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Breast feeding and alcohol... Your experiences?

(38 Posts)
Bellyrub1980 Sat 20-Dec-14 07:27:29

I recently posted a question about caffiene and realised I'd probably been restricting myself unnecessarily.

So now I'm thinking alcohol....! Again, I've not touched a drop.

The NHS website says 1-2 units 1-2 times a week.

Have you drank alcohol while breast feeding? Have you noticed any adverse effects?

If you do enjoy the odd drink, what system do you use? Dump your milk? Or do you just leave a bit of time between drinking and feeding? Or do you carry on as normal?

creamoftomato Sat 20-Dec-14 07:38:02

no restrictions whatsoever here (except those imposed by being bloody exhausted and wanting to be in bed by 9:30 at the absolute latest) and just carrying on as normal, DS is 8mo and I've been drinking as normal. As far as I know the common sense rule is that if you're sober enough to look after the baby you're sober enough to bf smile wine

In our nct breastfeeding class one of the dad's was shock that the bf counsellor said bf mums could eat and drink anything they liked!

purpleapple1234 Sat 20-Dec-14 07:41:54

I drank when breast feeding. Bear in mind that the amount of alcohol that the baby will get through the breast milk is very very little (I would say if any, but some biology expert will point that some tiny amount would get through). But I was mix feeding dd from about two weeks anyway. She would have one or two bottles a day from her dad, so when I fancied the odd drink that is when she would have her one or two bottles. It worked out fine. My sister always had a store of expressed breast milk to hand (she was a perfectionist who insisted that her baby was not going have any formula before 6 months). But the principle is the same.

I personally think (I may get a right-telling off for this), but these low alcohol guidelines are too prevent mothers getting rat-arsed when they have such a tiny precious baby to look after. More about the baby not bouncing off the changing table because the mother has had a bottle of wine than the harm of alcohol being in the breast milk. IMHO when they are younger you can get away with having a little more to drink. They are usually asleep or doing bugger all anyway. It is when they are older and running around or can see how alcohol changes your personality that far more harm can be done to them both physically and emotionally. But it is far harder to tell adults to only drink 1-2 units 1-2 times a week just because they have kids. Anyway... Treat yourself to a drink, it'll be fine and you've earnt it :-)

Bellyrub1980 Sat 20-Dec-14 09:18:50

I have to admit.... I'm not sure I could get through christmas without wine or cider (West Country girl)

WishUponAStar88 Sat 20-Dec-14 09:25:59

I have a drink probably 2-3 times a week. Usually after dd has gone to bed as then it's 6-8 hours before she'll be fed again. I have had a small glass of wine with a meal a handful of times and fed straight away and noticed no affects on dd. I didn't touch a drop when pregnant - 9 months tee total is more than enough for me!!

mupperoon Sat 20-Dec-14 09:31:50

I've had a glass of red or two most days since the birth 4 months ago. I had a terrible time establishing bf and the wine really helped relax me (and helped with the pain). My little girl is now asleep between 7/8 and midnight anyway, so the alcohol will have been processed by the time I feed her at 3am...

I agree that the guidelines err massively on the side of caution, as they do for most medicines (am really suffering with a cold and sore throat but can only take paracetamol according to the pharmacist!)

squizita Sat 20-Dec-14 11:41:05

Search threads on here - Tiktok gives excellent advice which summarises as if you don't feel drunk you're ok.
The nhs don't want an irresponsible mum dropping her baby then saying no one told her not to get tanked, hence tge cautious advice.

My nct bf lady said a glass or two with food was fine and indeed just not to get "drunk" ...

tiktok Sat 20-Dec-14 11:46:56

Ermmmmm.....I don't quite say that, squizita smile

Other people may say that - I don't.

It's up to the mum to look up the info and decide. Very little gets into the milk anyway, and it disappears at the rate of 1-1.5 hrs per unit.

Breastfeeding Network info sheet on alcohol is very good.

squizita Sat 20-Dec-14 11:47:27

creamoftomato it really grinds my gears when men slip from being bf supportive to having (often unrealistic / restrictive ) opinions. So mansplaining. I've heard them say no drink, coffee ... even no to using scarves as it "let's the side down". Not getting it that while no one can be told to drink or use a scarf ... it is OUR BODY and in bf the menz are in a supportive not management role! fangry

MaeMobley Sat 20-Dec-14 11:47:50

I drank as normal, ie not excessively. Our breastfeeding counsellor (NCT) said we could eat and drink anything we wanted.

Babies showed no adverse effects.

squizita Sat 20-Dec-14 11:49:54

Sorry Tiktok. I phrased that badly! And confused it with my nct lady I think. fblush I meant you gave some excellent links which reassure many of us that 1 or 2 wines with dinner is ok.

FoxSticks Sat 20-Dec-14 12:06:07

With my first baby I didn't drink at all, with my second I'm having a couple of glasses a couple of times a week. I had a boozy night out a few weeks ago when ds was 7 weeks and I'd expressed so dh could feed ds, and I pumped and dumped so my supply wouldn't be affected. When he's a few months old and my supply is steady I'd probably only pump and dump if I was uncomfortable.

