29 answers

Wine Consumption While Breastfeeding - Is It Okay If I Am Supplementing?

I have read so much conflicting info on alcohol consumption and breastfeeding as of late. And now I am just plain angry that I can't get a consistent answer. Maybe you all can help. I am breastfeeding my 6-week-old infant and have had the occasional glass or two of wine with dinner. When I do this, I am careful to abstain from breastfeeding - or from pumping - for the suggested 5 or so hours afterwards, usually longer. I instead supplement with pre-pumped breastmilk or with formula. So if I have my wine at 7 pm let's say, (two 5 ounces glasses), I will not give the baby my milk until around 1 or 2 am. From what I understand, all alcohol has been metabolized by my body and thus out of my breastmilk by this point. (And my pediatrician knows I supplement one or two feedings a day with formula and says that is fine, in fact it enables me to avoid a vitamin D supplement.) So here is my question: What if I decided to have two glasses of wine EVERY night? If I am literally waiting for the alcohol to be eliminated from my breastmilk, what is the harm in this? I have a supportive husband so do not fear that I am caring for my baby while under the influence. I am just just trying to figure out what is so bad about alcohol consumption when one is careful with timing and alternative nutritive sources while drinking? Am I endangering my baby by enjoying one or two glasses of wine in the evening once my husband is home? But how can I be if she never drinks a sip of tainted breastmilk? Your educated thoughts are much appreciated!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Well my daughter is now 20 months old and I am still breastfeeding - Thanks to those of you who didn't make me feel like a wicked person and offered supportive advice. I did go back to work when the baby was 3 months, and fortunately was able to work 2 days at home. I pumped every day at work very successfully for 18 months, and my baby was almost exclusively breastfed for that time, with 1 feeding a day of formula then later of whole milk usually right before bed (after I had had my glass or two of wine). I continued to time my wine consumption the whole time, leaving 2.5 hours between drinking and feeding per glass of wine and did purchase milkscreen based on someone's suggestion. I am only bothering to respond now to let those of you new moms who enjoy wine and abstained during your nine months of pregnancy and now fear breastfeeding because you'd like to go back to being you, that you can have it both ways. Like I said, my daughter is almost two, and we still breastfeed during the night and during my days with her, or when I first get home from work. It is a wonderful bonding thing she and I do, and even though I work, I feel like my daughter and I are so extremely close, and she is the happiest, most lovable baby girl I could ever ask for. I guess it comes down to doing what is going to make you happy as a mom because then you can be present during all the important moments, and she will feel your positive good energy when you are with her, if you are happy. I have LOVED being a mom these first 20 months and I don't feel guilty that I drank wine with my dinner, because I cook extremely well-rounded meals every night (even on days I work), which my baby happily devours, while she sits at the table every night with my husband and myself. I work full time, keep a safe clean house for her to play in, and talk to her constantly during my 4 days home with her. So if my personal little relaxing ritual was a glass or two of wine at night, I daresay my baby is better off for it. Because she has a happy happy mommy who gives her tons of love and praise, and carries a lot of responsibility at home and at work. I think someday she'll understand that that was my way of unwinding at night and know that it has nothing to do with her.

Featured Answers

If you have one glass of wine with dinner I think it is fine. But having two or more a day isn't a really good idea, it can inhibit the supply of breastmilk and could affect the baby, especially one so young.

Here is info about it from kellymom:

http://www.kellymom.com/health/lifestyle/alcohol.html

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Since you are unsure and can't get a straight answer- it probably means that there are no definitive answers! Is it really such a big deal to wait a few more months before drinking every night? In the big picture is that wine so important to you that it might endanger your child?
Why do you feel the need to have 2 glasses of wine every night? I know that shortly after I had my daughters- 2 glasses of wine would have knocked me over!!!
That is a lot of drinking and in my opinion you should examine why you need to drink so much in the first place. Wine is nice for a treat- but I don't understand why you want to drink it every day! It's probably not the best example to set for your child.
It just seems odd to me and you might want to think about your reason behind this want.
Good luck,
S.

