For years, the pump and dump rule has been followed by practically every breastfeeding mum wanting to have a drink or two without worrying. But you don’t really have to waste breast milk, even if you do have an abundant supply, just to indulge in your favourite alcoholic drink.
Instead of pumping and throwing your milk away after a night of drinking, you simply have to give yourself time to sober up. Waiting things out gives your body time to process alcohol.
Instead of pump and dump, waiting until you sober up is the key. But how long should you wait?
Instead of following the pump and dump rule, breastfeeding mums are advised to play a waiting game. | Image source: File photo
Remember that alcohol does find its way into breastmilk and your newborn can only eliminate it from their system half as fast as you can!
The amount of alcohol in your blood is nearly equal to your breastmilk alcohol level. For lactating mums who have had a drink, research has found that their blood alcohol concentration rises much more slowly when compared to non-breastfeeding mums.
As for how long alcohol stays in your system, it could take anywhere from two hours to a few days. This largely depends on how much you drank, how much the alcohol content of the drinks were and how much you weigh.
Your safest bet would be to wait two hours after having just one drink before breastfeeding your baby.
The La Leche League presents the following example: “A 140-pound woman would need two to three hours before her body is alcohol free after one serving of wine or beer.”
The Pump and Dump technique doesn’t rid the body of alcohol nor will it speed up how your body processes it.
If you’ve only had a few sips to drink, then you can breastfeed if you feel that you are not tipsy at all.
So should you NEVER pump and dump?
No. There are reasons to still do this, but they’re mostly to give you comfort — it can prevent engorgement of breasts and allow you to maintain a good milk supply despite a lapse in feedings.
There have been several popular myths about alcohol, like how it can boost milk supply and promote baby’s sleep. But science has debunked them! | Image source: Pexels
Myths and facts about having alcohol while breastfeeding
Myth: No, alcohol doesn’t boost your milk supply. On the contrary, research has shown that it can decrease milk supply and hinder milk letdown.
Myth: The popular myth that drinking while breastfeeding promotes good sleep in babies has also been debunked by past research.
Fact: Though alcohol eventually leaves your system, experts advise against excessive drinking during pregnancy.
Not only will excessive drinking lessen the amount your baby drinks, it can also alter how your breastmilk tastes!
Fact: Don’t ever co-sleep with your baby after you have been drinking, regardless of how sober you feel.
You don’t have to deprive yourselves, mums! Being a breastfeeding mum can be stressful, and if you need the occasional cocktail or glass of wine, as long as you drink responsibly, then no one has the right to judge you for it!
Sources: Mayo Clinic, NCBI, La Leche League UK
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