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Drinking While Breastfeeding Is OK Without Pump and Dump

Pump and Dump No More! If You Breastfeed, You Can Still Drink Without Wasting Milk

Breast milk is held so highly in regard that it's been called "liquid gold." So if you are a mom with breasts that overfloweth, should you be wasting said gold by pumping and dumping for the sake of a beer at a holiday party? Well, as it turns out, pitching breast milk may no longer be the only way out if you're dying to indulge in a cocktail.

Although there are plenty of myths surrounding the topic of drinking and breastfeeding — apparently Guinness is great for your milk supply?! — several studies have shown that very little alcohol will appear in your milk even if you've had a few cold ones (and even less will be ingested by your baby). Also, because the amount of alcohol in your milk closely emulates your blood alcohol level — and you don't have to throw out your blood after drinking — you don't actually have to get rid of that milk. You simply need to wait until the alcohol has been processed through your system and you've sobered up.

But what if a breastfeeding mom chooses to have more than one glass of wine at a New Year's Eve party? It has not only been found that a lactating mother's blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, seems to rise much slower than that of other women, but also, even though a baby takes twice as long to process alcohol in his system, little of the alcohol consumed by his mother will actually be present in the milk in the first place (as demonstrated in the example below).

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If a 150-pound nursing mom downs four alcoholic drinks — say, four 5-ounce glasses of table wine — and then breastfeeds 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).

So while it has been noted that alcohol could decrease the amount of milk you make — meaning having to feed your little one a bit more frequently until your supply is back up — it turns out that "even in a theoretical case of binge-drinking, the children would not be subjected to clinically relevant amounts of alcohol." That being the case, we may finally be able to get rid of the term "pump and dump" once and for all.

Image Source: Shutterstock
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