Stripylikeatiger Sat 20-Dec-14 12:13:36

I feel the 1 or 2 drinks is ok, I just breastfeed as usual I don't pump and dump or avoid feeding my baby, it's such a tiny amount of alcohol that goes through to the milk.

The thing that worries me is my baby sleeps in a side car cot so when I drink alcohol I drink early in the evening 5/6ish so that by the time I go to bed the alcohol is out of my system as I would't feel comfortable sleeping next to my baby or doing sleepy night feeds whilst alcohol was still in my system.

I have never noticed any effect on my dcs.

bambinibop Sat 20-Dec-14 12:16:10

I drink as I normally would. I don't get drunk but have been tipsy once or twice and then fed dd as normal early the next morning. I don't drink much anyway so it isn't much of an issue but I would have a few drinks and feed dd without any concern.

Iggi999 Sat 20-Dec-14 12:24:26

Why would you need to dump your milk? There isn't "tainted" milk, any alcohol present there will leave the milk the same way it leaves your blood (you don't swap your blood over). Though you might wish to pump for comfort's sake I suppose. I agree with other posters, it's as much about how fit you are to care for (and maybe sleep with) your baby as the milk itself.

FoxSticks Sat 20-Dec-14 14:29:14

When I had my boozy night I definitely wasn't fit to look after my baby, dh was a on duty and I made the most of it. I would only dump if drunk.

Gennz Sat 20-Dec-14 23:56:26

I don't restrict my drinking at all. Well I do, but only on account of being tired and generally not feeling v convivial and thus my tolerance being lower, not because of alcohol present in my breastmilk. Last night I had 3 large glasses of rose over about 3 hours and I BF-ed DS in the middle of the 2nd one, had the 3rd one at about 9 ish and then fed him again at 12.45am. That's about my max, beyond a 3rd glass I think I'd feel a bit boozed (I had a famously high tolerance pre-pregnancy, a bottle wouldn't have touched the sides).

I found this article and the calculator it links to v helpful:

evolutionaryparenting.com/guest-post-breastfeeding-and-alcohol-consumption/

Squizita what is the issue with scarves??? That's a new one for me confused

Gennz Sat 20-Dec-14 23:58:39

oh I don't co-sleep at all or BF in bed (always get up & sit in the wing chai rin our room) - while I feel fine when I'm awake, I don't think I'd feel very comfortable having DS in the bed after I'd had a few drinks, I don't know how it might affect my sleeping not that I'm doing much at the moment

squizita Sun 21-Dec-14 02:28:34

Gennz because no woman should feel she has to cover up. Sometimes I've heard of well meaning partners conflating this into "they shouldn't sell scarves" or "women shouldn't wear them" - rather like saying we are no longer Victorian about legs so "must" show our legs! fgrin And not quite understanding that many women might not want to feed without one for a myriad of reasons and the point is our body our baby our choice.

Gennz Sun 21-Dec-14 06:01:29

oh right! I was picturing wooly scarves and thinking there was some issue with them affecting mammary glands or something! Hahhhahaha am VERY sleep deprived blush

Gennz Sun 21-Dec-14 06:03:13

On the OP, I'm currently sitting in the wing chair afetr cluster feeding for 2 hours, and praying that DS goes the f*ck to sleep so I can have a wine. (It's 7pm here not 7am for avoidance of doubt!!)

Eminybob Sun 21-Dec-14 08:25:52

I usually have a glass or two or 3 after DS has gone down for the night, and I know it'll be another 7-8 hours before I'll be feeding him again.

I have been known to have a drink in the day, and I've not seen any change in DS, either sleeping or behaviour.

That said, and I have read loads on the subject and feel reassured that a very minuscule amount reaches breastmilk, if I intend to have a few drinks during the day (eg I had an Xmas lunch last week), I will express first and bottle feed. I'm a rubbish expresser too, it takes me an age to get just an oz, so I have already started expressing for Xmas day!

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Sun 21-Dec-14 08:55:05

I usually had a glass with dinner and enjoyed it. Occasionally two but it makes the nightfeeds harder to get up for.
The advice was given was similar to drink driving. The alcohol hits your blood system not your breast milk. You would have to be utterly wellied before enough booze would hit your bm to harm your child. Literally unconscious on the floor.
I relaxed about my 5-7glasses a week then.

FoxSticks Sun 21-Dec-14 08:59:40

I don't understand the comparison between drink driving and bf - it only takes a glass or two to take you over the limit but the general consensus here seems to be you can drink a lot more before it gets into your bm?

tiktok Sun 21-Dec-14 09:06:02

Alcohol passes freely into breastmilk - as freely as it passes into your bloodstream (it goes into the milk via the blood). It also passes out again very freely.

A lot of alcohol, taken quickly (ie several drinks over a short time) means it's getting into the body more quickly than the body can process it.

Just as with drink driving, it's not the amount of alcohol, but the speed at which it is taken that counts - it's all in the factsheet linked to earlier.

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