Can I Have A Glass of Wine Every Night While Breastfeeding?


You might be missing or craving a glass of wine since you’ve not been drinking for nine months.

You probably enjoyed not drinking alcohol while pregnant, or you spent each day counting down days until you can once again enjoy a glass of wine or whatever alcoholic beverage you like.

However, you’re now a breastfeeding mom, and you might ask yourself, “Can I have a glass of wine every night while breastfeeding?‘ Opinions vary regarding this topic, especially on the amount of alcohol a breastfeeding mom can take.

Across the world, approximately 34 percent of women who are of childbearing age do consume alcohol.

A large number of Western women drink alcohol while lactating. That’s why so many people are interested in researching it.

Currently, all the specific side effects of alcohol on children are not yet known.

Medical professionals know some of them, but there is no consensus regarding what would amount to a safe amount of alcohol consumption for breastfeeding children.

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However, there are no benefits for small children with alcohol in their system.

However, as a breastfeeding mom, drinking alcohol is not recommended. The two do not both do not mix well at all. No amount of alcohol is considered safe for your baby to consume, even if you only take a glass of wine.

When you drink alcohol, it goes into your breast milk at similar levels to what’s found in your bloodstream.

A newborn baby doesn’t eliminate alcohol from their body at the same rate as an adult, despite them only being exposed to a fraction of the alcohol you consume.

Alcohol levels in a baby reduce at half the speed of an adult does.

According to research, a newborn baby exposed to one drink a day while breastfeeding might suffer from impaired motor development.

It can also affect the child’s sleeping patterns.

Folklore claims alcohol can increase milk production, but studies show it can actually decrease the amount of breast milk you produce. Your child will end up drinking 20 percent less milk than they’re supposed to. In this article, we’ll cover some of the frequently asked questions by lactating mothers regarding alcohol and breastfeeding.

Does alcohol get into my breastmilk?

Yes, alcohol gets into breast milk without a doubt. When consumed, the alcohol levels will reach their highest in your breast milk 30-60 minutes after you drink.

If you had something to eat before drinking or while drinking, it could take around 30-90 minutes. The concentration does drop after some hours if you only have a single drink and don’t continue. After a few hours, most of the alcohol won’t be present in your breast milk.

The alcohol you drink doesn’t get stored in your breast milk. Therefore, when the liver metabolizes the alcohol, the level in the breast milk will drop, just like the blood alcohol level drops.

Do you need to dump and pump?

If you aren’t aware of what pumping and dumping means, it simply means you don’t let your baby consume the milk you’ve squeezed out using a breast pump at a particular time. You dispose of that milk, you pump and “dump” it in a sink.

You might think this is a safe way to have a glass of wine every day because you can simply pump and dump it. However, this isn’t beneficial at all. You can do it if the reason is discomfort, and you need to express it for relief.

The alcohol level in your breast milk will drop as your blood alcohol drops, hence pumping and dumping won’t speed up the process.

The breast milk that you express with the alcohol still in your system will contain alcohol still. The alcohol won’t leave your breast milk just because you’re pumping it out, but you’ll need to discard all of it.

Hoe long should you wait after drinking alcohol to breastfeed?

The alcohol levels will take longer to leave your system if you have a lot of drinks.

According to different studies, the amount of alcohol present in your breast milk is less than the amount of alcohol you drink.

Therefore, your baby will only consume a small amount.

The amount your baby ingests is only a fraction of what you’ve had.

Some other studies show that there is a period you should wait before you breastfeed your baby after you’ve had a glass of wine or whatever type of alcohol you drink.

The amount of time you need to wait does vary, depending on a few things, including:

● The speed at which you’re consuming the alcohol. The time it takes your liver takes to detoxify the alcohol in your body won’t be sped up with exercise, coffee, or even taking a cold shower

● How much food you’ve had and what you ate

● How much you weigh also matters

If you’re a breastfeeding mom who drinks moderate amounts of alcohol, then you can go back to breastfeeding immediately after you go back to feeling neurologically normal. If that’s hard to figure out, you can use the general rule of, if you’re sober enough to drive, then you’re sober enough to feed your baby.

Not everyone can metabolize alcohol the same way. Therefore, how quickly your liver can metabolize the alcohol in your system will vary from time to time.

You can even download apps that will help you understand how long you have to wait after drinking before you can breastfeed your child.

According to one study, the amount of alcohol your infant will ingest through breast milk is approximately 5-6 percent of the weight-adjusted maternal dose.

Even when you’re drinking a lot, your infant will not necessarily be subjected to clinically relevant amounts of alcohol.

Nevertheless, most breastfeeding moms opt not to drink. From what research has shown so far, light drinking won’t cause any harmful effects to the child. You should try and avoid drinking until your baby reaches three months of age. Afterward, you can consume it moderately as an occasional treat.

