Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I am not a huge drinker. 2 beers and I am usually toast. At a Christmas dinner at my own house last year, I had a whole bottle of wine over a couple of hours and I fell asleep before dinner was done. That was a rare occurrence in the last 7 years that I can remember something like that happening. So, when I got pregnant, I didn't think anything of the no alcohol thing. 3 months in now, I crave beer every now and then. And, I keep looking to that light at the end of the 6 month tunnel in front of me.

However, I have received almost unequivocally this gem from people when I state that I want a huge mug of beer after I give birth: "oh, you can't drink after that if you want to breastfeed." Not ever having dealt with this question before, I only had certain myths in my mind like drinking 2 hrs before breastfeeding is fine.

So, I decided to look it up. According to, "Although these experts disagree about the length of time between drinking and breastfeeding, one thing they all agree about is that mothers who drink while breastfeeding should only do so moderately and "moderate" means no more than two drinks per day."

2 drinks per day? I wasn't even going there but yay. I am not going to be guzzling down booze after I give birth but it's nice knowing that I can enjoy my occasional bottle of beer on a Saturday and not be told I was making my baby an alcoholic.

Dr. Jack Newman, member of the LLLI Health Advisory Council, says this in his handout "More Breastfeeding Myths": Reasonable alcohol intake should not be discouraged at all. As is the case with most drugs, very little alcohol comes out in the milk. The mother can take some alcohol and continue breastfeeding as she normally does. Prohibiting alcohol is another way we make life unnecessarily restrictive for nursing mothers.

According to
  • Breastfeed your baby before taking alcoholic beverages. Avoid breastfeeding during and for 2-3 hours after drinking alcohol.
  • Pumping does not get rid of the alcohol in breast milk quicker.
  • If you drink enough to feel “high,” experts advise waiting several hours before nursing the baby. You can pump during this time if you feel uncomfortably full.
  • Consult your doctor about the need for discarding milk for 2 hours after drinking alcohol. It may not be necessary.
  • When a big celebration is planned, arrange for someone sober to help care for the baby.
  • Avoid drinking excessive alcohol. Seek help from your doctor if you are concerned about your alcohol use.
  • Some medications interact with alcohol. Check with your doctor.
So, there!

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