Alcohol and Breastfeeding By now you may already know that there are plenty of contraindications for breastfeeding mothers.
Whatever the mother consumes can be transmitted to the breastfeeding infant through the milk. It is important that you understand the relationship and possible effects closely so you can make the necessary actions that will ultimately keep both the mother and baby safe.
Here are some tips and guidelines on the process and what you can do:
Mothers usually ask if it is safe to drink one glass of beer or red wine. Most experts would say that it is not entirely dangerous that they do so. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Drugs, alcohol or ethanol is classified as a maternally compatible substance or medication. In simpler terms, experts say that drinking just enough to stay sober for driving, might have the same effect as being sober enough to breastfeed an infant safely. Medical experts say that mothers can take 1 to 2 units of alcohol per week. This, however, applies to “safe” alcohol or drinks. Experts warn about taking shots of vodka, rheum, whiskey or tequila, since these are known to have high alcohol content, compared to light beer or some types of wine.
How Much to Drink?
Mothers are not allowed to breastfeed 2 to 3 hours after they drink alcohol. Lower than 2% of alcohol taken will reach the breast milk. There are also a number of myths revolving around breastfeeding. The first myth is that you can eliminate alcohol from the breast milk by expressing it first for a few drops before you feed your baby. You do not need to pump and dump the milk right after alcohol consumption. The process will not hasten the elimination of alcohol from the breast milk. A second myth says that drinking alcohol will improve the milk supply of mothers. This is not true, since alcohol has been show to lower the availability of breast milk among mothers.
Things to Consider When breastfeeding and consuming alcohol, you should consider the age of your baby, and the amount of alcohol you’re drinking. People will have different tolerances to alcohol. Newborn babies are known to have immature livers, so small amounts of alcohol might show problems to the baby. Infants have the ability to detoxify alcohol at about 50% the rate of adults at 3 months old. Older infants and toddlers can metabolize alcohol very quickly.
Possible Ill Effects Alcohol and breastfeeding can have possible ill effects, such as inhibiting the let-down function or the ability to express milk. The sleep-wake pattern of infants can also change after being exposed to alcohol in the short term. Alcohol is known to heighten the risk of slow weight gain for infants if the mother takes alcohol daily.
Daily alcohol intake is known to boost the risk for sleeplessness and restlessness among mothers. The gross motor development of infants can also go down with daily alcohol consumption. Mothers should try to monitor their intake regularly.