While many mothers abstain from drinking alcohol during breastfeeding, there are others who want a girl’s night out or date with the husband, including a glass of wine (or two). The debate is what the best method for getting rid of the alcohol laced milk is and how long should a mother wait until it is safe to nurse again?
Many mothers were taught that the best method for safe milk was to “pump and dump,” assuming that the milk currently in the breasts is contaminated and any new milk produced would be free of alcohol. This seems like a pretty good idea, always assuming that even if the mother is still intoxicated the new milk will be alcohol free because it has just been produced. WRONG. Pump and dump is the way of the past, and new information proves that it’s not the amount of milk you pump out, but the amount of alcohol you take in that determines whether or not the milk is buzz worthy.
Thanks to a new calculator, the Estimated Time until Zero Alcohol in Breast Milk, mothers can get an idea of how long they should wait until they can safely feed again. As a disclaimer, the author is NOT saying that this is the ONLY tool that should be used; but that abstaining from drinking while nursing is THE ONLY way to be 100% confident that there is no alcohol in breast milk; and all mothers should consult a professional before making their own decision. This just happens to be a tool that can be used, with caution, as a basis for how much time needs to pass before feeding again. You can find it at: http://www.obfocus.com/calculators/alcoholinmilk.htm.
Final words to seriously think about when drinking and nursing – always ask a professional and use that advice. If you do take advice from other mothers, make sure it’s good advice like that from Shelly Kiehn Darcy and Stephanie Lynn on Mammary Gland Diaries (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Burlington-IA/Mammary-Gland-Diaries/159420420786338) “You pump instead of feeding, but pumping doesn’t mean you are good to go. As long as the alcohol is in your blood stream, then it will be in your milk. Instead of the “pump n dump” mentality, think more on lengthof time. For an average build you should wait around 4 hours after you drink before nursing.” Wise advice from two wise mothers.