Alcohol while breastfeeding

Does Alcohol Increase Breastmilk Production?
Really? I said “Really” but I get it. There are times when depression kicks in easily after childbirth. The mind wants to take a little rest as well as the body. I do not drink. Therefore, alcohol was not a problem for me when I was breastfeeding Dear Son. In this article, I am documenting my two cents collected from the million-cents of the internet regarding alcohol consumption while breastfeeding.

Does alcohol increase breast milk?

Actually, beer may increase the production of milk a little bit but that is not the alcohol of the beer that stimulates milk-production, rather it is the polysaccharide in beer that increases the milk. Alcohol does no good other than posing many dangers to the child. There is good news — nonalcoholic beers have the same polysaccharide that will increase breast milk. You know what, drinking 2% milk also helps make more milk. Therefore, the idea of consuming beer or any alcoholic beverage to increase milk is totally wrong.

The effects of alcohol on breast milk and the baby

The level of alcohol in the breast milk is usually equal to level of alcohol in the mother’s bloodstream. It takes about 30 minutes for alcohol to reach the breast milk after consumption and change the smell of the milk. There will be a sedating effect on the baby when s/he drinks that breast milk.

There is also a serious impact of heavy drinking on mom’s ability to effectively care for a young child. Handling the bundle of utmost softness under the influence is never a good idea, let alone co-sleeping with the baby. The best thing to do would be to avoid moderate to heavy drinking while breastfeeding. Good amount of planning is necessary even for light-drinking.

The liver of an infant under the age of three months can process alcohol at about half the rate of an adult liver. It is better to not drink alcohol at all until the baby is at least three months old if breastfeeding. Baby’s physical growth and motor skill development can be severely affected by alcohol in the breastmilk.

Drinking plan for breastfeeding moms (if drinking is absolutely necessary)

It is not possible to say how much alcohol consumption during breastfeeding is safe because people metabolize alcohol differently. Based on my Internet search, one should drink no more than two standard drinks per week. Staying away from alcohol for the first three months of the baby’s life is the best.

There is no need to pump and dump in an effort to clean milk tainted with alcohol. Alcohol goes back to the bloodstream within three to four hours. That is, there is no need to pump and dump breast milk; just wait four hours. Mom may consider pumping and storing before she starts a drinking-session so that the baby gets alcohol-free milk for at least next couple of hours. As said earlier, please do not try to feed the baby while under the influence. Please let others take care of the baby. If a breastfeeding mom has to drink, it would be best for everyone to make babysitting arrangements before the mom enjoys the drink.

Settle in El Paso team

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37 thoughts on “Alcohol while breastfeeding

  1. Such a very informative topic to tackle about. Many pregnant women are not aware about this and they often see liquors as part of their daily life even though they are pregnant. I know someone a really close friend of mine, she got pregnant accidentally and got depressed on her situation. She always drink alcohol and she even think that it’s the only thing that help her to overcome her unwanted pregnancy. 🙁

    But good thing that her family never stop supporting her all throughout her pregnancy. They help her to understand that alcohol is no good to her health and to her baby. All I know now is the baby and my friend is in a good condition and she also stop drinking alcohol. 🙂

  2. We have a four months old baby and the baby feeds on his mother’s breast. When my wife was pregnant she did not take any kind of alcoholic drinks, not even wine or beer. Now that she is feeding the baby, she is still not taking any kind of alcoholic drink. We wife was pregnant, we read a lot of pregnancy literature and all of them said alcohol is bad.Some of the information in this article was entirely new to me.

    1. Yes, alcohol is totally bad during pregnancy. Extra care must be taken during breastfeeding. Glad to know that did the research.

      Thank you for visiting and commenting. Have a wonderful week.

  3. I don’t think that I would be confident having to see my wife take alcohol before breastfeeding the baby. I mean I see no need for that and I will ensure that I help out anywhere possible to reduce the stress of having my wife to take care of the baby alone. That way, she won’t feel depressed. I will try to be that loving husband to her. Thank you for this awesome piece.

  4. Wow that is so nice of you to post this kind of information. Some young moms tend to do this because they are still engage in happenings or bonding with friends. They still want to drink and have fun. Thanks to this post, all they have to do is before drinking alcohol, they should pump out milk for the baby.

  5. This kind of information should be everywhere, funny thing this is pretty common to see here in Brazil: pregnate woman drinking beer, or even cocktails. Really awful. Good post, cheers!

  6. A few months ago we had a surprise visitor, a friend came from out of state and needed a place to stay for a week while she handled some family matters. She brought along her two children, a two year old and an eight month old. She was still breast feeding the baby. The problem occurred when we realized that she drinks alcohol while breast feeding her baby. My husband and I were astonished. When I say she drinks alcohol while breast feeding, let me clarify… baby on her breast drinking milk for nutrition and sustenance, mom holding a alcoholic beer in other hand and drinking while she is feeding baby. Sometimes she’d even have a second beer during the same feeding. Again, we were rather appalled and questioned her choices. She informed us that she’d done plenty of research and there was no way her drinking of alcoholic beverages could harm her baby in any way. We didn’t feel that could possibly be right, but seeing as we don’t have children and I had done any recent research on the matter, we trusted her judgment on taking care of her child. After reading this article, I do believe that I am back to being appalled.

