The Truth about Pumping and Dumping

The Truth about Pumping and Dumping

Can I drink alcohol while breastfeeding? 

It is more than understandable that as a mum you you may want to enjoy a glass of wine every now and then. The current guidelines is that is safest not to drink while breastfeeding.

However, you are still able to enjoy an occasional glass of wine! So let's clear up the misinformation when it comes to alcohol & breastfeeding. 

Do I need to pump and dump breastmilk if I drink alcohol

Key considerations for drinking alcohol while breastfeeding:

*The alcohol breastmilk content will typically peak around 30mins-1 hour after your first drink. It is best not to feed your baby during this time

*It typically takes 2 hours for 1 standard drink to be metabolised through your liver and not be present in your breast milk. However, this can be dependent on the type of alcohol, your body weight, your general metabolism etc. This cannot be applied to everyone

* Time is the only thing that will reduce the alcohol content in your breastmilk

*Alcohol, similarly to caffeine may cause changes in your little one's behaviour. In these cases it's best to always have stored breastmilk on hand and feed baby this. 

Do you need to Pump and Dump?

No! The alcohol content in your breastmilk will match your blood alcohol content. Pumping and dumping will not reduce the amount of alcohol in your breastmilk.

Pumping while you drink alcohol, will not take the alcohol from your blood or breastmilk. The only reason to pump while drinking is to keep your breasts from getting engorged and maintaining your milk supply while baby can't feed regularly. It is up to you what you want to do with this pumped breastmilk- however if you have had more than a couple of drinks in a short time period, it may be best to throw this breastmilk away.

Do I need to pump and dump breastmilk if I drink alcohol


Plan Ahead & Drink Responsibly 

If you are going to have a drink while breastfeeding, make sure to plan ahead!

If you are taking your baby with you, make sure to bring a bag of previously expressed milk or formula with you. You can also breastfed your baby or pump prior to having a drink to reduce engorgement.

Make sure to also drink responsibly.

If you are planning on having more than one drink (or a big mums night out) consider reaching out to a trusted family member or friend so they can watch your baby. When you get home, it is also important to practice safe sleep arrangements, like transferring baby to a firm mattress in a cot, particularly if you have been drinking as this can lower your awareness to baby being in the bed. Excess alcohol consumption can also increase impact your postpartum health, leading to anxiety, lower mood and impaired absorption of nutrients essential to support breastfeeding. 


At the end of the day, it is ultimately your choice if you would like to enjoy a drink! Remember, always drink responsibly. 


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