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Drinking Alcohol While Breastfeeding

Is This the End of Pumping and Dumping?

There are few acts as disheartening to moms as pumping and dumping. It takes a lot of work to produce just an ounce of breastmilk, so when a nursing mom has to produce and then throw away this liquid gold due to her alcohol consumption, it's no surprise that there are often tears in the mix.

But new studies may put an end to the practice altogether. A recent article on Slate states that the amount of alcohol passed on to a breastfeeding tot is actually less than what is found in fruit juices (which contain alcohol due to fermentation of the sugars):

"If a 150-pound nursing mom downs four alcoholic drinks — say, four 5-ounce glasses of table wine — and then breast-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 percent — the same blood alcohol concentration her mom would have after consuming a mere 1.5 ounces of Bud Light (one-eighth of a 12-ounce bottle). Babies break down alcohol more slowly than adults do, but since they consume so little alcohol from breast milk in the first place, this difference 'should have no clinical significance,' researchers concluded in a recent research review on the topic."

So does this mean the practice of pumping and dumping can go out with the end of the year? Possibly. There is also research to the contrary, suggesting that alcohol is passed on to nursing babies and does affect their sleep patterns, so you'll want to discuss your thoughts with your doctor — and remember that it is never safe to sleep with a baby in your bed when you've been drinking. But it is promising to learn that you might not have to cry over spilled milk after your holiday party.

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