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Breastfeeding And Alcohol

Conflicting views have been circulating about breastfeeding and alcohol. Some of the opinions are against breastfeeding and alcohol. Yet there are certain doctors who hold the view that alcohol consumption during breastfeeding is fine. But you have to take alcohol in a moderate amount. Alcohol amount in breast milk is highest, about sixty-ninety minutes after consumption with food. If alcohol has been taken in an empty stomach, it will be found some thirty-sixty minutes later. It is better to avoid strong alcohol, as it will take about thirteen hours to remove the effects of alcohol if you have consumed even one drink. The effects of lighter drinks will be eliminated, some two-three hours after drinking.

Initially, babies during breastfeeding will be drinking colostrums. During this period, the liver of babies will not be developed fully. So babies will have difficulty in detoxifying and processing the alcohol. Only after the baby gets older, the metabolic rate of alcohol increases. So it is better not to drink while breastfeeding. But if you can’t control your craving for alcohol, then drink just after you have finished your feeding. This will give time for alcohol to pass from your body before it is time for the next feed.

Current research reveals that you can have alcohol occasionally, as it will not harm your baby when you breastfeed. According to medical experts, while breastfeeding, mothers must take only two units of alcohol or less than that in a week. If you breastfeed about two to three hours after consuming lighter alcohol, only below 2 % alcohol will be present in breast milk. Excessive consumption of alcohol can be risky as babies can suffer from weakness; drowsiness, heavy sleep and development of mental faculties getting retarded and weight gain being abnormal.

Effects Of Alcohol On Breastfeeding

  • Consuming more than two drinks can inhibit your letdown.
  • If mothers drink small amount of alcohol, the baby’s sleep pattern is affected.
  • If mothers consumed alcohol daily, then babies will gain weight in a slower rate.
  • The gross motor growth can be reduced for babies of mothers who drank daily, even in limited quantities.
  • There is the possibility that the milk might taste and smell differently and babies might be put off breast milk.

Myths About Breastfeeding And Alcohol

  • It is necessary to dump breast milk by pumping and then feeding the baby later. You can’t speed up the removal of alcohol from breast milk through the process of pumping and disposing off the milk. You can do it only to prevent engorgement.
  • It is said that drinking will increase the amount of milk produced. In reality, it will only decrease the quantity of milk supply.

It has finally been concluded by some research that breastfeeding and alcohol are compatible if taken moderately. But you must keep track of your drinking pattern – how much you have consumed, time of consumption, planning ahead before drinking alcohol. For instance, you can express milk and set it aside to give the baby while your body is recovering from the aftereffects of alcohol.

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