How Long to Wait to Breastfeed Your Baby After Drinking?

After 9 months of pregnancy without any alcohol, you may desire to say cheers to motherhood with a glass of alcohol. However, can you drink post giving birth to your baby? In case you are breastfeeding your baby, what you ingest can also have an effect on the baby as it is transferred to them via the breast milk. This is the reason females have plenty of questions in their minds regarding drinking alcohol when breastfeeding.

How Long Should I Wait to Breastfeed After Drinking?

First, Pump and Dump Don’t Work

It is often said that you should pump your breast milk post drinking alcoholic beverages and dump it so as to prevent your baby from any exposure to alcohol. However, instead of wasting breast milk, some physicians advise to wait after drinking alcohol. Contrary to the usual understanding, alcohol is not trapped in the breast milk. This is why it is not advised to pump and dump breast milk. The rate of passage of alcohol through the breast milk is the same as the bloodstream. It reaches its peak in your breast milk after ½-1 hour of your first drink. After you have stopped drinking, the level of alcohol falls gradually as it leaves both breast milk and bloodstream. You don’t have to pump blood out of the body to remove alcohol; the same is for breast milk.

For How Much Time Does Alcohol Remain in Breast Milk?

The answer to this question depends on your weight and the quantity of alcohol consumed. How long should I wait to breastfeed after drinking? For instance, a female weighing 120 pounds will take around 2-3 hours to remove 1 alcoholic drink (such as 1 glass of wine or 1 beer) out of the system. If your weight is more or you had greater than 1 drink, then you should adjust the time of waiting accordingly. You can also use the breastfeeding and drinking chart given below:

Mother's Weight (lbs)

1 drink

2 drinks

3 drinks

4 drinks

5 drinks

6 drinks

7 drinks

8 drinks

 

               

91

02:51

05:41

08:31

11:21

14:11

17:01

19:52

22:42

96

02:48

05:34

08:20

11:06

13:53

16:39

19:26

22:12

101

02:44

05:27

08:10

10:52

13:35

16:18

19:01

21:44

106

02:41

05:21

08:00

10:39

13:19

15:58

18:38

21:17

111

02:38

05:14

07:51

10:26

13:02

15:39

18:15

20:51

116

02:35

05:08

07:41

10:13

12:47

15:20

17:53

20:26

121

02:33

05:02

07:31

10:01

12:32

15:02

17:32

20:02

126

02:29

04:56

07:23

09:50

12:17

14:45

17:12

19:39

131

02:26

04:51

07:14

09:39

12:04

14:28

16:53

19:17

136

02:23

04:45

07:06

09:28

11:50

14:12

16:34

18:56

141

02:20

04:40

06:59

09:18

11:38

13:57

16:16

18:36

146

02:18

04:35

06:51

09:08

11:25

13:42

15:59

18:16

151

02:16

04:31

06:44

08:59

11:13

13:28

15:42

17:57

156

02:14

04:26

06:37

08:49

11:02

13:14

15:26

17:38

161

02:12

04:22

06:31

08:41

10:51

13:01

15:11

17:21

166

02:09

04:17

06:24

08:32

10:40

12:48

14:55

17:03

171

02:07

04:13

06:18

08:24

10:29

12:35

14:41

16:47

176

02:05

04:09

06:12

08:15

10:19

12:23

14:27

16:30

181

02:03

04:05

06:06

08:08

10:09

12:11

14:13

16:15

186

02:00

04:00

06:00

08:00

10:00

12:00

14:00

16:00

191

02:00

03:58

05:55

07:53

09:51

11:49

13:47

15:45

196

01:58

03:54

05:49

07:45

09:42

11:38

13:34

15:30

201

01:56

03:51

05:44

07:39

09:33

11:28

13:22

15:17

206

01:54

03:47

05:39

07:32

09:25

11:18

13:10

15:03

211

01:53

03:43

05:34

07:25

09:17

11:08

12:59

14:50

When consuming alcohol with breastfeeding, approach an outing at night differently in comparison to if you are not breastfeeding. Also consider whether you are going to eat when you are drinking. Alcohol is absorbed in the body through small intestine and stomach, so it’s much better if you drink alcohol after eating.

Moreover, if you have to feed your baby immediately after reaching home, then plan your drinks and night accordingly. Take the age of your baby into consideration. Newborn infants may require more frequent feedings. This implies that if your baby is hungry, there may be no time for you to wait for the alcohol to get out of the system so that you can feed your baby.  

How Does Alcohol Affect Breast Milk?

After answering the question “How long should I wait to breastfeed after drinking?” let’s discuss the effects of alcohol on breast milk. The effects of alcohol on breastfeeding are very significant. The ingested alcohol will circulate in your body through the blood and can be passed to the baby via the breast milk. The alcohol enters the blood and breast milk soon after you drink it. Till the time you are not ingesting the suggested quantity of alcohol per day, it may be acceptable for the health of your baby but it may still cause side effects.

The acceptable amount is 0.5 g per one kg of your body weight per day. On conversion, this amounts to one drink per day for females and two drinks per day for males. In other words, it is 2 beers per day for breastfeeding females. Despite this, you should avoid any consumption of alcohol to maintain the health of your baby.

If you are consuming large quantities of alcohol regularly, this may harm your baby. If you have any doubts regarding the compatibility of your drinking habits and breastfeeding, you should consult your physician. If you are intoxicated, you must not breastfeed your baby till the time you are sober completely. Adequate research has not been done on binge drinking or drinking till getting intoxicated by mothers who are breastfeeding. Since, the risks of this habit are not studied, it is not advised to drink and get intoxicated.

Alcohol consumption in large quantities can result in drowsiness, weakness, abnormal gain of weight and deep sleep in the baby and reduced milk ejection reflex in mother. Mothers who drink regularly should not share bed with babies as it will affect their natural reflexes. If the mother drinks excessively, the baby may gain weight slowly or fail to thrive. Moreover, the mother may not be able to breastfeed enough. Her baby may miss breastfeeds, sleep more or they may not suck properly at the breast resulting in reduced intake of milk. The baby may also have delayed development of motor functions.

Can Milk Production Be Enhanced by Beer?

In case you are not having good production of breast milk some people may advise you to drink beer. This is due to the fact that the yeast that is utilized to produce beer is thought to stimulate the release of prolactin, which is a hormone that helps in secretion of breast milk. However, you should note that no studies exist to support this myth about breastfeeding and beer. On the contrary, studies exist to prove the opposite that milk production is inhibited by alcohol. Hence, consuming beer during breastfeeding is not the answer to secrete more milk.

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