Alcohol and Breastfeeding: Everything You Need to Know
Drinking while breastfeeding is a common topic of discussion among new parents. It's so common, in fact, that we repost this quote by well-known Canadian physician, Dr. Jack Newman, every so often for our new followers:
“The alcohol content in breastmilk immediately after drinking is equivalent to a 0.0274 proof beverage. That’s like mixing 1 oz of 80 proof vodka (one shot) with 2919 oz of mixer. 2919 oz is over 70 liters. Two hours after drinking one (strong) drink the alcohol has disappeared from the sample. Completely harmless to the nursing infant...
Two hours after imbibing in three drinks the milk was 0.01258 proof. That would be like adding 1 oz of 80 proof vodka to 3179 oz of mixer (over almost 80 liters). So, even though the infant has much less body weight, [any of these percentages of] alcohol in breast milk is unlikely to adversely affect the baby. Bottoms up!”
With that in mind, here are some great ways to feel empowered and in control while consuming alcohol throughout your breastfeeding journey:
1. Feed or pump prior to when the party starts. Knowing baby has a full tummy of untouched breastmilk or a “clean” bottle waiting for them during the festivities is a great way to maintain a clear conscience.
2. Have a drink maximum in your mind and multiply this by two hours per drink, then wait that long to feed or pump again! Had two drinks? Wait four hours after the last drink to feed more freshly pumped milk or place baby at the breast. We never recommend pumping and dumping because, as you can see from the stats above, your breast milk is most likely still super safe!
3. Use those cool little alcohol test strips! Don’t use them if they stress you out or make you feel guilty because remember, they haven’t read the article by Dr. Newman and they couldn’t possibly know your baby. But, if they give you peace of mind and help you stop drinking BEFORE you’re doubting whether or not it’s safe to feed your baby they can be a handy tool!
Just please remember the bottom line: Breastfeeding and effectively caring for your baby should be your TOP priority. You want to be as healthy as possible for yourself AND for baby. Be present for every moment so you don’t miss any!