If you consume alcohol, plan ahead

If you know you’re going to have some alcohol, then planning ahead is vital, so you can allow some hours for your body to metabolize the alcohol before you breastfeed your baby next. Another helpful option is you can enjoy a glass of wine while breastfeeding your infant.

They would have already finished feeding by the time the alcohol gets into your system. Therefore, if you feel like you need that glass of wine, you can still enjoy it. However, that might not work for you, and you might feel like you need complete peace of mind.

In that case, you can merely express your breast milk and store it so that you can continue to feed your child on a schedule. It’s not a problem to breastfeed your baby if you end up drinking more alcohol than you expected on a rare occasion and your baby is hungry.

The most important thing you should consider throughout this whole time is the care of your body. As you already know, alcohol does alter the way your brain functions.

When you’re under the influence, you might not be able to make safe decisions when it comes to taking care of your baby. Alcohol consumption will diminish your ability to provide optimal care for your baby.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re breastfeeding them or not. That’s why, as a breastfeeding mom, planning ahead is crucial.

It is irresponsible to make arbitrary decisions to get drunk. Ensure you’ve made safe sleeping arrangements. Don’t sleep with your child after you’ve been drinking.

You should never fall asleep with your baby if you’ve been consuming alcohol. It doesn’t matter whether it’s on a settee chair, sofa, or bed. This does not only apply to mothers. This rule applies to all caregivers.

This is because doing that has been highly linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Does drinking alcohol interfere with breast milk supply?

This depends on how much alcohol you drink. According to different studies, alcohol interferes with the balance of hormones (prolactin and oxytocin) involved in controlling the mother’s amount of breast milk.

When you have been drinking moderately, the hormone oxytocin will affect the supply of breast milk, as well as let-down.

The milk ejection reflex, responsible for milk let-down, is also reduced by alcohol, especially if you drink high amounts.

Even if you drink a glass of wine or a beer, it can also interfere with the balance of the hormones that produce breast milk in your body. These effects on breast milk production only last for the period the alcohol is in your system.

If you suffer from chronic alcohol use, the alcohol can potentially lower how much milk you produce in general.

Is it true that alcohol increases breast milk supply?

This is a common myth believed by many breastfeeding mothers. They have been led to believe that alcohol can increase their supply or production of breast milk.

However, it is easy to understand how many women could have been misled by this information. It might have been true in the past because of the methods and ingredients they used to make alcohol.

In comparison to modern techniques, the brewing process used in the past is substantially different. The alcohol content wasn’t as high as in modern times, and the brew was also full of different herbs and grains.

Therefore, the nutritional content in the alcohol was possibly much higher than compared to now. It would probably have helped boost the supply of breast milk a small amount. Hence, there might have been some truth in that in the past.

When it comes to modern methods of brewing alcohol, there are no nutritional herbs and grains present. Instead of increasing the amount of milk you produce, the alcohol leads to a lower supply of breast milk.

According to one study, after drinking alcohol moderately, breastfeeding women had 10 percent less milk during the first 2 hours after drinking. The alcohol percentage is also much higher.

Other studies have shown that breastfeeding babies tend to get 20 percent less milk if they feed within the first four hours after the mother consumes alcohol.

Does drinking alcohol effect a breastfed baby?

There are minor effects on the baby’s behavior if you consume minimal amounts of alcohol occasionally. They tend to be a little irritable and don’t sleep as much.

If exposed to small amounts of alcohol, the time your baby spends asleep might be 25% less. The baby can become a little drowsy and fall asleep but won’t stay asleep for too long.

Breast milk and taste can also be affected by alcohol. That can lead to a change in your baby’s feeding patterns. The child might refuse or be reluctant to feed as long as the breast milk taste and smell have changed due to alcohol.

Another thing is since your milk supply might reduce because of alcohol. Therefore, your baby might appear hungrier after you’ve had a drink.

The long-term effects of alcohol on your breastfeeding baby aren’t exactly clear yet. Further research needs to be done. It’s not smart to drink either in small or high amounts while breastfeeding.

Your baby’s growth might be affected, and they may become drowsy when you drink. When you drink alcohol excessively and breastfeed your child, it can lead to either failure of your child thriving or slow weight gain.

Bottom Line…

It’s not impossible to have a drink while breastfeeding, but you have to do it in moderation.

When you drink alcohol, small amounts will move into your breast milk.

They only come out after your body has metabolized the alcohol, but the milk supply will decrease.

When you occasionally drink alcohol in moderation, your breastfeeding child won’t be adversely affected.

However, if you are used to consuming vast amounts of alcohol regularly, it will be harmful to your baby’s development, and they won’t get enough milk supply to satisfy them.

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Jennifer LoVerde

Hey there! Jennifer here, and I run this website. I am a mommy to one amazing little boy + Childcare and development professional (10+ yrs). I created this website to provide useful information about pregnancy and newborn care, & inspire you to live your best mom life!

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