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30 Dec '17

May I have a drink while breastfeeding?

Posted by Sandra Sosa

There are many myths regarding mother nourishment while breastfeeding. It has been said that milk takes the taste of what the mother is eating and that the baby could develop a sort of allergic if the mother eats a particular meal.

Even when most of those myths are fake; certainly, women who are breastfeeding must take extra care, but not about what they are eating but substances.

Maternal milk is produced by breast from amino acids and fats, thus whatever a woman eats will be first reduced to its basics components which will be later be used to produce milk; hence it's almost impossible that the milk composition changes according to the mother's diet.

However, being secreted by a gland (mammary gland); milk could contain different substances found on the blood, especially drugs and medicines which are able to pass natural barriers and reach the milk and with it the baby.

On this regard alcohol is one of the commonest substances passing to maternal milk; so drinking alcohol could be hazardous for your baby if you are breastfeeding; so regular alcohol intake should be discouraged even when it's possible to consume it occasionally following certain precautions.Alcohol intake must be restricted while breastfeeding.

First thing to know is that alcohol will reach milk, and more the alcohol intake, higher the amount of it found on milk; so a drink or two will be enough.

On the other hand, it's not the same to drink a beer than a Scotch; usually distilled drinks have higher alcohol content than fermented; then, if you prefer distilled alcohol beverages, the limit will be lower than with fermented.

Finally, alcohol takes around three hours to be metabolized and removed from blood stream; thus if you are planning to drink, you should not breastfeed at least for three hours from the last drink, otherwise your baby will receive a small dose of alcohol. On this regard, it's better to wait three hours after your last drink before feeding your baby.

Moreover, you should drain the milk on your breasts after drinking because it will contain alcohol; so regardless 5 hours have passed after your last drink, if you don't drain your milk; the alcohol content accumulated during the time after the drink will be still there.

To prevent this situation the best approach is to feed your baby; have a drink of two, wait at least two hours, drain your breasts and be ready to feed your baby in an hour or two.

This will minimize risks, even when the best prevention is to avoid alcoholic beverages at all; however if you wish a drink time to time, this will avoid problems.

Remember! When you are breastfeeding, alcohol intake must be restricted in quantity and frequency; otherwise your baby could be in danger.


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