    1. So sorry to hear this. Alcohol directly affects a baby. I am sad to say this — that mom did not do any research. The baby should be thoroughly checked at a pediatrician’s office.

      Thank you for sharing your friend’s story. Have a wonderful weekend.

  7. I believe it is important that mothers have access to enough information about the risks of drinking alcohol during pregnancy as during breastfeeding. It is not enough to tell them that they can not do it because it is dangerous to the baby’s health, but they also need to know why and how it can harm their children. A very useful post. Congratulations.

  8. I have read that beer increases breast milk production also. I was always too scared to try it though while I was breastfeeding. Not only was I afraid of the effect on my daughter I was also afraid of it relaxing me too much and I’d fall asleep!

    1. Glad to know that you avoided alcohol while breastfeeding. It was defense a wise decision. Thank you for visiting and commenting. Have a wonderful day.

  9. A well-written post. I didn’t know to what extent the alcohol actually affects our baby but I did hear the saying that beer produces more milk a few times – I never tried it though. I care too much about the well being of my boy than to even consider drinking alcohol. I don’t want to judge any mother but once I found out that I was pregnant I cut out ALL alcohol. I didn’t even want to drink it. I felt no desire whatsoever. Just imagining that it would affect my child that’s still in the wound made me lose all interest. Even once he popped out into the world, I didn’t drink it, especially not during breastfeeding. Risking it truly isn’t worth it. I rather have a healthy child 🙂

    1. Absolutely, risking the child’s health is not worth it. Thank you so much for reading and writing the detailed comment. Have a wonderful Monday.

  10. Over 40 years ago when I was nursing my baby, and having a hard time producng enough milk, the doctor told me to have a glass of wine while I sat down to nurse him. Perhaps this explains some things about both of us years later!

    1. Haha … I should not lough.

      Yes, I heard that earlier, it was suggested to drink a little to produce more milk. Pediatric advice changes over time based on recent findings. My Son’s pediatrician suggested not to use Crib Liner because it is now considered unsafe. It was considered safe even a few years ago.

      Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. Have a wonderful rest of the day.

  11. Well research and informative piece.
    Frankly speaking, there is no good justification for drinking alcohol while breastfeeding. As a scientist, understanding the human body before drinking/taking an alcohol is not the same after consuming a glass or bottle of alcohol. A growing fetus in the womb, needs all the important essential nutrients to stay healthy till after delivery.

    More often than not, pregnant mothers who consume alcohol have no idea the health implications of it. Some do it out of depression and others do it because, they can’t just do without it for a considerable period of time.
    However, it is pertinent to not the dangers of alcohol highlighted above during pregnancy. This is one of the reasons why, anti natal care is very important.

    Women, ladies or girls who enjoy taking alcohol MUST stop or limit their alcohol consumption as soon as they are pregnant. If you truly want the best for yourself and especially your unborn baby, it is very necessary to consider the points listed above. The baby deserves nothing but the BEST!

    1. Definitely I am with you ? % A baby really deserves the best. While there is a scope of drinking while breastfeeding, there is no room of alcohol or drugs during pregnancy. Thank you for providing the additional information in your comment. Have a wonderful weekend ahead.

  12. I don’t have a child but this really useful tips for future reference. I will warn my friends to stop them from drinking alcoholic beverages while breastfeeding. I will share this to them so they will know the effects of alcohol to their babies.

    1. Glad to know that you will share this with you friends. Thank you so much for visiting and commenting.

  13. In general there could be isolated instances when a mother would feed the baby after she has consumed alcohol. I would be more concerned about the sedated mother sleeping with the child where there is no guarantee that she would be a responsible mother.

  14. Drinking alcohol is terribly bad for woman either during pregnancy or when breastfeeding.
    From what I know and have read on this post I can confidently say alcohol changes the natural composition of the milk which will be unhealthy or even toxic to the baby. Away from that nursing mother under the influence of alcohol is dangerous, because she could misbehave or be unaware of herself and the baby.

  15. I didn’t drink when pregnant or while breastfeeding so I think I have earned the right to drink more now ( 19 years later!) ??

  16. Most young women I know are cautious about alcohol both during pregnancy and when breast feeding. I’m glad not to have to think about that any more!
    Linda recently posted…A Flurry of EnergyMy Profile

    1. Yes. Definitely. Most women are extra-cautious about alcohol or even caffeine during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Thank you for visiting and commenting. Have a wonderful weekend!

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