2 moms found this helpful

I am a lactation counselor, and having a glass of wine or two is perfectly fine, AND you can still nurse your baby as long as you don't feel the effects of the alcohol. The amount that is in your milk after you consume it is little to none, as long as you are not buzzed or intoxicated. Pediatricians unfortunately don't know much about breastfeeding...ask a lactation consultant if you really need the reassurance. Those that have been educated on breastfeeding (they actually don't teach this in medical school!) know that you can safely enjoy adult beverages and breastfeed.

As far as the vitamin d goes...your baby will get plenty from just sitting near a sunny window. We all get vitamin d from the sun, it is better absorbed that way. You don't need to feed her formula for her to get it. I have 3 children, formula has never touched their lips, and none of them are vitamin d deficient.

I would go to a LeLeche League meeting where you can meet other women who are nursing and ask some of the experts there about your questions. You would be surprised at what you will find out about breastfeeding, and that you don't need to have all of these restrictions on yourself. Breastfeeding is a natural beautiful experience to share between mother and child, not something we should be so nervous and concerned about.

2 moms found this helpful

As with anything, moderation is the key. When I had my first child, I was really stressed out. So every night I had a glass of wine as I started her bedtime nursing. It allowed both of us to relax and there were no adverse effects. I spoke to my daughter's pediatrician before I started doing it, and her pediatrician agreed that there was no harm in what I was doing.

1 mom found this helpful

Read up on your own about how long it takes for alcohol to metabolize from the body. How much fat you carry on your body will effect the rate I'd imagine as fat absorbs a lot of toxins as well as the liver. Breast milk is fatty as well, so it may absorb it, but for how long is something you need to find out for yourself unfortunately.

Because our culture is so in love with alcohol, its difficult to get objective information on the effects of alcohol consumption. Your best bet is to research online with independent scientific journals or non-profit resources that specialize in issues related to alcohol and children.

The fact remains that caution should be your bi-word. The infant brain is still in the early development stages and forming important neural and tissue connections. Any negative effects from the environment can have a deleterious effect on that development, thus caution must prevail.

Would it be impossible for you to give up your after dinner wine for the time that you are breastfeeding? Considering the length of your life and the importance of your child's development, you might want to look carefully at the big picture before getting all stressed out about how to control your desire to imbibe.

Sounds like you are going through a lot of trouble for a couple glasses of wine. Is it worth it? Would a few months of abstinence be that difficult? I don't want to sound preachy, but if you feel the "need" to have alcohol every night now, what will you do as the child gets older and things get really stressful? I would suggest that possibly you might want to check yourself -- do without for a while, it will do you good as well as the baby!

BTW -- My mother was an alcoholic and drank lightly throughout all her pregnancies and during nursing. She had numerous miscarriages, had one child very premature who still has some mental disabilities and I have had to suffer with lifelong problems with memory and depression problems that seem to come from nowhere. How do I know it wasn't because of my mother's drinking?

I'd say its not worth the risk.

1 mom found this helpful

If you are worried, they do sell test strips at Babies R Us that will tell you if there is alcohol in your breastmilk. That way you can eliminate the need to guess!!

1 mom found this helpful

Whoever told you you can't nurse if you have a glass of wine is giving you outdated advice...new research shows that you can have up to 2 glasses of wine or coffee and still nurse. Thank goodness for me!
You can read more about this at la leche league's website.

1 mom found this helpful

If you have one glass of wine with dinner I think it is fine. But having two or more a day isn't a really good idea, it can inhibit the supply of breastmilk and could affect the baby, especially one so young.

Here is info about it from kellymom:

http://www.kellymom.com/health/lifestyle/alcohol.html

1 mom found this helpful

J. -
From reading your question I feel like there is more to it than just nutrition. Why do you need 2 glasses a wine once or twice a week, if not every night? And why is this such a concern with everything else that happens with a first child? Alcohol in general is dehydrating and not beneficial to your health, and you need to stay as healthy as possible while breastfeeding and taking care of a new baby. Every time you go a long period without pumping or breastfeeding you are teaching your body that the baby doesn't need milk during this time and eventually you won't be producing enough milk. As your baby gets older, and when you return to work you will need more milk for pumping etc. You said that you are already supplementing with formula, try not to. Breastmilk is so fundamental for giving your baby the best possible health, is it really worth a couple glasses of wine? Please, save your boozing for a special night out with the hubby and enjoy your little one now, it goes so fast!

1 mom found this helpful

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.