Breastfeeding is the perfect way to eat. With every movement of your baby, you are eating a bite or two.
Some foods are better when you eat them while others are better if you wait until after your baby has napped or drinks have been offered.
Many flavors of breast milk are appealing, making it easy to drink too much. Sometimes too much alcohol can damage your baby’s liver, making it necessary to keep drinking to treat his depression.
Some doctors recommend no more than 1–2 ounces (30–60 milliliters) of alcohol per day for babies under one month, and no more than 3–4 months unless there is a medical need for more. Most babies outgrow this level in about a month, but for the safety of the baby, it is helpful to stay within those limits.
Talk to your doctor
It’s common for women to drink when they enjoy it and it helps them relax. However, it’s also important to keep a woman on her diet while breastfeeding.
Many foods are high in alcohol such as wine, cocktails, and spirits. This can make it difficult to stick to your daily breastfeeding plan of only water during feeding. While drinking is not recommended during breastfeeding, there are some benefits.
Some benefits of alcohol consumption during pregnancy are not true for postpartum periods. Women who are past the point of consumption have a lower risk for infant mortality and morbidity. Additionally, neonates who do not have sufficient brain development cannot recognize the effects of alcohol as an intoxication and may die from aspiration or burning of the throat when vomiting.
As infants who do not undergo adequate development remain at risk for several months after birth, it is best to avoid alcoholic beverages until they are needed.
Know your baby
While it may be tempting to drink while breastfeeding, you should know your baby is vulnerable to alcohol during breastfeeding.
Drinking can hurt your baby’s brain development by increasing blood alcohol levels in the milk. This can lead to poor dia- rection and crying when they want a drink. Even if your baby does not drink enough milk to require a bottle, there are still risks.
Although most mothers who try drinking while breastfeeding report no problems, some find symptoms of drinking (such as feeling drunk or slight hangover effects) or reduced milk production (symptoms of dryness, fatigue, and morning headaches). Some even experience decreased breast pain or none at all.
If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or your baby, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Keep alcohol away from breastfeeding babies
It is normal to drink alcohol while breastfeeding. Most women find that two to three drinks per hour is adequate to get them through the feeding process and for after the feeding.
Most women start drinking around five to seven minutes after giving the first drink, so that is half an hour of drinking before you feed your baby. Most women don’t finish their drink until after the baby has fallen asleep.
Some women report their baby seems more alert and attentive after a few drinks, which may be positive when you are trying to keep your drinking low to prevent blackouts. Other reports say it does not make a difference for or against breastfeeding, as babies do not seem to benefit from the alcohol in their milk.
While most babies do fine without any alcohol, some infants may be affected by low levels of maternal intake.
Offer water instead
If a woman does try alcohol, she should offer water instead. This is due to two reasons.
The first is that Alcohol can be harmful to an infant. This is known as alcoholic drink consumption during breastfeeding.
Talk to your baby’s doctor
It’s normal for a newborn to try to eat their mother’s milk when they are hungry. About one out of five babies will not only finish the milk but will also take it!
Some mothers decide to drink alcohol while breastfeeding. The amount of alcohol a mother drinks while breastfeeding is very limited, and can even be controlled.
However, if the mother chooses to drink alcohol, then her baby has the opportunity to get some in their mouth. There is some research to support that children who were able to drink when they were thirsty and wanted it may be more independent on how they got it.
If your baby likes alcohol, make sure it is minimal and slow intake is needed. If your baby does not like breastfeed or does not show signs of drinking during feed, then no worries! Both have excellent benefits.
Know the risks
While some risk factors can be alleviated by breastfeeding, mother-baby bonding, and health benefits of alcohol are not to be ignored, nor are the risks reduced.
Mothers who drink alcohol during breastfeeding will increase their baby’s exposure to the effects of that alcohol. This can increase how much milk they receive and process, which can make more than one take is necessary for an adequate amount of alcohol for the breastfeeding process.
In addition to that, infants who are habituated to alcohol may drink more than their mother does. This can lead to overconsumption and negative effects on baby’s developing skills in coordination, language development, and socialization.
Fathers should be supervised when drinking with infants or children because they may pose a risk if they get too intoxicated.
Less is better
Most mothers decide to limit their drinking to one or two beers or one glass of wine during the first week or two of breastfeeding. This is usually due to the increased risk of oxygen deprivation and bacterial spread.
Bacteria can thrive in your milk and/or on your baby when you do not control your drinking. There are a few studies that suggest no more than two beers per day is okay, but most experts agree that is too much even for most mothers.
Most fathers do not feel comfortable telling their baby that they drank something because they don’t believe it will help them grasp the difference between beer and Mom’s milk. Also, many parents find it hard to say no to the second beer because their bodies have needed time to recover from the first one.
If you want to drink more than two beers, then go ahead! Just be aware of how long it takes you both physically and emotionally to recover from the alcohol intake.
Avoid hard alcohol
Hard alcohol includes wines and beers that are not sugar-based. Most breastfeeding women should avoid these drinks because of the calories and alcohol content.
Most men do not realize that milk contains alcohol, making it a potent sedative. Because breastfeeding women drink less milk than men, this can be a significant savings account money maker.
However, when the man is nursing, his milk consumption may be lower than expected which can cost the mother money. A male-dominated drinking culture may also result in higher intake of alcoholic beverages than necessary.
Most women should NOT drink more than they need to during pregnancy and postpartum, although some women seem to enjoy it. The average woman consumes between 10–15 grams (2–8 ounces) of alcohol per day during pregnancy, and 5–6 cups (800–1000 ml) of coffee or tea per day during pregnancy increases that amount significantly.