Festive Season and Breastfeeding!
It can be a hard time of year for breastfeeding mums! Everyone is in holiday mode, the sun is shining, there are BBQs, summer parties and you’d like a cold drink on a hot day!
So, what’s the plan for you? Are you exclusively breastfeeding? Can you have a Christmas tipple? A celebratory drink to bring in the New Year? It’s a grey area but … the answer is Yes! It’s your body, your baby, your choice! But there are a few things to consider.
It’s best not to consume alcohol when you are breastfeeding, but if you would like a glass of bubbles…
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Here’s what I’d advise:-
Blood alcohol and breast milk alcohol levels are similar. Alcohol generally peaks around 30 – 60 mins after consumption so……
- Have lots of water after your alcoholic drink.
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach.
- Choose your drink; Will you have a 4% beer or a 20% wine. Have a shandy or a spritzer and lots of ice.
- Have your drink after a breastfeed and try to wait a couple of hours before feeding again.
If you want to drink more than one then it’s safest to express beforehand. You can prepare for the Christmas party or special occasion by expressing to collect enough milk for your baby. Trial your baby on a bottle and teat to make sure they will take it first!
The factors that affect alcohol in breast milk are the same as in your blood stream.
- Have you eaten?
- Are you having a light beer or a G&T?
- Are you 50kgs or 90kgs?
- How quickly did you drink?
There are apps and strips that you can dip into breast milk which tell you what’s safe. My advice would be – if you need to use these then it’s probably best not to breastfeed your baby!
One occasional drink after a breastfeed is O.K. On the occasion you may have had a little more or your baby wakes early and won’t/can’t take a bottle then it’s ok to breastfeed.
Pump and Dump?
Is it really necessary? Well let’s look at alcohol in breast milk. Alcohol doesn’t get stored in breast milk. It metabolises just as it does in your bloodstream, so there’s actually no need to “pump and dump”. You may need to express for comfort if you have had a few wines and are not planning to breastfeed, but it’s a similar rule to blood alcohol – 1 standard drink takes 2 hours to be excreted from your body, 2 drinks takes 4 hours. (on average!). So if you have 2 drinks then you could breastfeed after 6 hours and it would be unlikely there is any trace of alcohol in your breast milk. Expressing doesn’t get rid of the alcohol.
You don’t need to feel excluded from social occasions, just plan ahead!
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me!
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