18 answers

Drunk While Breastfeeding - What Now?

My daughter is 2 years and 2 months old and still breastfeeds. She does this more for comfort than sustenance and on the days I work, she does not miss my milk, but when I come home at 6 pm, she feeds and she feeds before falling asleep. I generally have a glass of wine or two with dinner, and wait the recommended 2.5 hours per drink before feeding her to be safe. (She goes to bed at 10 pm and sleeps until 9 am, nursing a couple of times during the night as older nursing babies generally do).

But on 4th of July yesterday, I drank several glasses of wine at a party I hosted, between the hours of 3 and 10 pm (like 6-7 glasses!) figuring I would tell her "No, no boopa tonight (her word for Mommy's breast), Mommy had wine" and wait until early morning to feed her. I'd done this last 4th of July and there was no problem. Stupid me, I forgot that a year ago I could supplement with a bottle for the comfort factor, but she's way beyond that now and last night insisted on me or nothing. So she freaked out at bedtime and wailed and wailed, getting all redfaced, and tear streaked (she rarely cries) until I finally relented and let her drink from me.

I've done my research, I know that no one tells you it is "okay" to nurse a baby when you wouldn't get behind the wheel, and while I was not stumbling drunk, I stil would not have driven in that condition so I qualify as drunk I'm sure. Now here is my question: Could I have done real harm to my baby? Or perhaps was that tainted breastmilk less dangerous that the big warnings out there make it sound seeing as how she is 26 months old and that she really doesn't drink much at a "sitting". Unlike an infant who might drink 4-6 ounces of breastmilk at a feeding, I'd be surprised if my baby was getting an ounce at night. So taking that into account, along with her age, should I be worried?

Thank you so much for any educated advice you can offer me. I am up at 6 am stewing with worry, and feeling like a horrible mom. I sweare if I could wean her I would, but she loves my breast so much, I just can't take it away from her just yet.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Don't worry, she'll get over it and she is eating solids anyway, so sit her down with a banana or an apple (organic preferably). No need to feel guilty, at least she has been breast-fed many, many times. A huge number of kids sadly don't even get anywhere near a human nipple.

More Answers

I wouldn't worry about it... if you had given her an ounce of straight alcohol, that probably would have been bad, but the level of alcohol in breastmilk is exactly the same as in your blood-- which means you may have had .01 percent of your milk be alcohol X 1 oz of milk... not worth even speaking of.
(Not to say that it should be an everyday thing!)

I would be a little worried though about not being able to set limits with a kid that big. If she had wanted ice cream at bedtime, would you have given it to her even if she had freaked out? It is time to start getting her used to the idea that you are in charge-- especially of YOUR body. That is going to be important for her as she learns about good/bad touches, etc.-- and just in general. If she cries herself to sleep, she cries herself to sleep. Better than giving her something that you don't know at the time is safe, and better than teaching her that if she throws a big enough fit, she'll get what she wants.

Easy for me to say, not having had to make the decision in the moment, eh? :-)

6 moms found this helpful

I am sure it didn't do any harm, however I would rethink why you can't give up drinking altogether while you are still nursing. Breastfeeding a choice and doing it means a sacrifice on mom's part. That means eating healthy, and no alcohol!!!! If you can't make the commitment or sacrifice any longer then I would suggest you ween her off. Can't have it both ways!!

6 moms found this helpful

I'm a trained LC, though I'm not finished with my clinical hours for certification. I think I can tell you with confidence that while you might have helped her fall asleep faster last night, you have done no lasting harm physiologically. Don't do it again, though. The last thing you want is for tipsy or drunk to be a comfortable feeling for her, but if it is one single occasion in her life and she's eating solids and drinking an ounce or two of milk you have not hurt her. Forgive yourself.

For future reference, though, babies don't cry blood and no matter how heartbroken she is, it is better to let her cry herself to sleep than give her spiked milk. She'll get over it by morning and there will be no questions and no regrets.

3 moms found this helpful

Your baby is fine. There is no damage. You are not a bad mother. Repeat until you remember that you are human, mistakes happen, and our children are incredibly resilient! Just think of it as a reminder to watch your alcohol intake and prepare for a possible little overindulgence next time. And enjoy your nursing days with your baby girl!

1 mom found this helpful

No wonder so many Moms tell me LCs are a hit or miss. Seems not even 'trained' LCs always know what they are talking about... If possible, search for IBCLCs - they have a more in depth knowledge, experience and well rounded idea on how best to help and express a realistic desire to help.

****If you were not drunk - it is still fine to breastfeed. Buzzing, feeling good, having 3-4 drinks - all fine. The body is an amazing system - - the Mother's body will filter thru most of the bad stuff (lack of proper nutrition, medications, alcohol, etc) and give the baby the best the Mother can offer thru her breastmilk.****

Most other nations breastfeed their children thru 3 years old, if not longer... do you REALLY think they give up drinking for that long? Nope... because their isn't a need. Excessive ANYTHING is bad, so if you are stumbling drunk, of course do not breastfeed... but if you just had enough to be feeling good and 'buzzed' feel safe knowing your body will handle the filtering of our breastmilk before the child gets it...

I am a child led weaning advocate. My daughter didn't completely wean herself until just recently, like June 2010 and she will be 5 in September.

1 mom found this helpful

While I wouldn't encourage you to do that again until she's weaned, I wouldn't worry too much. Only 2% of what you drink goes into your breastmilk and if she's only suckling, then she didn't get much.

1 mom found this helpful

The amount of alcohol in your milk is the same as the amount of alcohol in your blood. So if you were legally too drunk to drive, it was .08% alcohol. Fresh orange juice and grapes have more alcohol than that naturally. So does non-alcoholic beer. It's officially a trace amount.

That's an issue in a tiny newborn whose liver isn't up and running yet, but not in a healthy toddler. Good for you for nursing her and giving her what she needs! And don't stress over the alcohol, seriously.

1 mom found this helpful

I would not worry about it if I were you. Our grandson is 29 months old and still nurses, as you say, more for comfort than nutrition. I know that my daughter will have the occassional beer or glass of wine and believe me she is one who has researched this COMPLETELY and if there were any danger to her son she would not be drinking that beer or wine!!!
I also need to comment on what Elizabeth said about "setting limits"...wanting to nurse is different than wanting a bowl of ice cream or a drink of coke!!! I never...NEVER refused to allow my children to nurse when they wanted to , unless it was for a safety issue, for instance, if I was driving at the time. You keep doing what you are doing....it is so rare to find Mama's that are still nursing at this age...good for you AND good for your precious little girl!!!

1 mom found this helpful

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