Can breastfeeding moms party hardy on Halloween?

A mom over on CafeMom wants to have a few drinks at a Halloween party, but here's the hitch -- she's breastfeeding. So the question came up: Should she "pump and dump," meaning pump and discard the breast milk she produces during the time she's imbibing.

A lot of moms in the CafeMom Answers thread advised her to just not drink, saying this is one of the sacrifices you make when you commit to nursing an infant. But even the folks at kellymom.com, a great breastfeeding resource, offer some less drastic alternatives for moms who want to clock out for a few hours.

Another mom on CafeMom, who is studying to be a lactation consultant, explains it just as well:

"Alcohol leaves your breast milk at the same rate it leaves your blood. So if you pump and dump, and you're still drunk, all that's going to do is waste milk and produce more alcohol laden milk. But if you wait until you're sober, you're perfectly safe to nurse. Safe to drive = safe to nurse. Or two hours per drink. But if you only have, say, one beer, you would be fine to nurse shortly after."

Here are some specifics on breastfeeding and drinking from kellymom.com:

  • Current research says that occasional use of alcohol (1-2 drinks) is not harmful to the nursing baby.
  • It is recommended that nursing moms avoid breastfeeding during and for 2-3 hours after drinking.
  • There is no need to pump and dump milk after drinking alcohol, other than for mom's comfort -- pumping and dumping does not speed the elimination of alcohol from the milk.
  • Alcohol does not increase milk production, and has been shown to inhibit let-down and decrease milk production.

Do you drink while breastfeeding? How do you do it -- pump and dump or wait it out?

Written by Cynthia Dermody for CafeMom's Baby Buzz


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