Welcome to another week of Tuesday’s Tastes on Second Base! This week Courtney and I are going to talk about a controversial topic: drinking alcohol while being a nursing mama. I saw a news article about a mama who was refused an alcoholic beverage at a restaurant because the waitress didn’t feel comfortable serving her alcohol when she was nursing her child not long before. That article made me think a lot about nursing and alcohol. It even had me looking up recommendations and doctor’s opinions after I read it.
My immediate reaction to this was that I don’t agree with drinking alcohol while being a nursing mama. I’ve even known people who will go out and drink and just “pump and dump” and nurse again the next day. I understand alcohol does leave one’s body, but I just could never bring myself to take a sip while being a nursing mama. Have I ever drank alcohol while being a nursing mama? In the three times I’ve nursed (still on my third time) my children, no, I never have. With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I thought it would be good to remind nursing mamas of some limitations as some may decide to have a drink or two with hubby!
There’s a great reference site called KellyMom.com that I’ve frequented and I even went there to see just what they said about nursing and drinking. Here are the guildelines that they have posted:
- Current research says that occasional use of alcohol (1-2 drinks) does not appear to be harmful to the nursing baby.
- Per Hale (2012), “mothers who ingest alcohol in moderate amounts can generally return to breastfeeding as soon as they feel neurologically normal.”
- The American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding notes: “ingestion of alcoholic beverages should be minimized and limited to an occasional intake but no more than 0.5 g alcohol per kg body weight, which for a 60 kg mother is approximately 2 oz liquor, 8 oz wine, or 2 beers. Nursing should take place 2 hours or longer after the alcohol intake to minimize its concentration in the ingested milk.”
- Many experts recommend against drinking more than 1-2 drinks per week.
- There is no need to pump & dump milk after drinking alcohol, other than for mom’s comfort— pumping & dumping does not speed the elimination of alcohol from the milk.
- Alcohol does not increase milk production, and has been shown to inhibit let-down and decrease milk production (see below).
- If you’re away from your baby, try to pump as often as baby usually nurses (this is to maintain milk supply, not because of the alcohol). At the very least, pump or hand express whenever you feel uncomfortably full – this will help you to avoid plugged ducts and mastitis.
There you have it. That’s what “they” say. So, it seems professionals think its okay to have an occasional drink, just not a lot. Even after reading all of that and many other sites I personally do not feel comfortable drinking any alcohol while being a nursing mama and I will continue being alcohol free until my nursing days are over. Do I think nursing mamas should be refused drinks at restaurants…that’s a tough one. I want to say yes because the workers at the restaurant don’t know if the mama just had two other drinks before getting there. But then again, if baby isn’t with mama and nursing they won’t know she’s nursing anyway. I realize it’s the responsibility of the mama to limit herself and I truly hope those mamas who do have an occasional drink do limit themselves and keep baby safe.
This is a very controversial topic. Please remember to respect everyone’s individual opinions. We all have different opinions and that’s what makes our world so colorful and fun! We’d love to hear your thoughts, link up below!