Breastfeeding and Boozing: Relax, It's Fine

Melinda Wenner Moyer: Even if you feed while tipsy, little alcohol makes it to baby
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2014 4:25 PM CST
Breastfeeding and Boozing: Relax, It's Fine
Breastfeeding and boozing isn't nearly as bad as you thought. But probably steer clear of the kegstands.   (Shutterstock)

Holidays are enough to send us all scrambling for the punch bowl, and nursing moms should be no exception. Writing at Slate, Melinda Wenner Moyer—herself a nursing mom—delves into the question of breastfeeding while perhaps filled with a bit more than holiday cheer and finds "there is no reason to pump and dump." Firstly, there's the math: When mom's blood alcohol content is .08%, her breast milk is the same; so as she sobers up, so does her milk, making waiting to breastfeed the better option and dumping utterly pointless. But Wenner Moyer says that even if mom has downed, say, four drinks, and feeds "her 13-pound baby 4 ounces of milk when she’s at her tipsiest, her baby will end up with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.0038%"—or the equivalent of mom chugging a whole ounce and a half of Bud Light.

It's completely different calculus than pregnant moms who drink, writes Wenner Moyer, in which case the fetus' BAC is the same as mom's. That's not to say drinking-while-nursing is completely risk-free, as studies show alcohol can alter infants' sleep patterns—though it's not clear how—or increase the risk of tipsy parents dropping their infants, but Wenner Moyer notes that these studies were greenlighted by ethics boards. Bottom line? It's not license to get smashed every night, but "your baby is not going to end up drunk if you have a few glasses of eggnog before nursing her to sleep." Click for Wenner Moyer's full column. (More breast feeding stories.)

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