Many holiday parties and celebrations involve alcohol. Now that your baby is born, you may have questions about alcohol use and breastfeeding. Read on for some answers to common questions.
Is it safe to drink alcohol while I am breastfeeding?
It is safest not to drink alcohol at all when breastfeeding. Alcohol may affect your baby's sleep or decrease the amount of milk she takes at feeding time.
If I drink alcohol, should I stop breastfeeding?
If care is taken to ensure there is enough time for the alcohol to leave your system before your baby needs to eat again, you do not need to stop breastfeeding. If you choose to drink a small amount of alcohol, the best thing to do is feed your baby before you have a drink or pump first so you can use the pumped breast milk to feed your baby.
If you are wondering about breastfeeding after drinking alcohol, it is important to know that alcohol passes through breast milk and can affect your baby. Time is the only thing that will allow the alcohol level in your breast milk to drop. Drinking water, resting, or "pumping and dumping" breast milk will not speed up the elimination of alcohol from breast milk. Wait for 2-3 hours after one drink before breastfeeding. If you drink more than one alcoholic beverage, the amount of time you need to wait before it clears from your system will increase. Portion size, strength of each drink, and a woman's body weight all play a role in how much time it takes to eliminate alcohol. Motherisk has developed a chart to provide guidance. Visit the Motherisk website.
If you are drinking alcohol in large amounts, do not breastfeed.
Best Start Resource Centre's Mocktails for Mom booklet has some great alcohol-free cocktail recipes.