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Alcohol and Breast Milk

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It is recommended to excusivley feed your baby breast milk until they reach six months old. Some mums breastfeed their babies even longer. Exclusively breastfeeding will give babies a healthy start in life. However, while breastfeeding, is it harmful that a mum has a drink or two?

Babies are very sensitive and whatever new things we try must be taken with care. When trying to enjoy a night out with friends and families, it is always better to plan ahead of time. Storing breast milk using quality milk storage bags would be very handy in times that you may not be able to say no to an invitation.               

It is always better to know how much to take in and when to stop. Alcohol while breastfeeding is not always a good thing, especially for a newborn.

When drinking wine or beer, some of its alcohol contents mixes into your breast milk. An alcohol test strip for breast milk may be able to tell you how much alcohol is in your milk.

Effects of Alcohol on a Newborn

Alcohol in breast milk may cause the baby to feel drowsy, and they may fall asleep more quickly for a shorter amount of time.However a baby being breastfed may also experience weakness, abnormal weight gain, and delayed motor development if a mum continuously drinks and breastfeeds at the same time.

Aside from this, a mum under the influence of alcohol cannot safely care for her baby. Nor can she safely sleep with the baby because her awareness of the baby’s presence and cries may be affected. So if you do drink, try to keep your baby out of your bed. Remember, the amount of alcohol in your blood is the amount of alcohol in your milk.

Alcohol & Newborn

Factors that affect how much alcohol gets into your breast milk

  • The strength and amount of alcohol you drink.
  • What and how much you’ve eaten.
  • How much you weigh.
  • How quickly you are drinking.

Alcohol will be in your breast milk 30-60 minutes after you start drinking, and 60-90 minutes when taken with food.

As a general rule, it takes 2 hours for an average woman (around 120 pounds) to get rid of the alcohol from one standard alcohol drink (wine or beer). Therefore it takes 4 hours for 2 drinks, 6 hours for 3 drinks and so on.

Note, only time will reduce the amount of alcohol in your breast milk. Pumping and dumping (expressing milk and throwing it away) will not reduce the amount of alcohol in your breast milk.

Planning ahead if drinking

If you are planning to go and enjoy a drink it may be a good idea to take extra care and plan ahead.

The safest choice when you are breastfeeding is to avoid alcohol altogether. However, planning before drinking can allow you to store breast milk for your baby ahead of time. Your baby can have this milk if you miss a feed while drinking, or while waiting for the amount of alcohol in your milk to drop. You can monitor the amount of alcohol left in your milk using the breast milk alcohol test strips.

What better way to store your milk, than using the easy to use breast milk storage bags?

Cherub Baby Thermosensor Breast Milk Bags might just be the thing for you; they are environmentally friendly, 100% BPA free, pre-sterilised, reusable, convenient and easy to clean containers.

Breast Milk Storage Bags

The milk storage bags allow you to express and store milk for your convenience. You can have some liquor and still feed your baby before or after the drink with all the natural goodness of antibodies and vitamins in mum’s breast milk.

The breast milk bags have ziplock safety seal that is leak proof, can be frozen, defrosted and sterilised again and again. The bags also have thermosensors – a clever indicator that lets you know if the milk is hot or cold. Each bag can also be reused up to 8 times.

Other options include the following:

  1. Wait for the alcohol to clear from your system before nursing your baby;
  2. Consider non-alcoholic beverages, it’s safer;
  3. Time your drink so that your baby will not be nursing from you in the hours that you are waiting for the alcohol to be removed from your system, i.e. during one of your baby’s long stretches of sleep;
  4. Breastfeed your baby before you drink, eat before and during drinking;
  5. Alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
  6. A piece of advice, an occasional drink or less per day has not been proven harmful; you can have a little alcohol and continue breastfeeding as you usually do.

Alcohol & Breastfeeding

Just make sure to plan ahead, and make sure baby has enough milk for feeding time when partying out. What better and safer way to do so than by storing breast milk and using the Cherub Baby Thermosensor Breast Milk Bags?

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