‘Drink while baby is latched on’ Midwife’s advice on drinking alcohol while breastfeeding

When it comes to knowing what’s best for your newborn it’s a minefield of information, especially when it involves breastfeeding.

Many people have opinions and offer advice – whether asked for or not – but they mean well. However a lot of this advice and information can be contradicting and confusing.

However, if you do choose to breastfeed then it’s good to know if you can drink alcohol or not. While some people aren’t too fussed about alcohol after going nine months without it, some miss it and will be looking forward to their first glass of wine or G&T.

So, is it okay to drink alcohol while breastfeeding?

We’ve spoken to Marie Louise, The Modern Midwife, to get the inside track on breastfeeding and alcohol.

‘As midwives we must always recommend you don’t drink at all but the following is the advice for those that wish to,’ she explains.

‘If a mum really wants to drink, I’d say the best time to drink is towards the end of a feed.’

The reason for this is to allow as much time between the next feed and drinking alcohol as possible: ‘[Drinking while baby is latched on] will allow the alcohol to peak in the blood, then be metabolised and removed,’ she adds.

‘Alcohol will go into the bloodstream and into the breast milk, but as the alcohol levels fall again in the blood, they will also fall in the milk as the blood circulates through the breasts.’

‘If mum wants to go out and drink, at a wedding for example, the best advice is to feed the baby just before leaving, drink plenty of water and eat before drinking alcohol.’

Marie Louise also wants mums to be aware that just as you can still be over the limit the next morning, you could still have high levels of alcohol in your blood and milk the following day.

‘Too much alcohol in breast milk is very dangerous, as newborns have immature livers and cannot metabolise it easily,’ she explains. People metabolise alcohol at different rates, but Marie Louise says: ‘I think the “too much to drive, too much to breastfeed” is quite a useful rule.’

What do you think? Did you drink while breastfeeding? Let us know in the comments box below.