BFing moms should not drink

Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
BFing moms should not drink
50
Tue, 09-06-2011 - 2:53pm

Some say it is better that moms continue to BFand only drink in moderation - some wonder if mom should be drinking at all while she is BFing?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Tue, 09-06-2011 - 8:39pm

First, I don't think either bfing or ffing moms should drink so much that it impairs their ability to care for an infant. So I guess I'm in the "moderation" category. I think moderation is generally considered no more than 10 drinks per week and no more than 2 in a day.

Second, I don't think a mom should drink regularly (even 10 drinks per week) while the baby is three months old or less. By the time a baby is three months old his/her liver and kidneys are functioning up to speed, so IF trace alcohol gets into the baby, the baby's organs can clear it.

Third, unlike drinking while pregnant, drinking and nursing does not cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Alcohol could cause changes in the baby, but not long lasting brain damage.

Fourth, breastmilk is not a static substance the way formula is. It changes from hour to hour and from month to month. So the headline might be correct within certain parameters (neonate, sole caretaker) or way off base (nursing a toddler, weekend getaway).

studies have shown that babies sleep less and eat, on average, 20% less when there is any detectable level of alcohol in the breast milk

IF that is true, I'm sure that Thomas Hale has noted it and commented and I defer to his opinion.

Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Tue, 09-06-2011 - 9:14pm

Dr Hale on BFing and alcohol:

Facts:


1. Alcohol enters milk freely.
2. One drink includes: 12 oz of 5% beer, or 5 oz of 11% wine, or 1.5 oz of 40% liquor (80 proof).
3. The peak level in milk is likely to occur about 1 hour after consumption.
4. Alcohol leaves the milk compartment as the mother’s blood alcohol levels drop.
5. Alcohol present in pumped milk is permanent. Discard the milk.
6. Waiting “about” 2 hours per drink is required for complete metabolism of alcohol in a 180 pound female. For more accurate assessments, use the nomogram attached.
7. Techniques such as drinking more water, taking caffeine, exercising, pumping and discarding of milk, etc. to enhance metabolism/clearance of alcohol do not work. Only time will eliminate alcohol.
8. Elixirs that contain ethanol can lead to blood alcohol levels similar to those seen by taking one alcoholic drink.
9. Storing milk before drinking is another way to make sure your infant is not exposed to alcohol.
10. Nothing can replace human breast milk as a source of nourishment for your child, therefore careful planning before drinking is advised over formula use.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2008
Wed, 09-07-2011 - 7:37am
witch_power wrote:

Some say it is better that moms continue to BFand only drink in moderation - some wonder if mom should be drinking at all while she is BFing?

Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Wed, 09-07-2011 - 8:42am
teresagem wrote:
witch_power wrote:

"0.0013 Ounces of alcohol may not sound like much, but studies have shown that babies sleep less and eat, on average, 20% less when there is any detectable level of alcohol in the breast milk."

Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Wed, 09-07-2011 - 8:58am
nisupulla wrote:

Third, unlike drinking while pregnant, drinking and nursing does not cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Alcohol could cause changes in the baby, but not long lasting brain damage.

Do we know that for a fact? Could excessive drinking while nursing, without waiting for the alcohol to clear or using previously pumped milk - not cause problems for the baby's brain that could possibly be permanent? We didn't always know about FAS - so I can't help wondering if this is still an unknown?

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Wed, 09-07-2011 - 1:39pm

I think yes. It is a fact. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome results from high levels of alcohol in the mother's blood and therefore similar levels in the fetus's blood. 1) No amount of breastfeeding could mimic that level. I've heard that the level of alcohol in breastmilk, which is then ingested, is roughly equivalent to the amount of alcohol in the mother's blood. That's very different than what the in utero fetus gets. 2) Yes, the brain is still developing, but the fetus brain development is much more critical.

So, while it is possible that there could be some minor brain changes if the mom drinks excessively and regularly, it won't be anywhere near the seriousness of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

But there is a huge leap between woman with a substance problem and the average nursing mom.

Note: I'm not in any way saying that alcohol has any positive effects on the baby. It doesn't. But if mom enjoys an alcoholic beverage here and there, it just isn't an issue for baby.

Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Wed, 09-07-2011 - 1:51pm

Although many women are aware that heavy drinking during pregnancy can cause birth defects, many do not realize that moderate or even light drinking also may harm the fetus. In fact, no level of alcohol use during pregnancy has been proven safe.

Therefore, the March of Dimes recommends that pregnant women do not drink any alcohol, including beer, wine, wine coolers and liquor, throughout their pregnancy and while nursing. In addition, because women often do not know they are pregnant for a few months, women who may be pregnant or those who are attempting to become pregnant should not drink alcohol. 

Is it safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding?
Small amounts of alcohol do get into breastmilk and are passed on to the baby. One study found that breastfed babies of women who had one or more drinks a day were a little slower in acquiring motor skills (such as crawling and walking) than babies who had not been exposed to alcohol (12). Large amounts of alcohol may interfere with ejection of milk from the breast.

For these reasons, the March of Dimes recommends that women not drink alcohol while they are breastfeeding. Similarly, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that breastfeeding mothers not drink alcohol (13). However, according to the AAP, an occasional alcoholic drink probably doesn’t hurt the baby, but a mother who has a drink should wait at least 2 hours before breastfeeding her baby (13).

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Wed, 09-07-2011 - 4:36pm

One study found that

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Wed, 09-07-2011 - 4:41pm

Alcohol in breast milk may also hinder babies' development. In a landmark study of 400 infants published in

Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Wed, 09-07-2011 - 4:55pm
QUOTE:

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