Contrary to what some may think, you can have it all! You can enjoy a pint of stout at your local pub tonight while still safely breastfeeding your wee bairn! The effects of alcohol on your baby are directly related to how much you drink. If you go out to celebrate tonight and have a pint you should know that approximately 30 to 60 minutes after you begin drinking you will have alcohol in your breast milk. You can slow down this rate of absorption to 60 to 90 minutes if you eat while savoring that pint. While alcohol passes freely into your milk, given enough time it will also pass freely out of your system. It takes about 2-3 hours for a 120 pound woman to metabolize the alcohol completely. The more alcohol you consume, the longer it takes for your body to metabolize it completely. If you try to breast feed while you have alcohol in your system you may cause your baby to be sleepy. You may experience decreased milk ejection reflex.
When considering whether to drink or not consider these points:
Your baby's age. Newborns have an immature liver and therefore will be more affected by alcohol. Until they are 3 months old, they metabolize alcohol at half the rate adults do.
Your weight. Heavier people metabolize alcohol more quickly.
The amount and rate at which you drink. The more you drink, the longer your body will have alcohol in it. Drinking several drinks an hour raises the level of alcohol in your blood and breast milk.
Whether or not you are eating as you drink. Eating while drinking alcohol helps your body metabolize the alcohol faster.
Pumping and dumping, myth or necessary precaution? Some believe that alcohol is trapped in breast milk. This is simply not so. As alcohol leaves the blood stream it leaves breast milk at the same rate. Pumping and dumping will not remove it faster or prevent your baby from ingesting alcohol. If you want to pump prior to drinking alcohol and feed your baby bottled breast milk, you can avoid your child ever coming in contact with alcohol while nursing.
Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Hope you have some good Craic!