Alcohol While Breastfeeding: Risks vs Rewards
Consuming alcohol while breastfeeding, a hotly debated topic among parents.
You’ve spent the last nine months being the perfect baby carrying vessel, no wine, no beer, no alcohol. You can’t wait to have a night out with friends and enjoy some nice vegan wine and cheese, but is it safe to consume alcohol while breastfeeding.
Most of us have heard, and maybe practiced, the “pump and dump” method, where while drinking and immediately after, you use a breast pump to expel your milk, then dump it out instead of feeding it to your child. This may seem like a good option until you weigh the pros and cons. Is it really that important to you to have alcohol, when you could have an extra meal for your child, or for donation if you have an overflowing milk supply?
It is very possible for the same amount of alcohol that gets into your bloodstream to get into your breastfeeding baby’s bloodstream. Even though one glass of wine seems small and harmless, the problem is that your babies liver is highly undeveloped and does not have the strength to process the alcohol. This is especially true if your child is less than three months old because her liver will be processing alcohol at half the rate as you.
Even worse, in a study of one-year-old toddlers, there was a lack of development in those who were breastfed by mothers who consumed alcohol. The studies result have not been duplicated but should be viewed as an extreme warning for all mothers.
With inconsistent studies and opposite ends of the argument in anecdotal tales, there is no way to determine whether or not it is okay to consume alcohol while breastfeeding. Since your baby’s liver is slightly more developed after the three-month landmark, it is best to completely abstain from alcohol altogether until she is three months old.
Remember though, is the risk really worth the indulgence in alcohol while breastfeeding? It is up to you to decide.
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