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Newborn and Infant Care

When to breastfeed again after having 6 beers

06/23/2006

Question:

i plan on breastfeeding ... i know enough to know to put out extra milk for a day if this is possible that i could produce that much breast milk... if not i know to buy formula as a backup i want to drink some beers shortly after my childbirth probably when my baby is 1 month i would like to drink some beers (6) ... i also know that after drinking these beers i need to pump out this breastmilk and throw away.. how many times should i pump my breasts to get the alchol out &/or how long do i have to wait till i can breastfeed again... to make sure my baby doesn`t get any alchol.

Answer:

That's a tough question because there are no clear guidelines. We do know that alcohol passes freely into breastmilk and that alcohol levels peak in the mother's blood 30-90 minutes after drinking, faster when not eating, more slowly when eating. The amount of alcohol in the breastmilk matches the level in the mother's bloodstream. The amount of alcohol in the breastmilk peaks with the mother's blood alcohol level. If you are feeling intoxicated, you should not nurse again until you are sober.

Most experts agree that one beer, one glass of wine or one mixed drink is not cause for the interruption of breastfeeding. However, recommendations for the discarding of breastmilk after consuming more than one drink vary from discarding all breastmilk for 2 hours to up to 8 hours after drinking. However, alcohol is not stored in the breasts or breastmilk for long periods of time.

It's a good idea to nurse before consuming more than one drink and important to arrange for a sober, responsible person to care for your baby if you are planning to consume 6 beers at one time. Intoxicated mothers are unable to safely care for their babies. It would be a good idea to discuss the length of time to discard your breastmilk after consuming so much beer with your doctor and, if you are concerned about your drinking, to seek help from your doctor.

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Response by:

Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University