you will have the same amount of alcohol in your blood as in your breast milk. Alcohol levels peak about 30-60 minutes after drinking & then gradually fall as your body metabolizes it. The more you drink, the higher levels in your blood & milk & longer it takes to clear it.
- Pumping & dumping is not necessary. Time & your body’s metabolism will clear the alcohol from your blood & breastmilk; this may take several hours depending on how much you drink.
- Mothers who are breast feeding & wish to drink socially may reduce their infant’s exposure by waiting for complete alcohol elimination from their breastmilk. Look for free alcohol & breastfeeding calculators on the Internet, such as http://www.obfocus.com/calculators/alcoholinmilk.htm
- Alcohol affects your breastmilk supply. When you drink, you may find it harder to have letdown & your milk supply & milk flow may be decreased. Drinking alcohol can also change the taste of breastmilk.
- Alcohol in breastmilk directly affects your baby. Alcohol in breast milk is sedating & affects your baby’s sleep patterns. They may wake more frequently or sleep for shorter periods of time.
- A big caution: Recent studies show that excessive & long-term exposure to alcohol in breastmilk negatively affects your baby’s growth & development.
1) You can breastfeed first & then enjoy your drink shortly after. This allows more time for the alcohol to be removed from your body before your baby needs to breastfeed.
2) Have a back-up stash of alcohol-free milk in your freezer to feed your baby in case you ever drink more than you expect.