Is it Okay to Breastfeed and Drink at the Same Time?
Recently, a picture surfaced on Instagram that started raising questions on motherhood. Jessica James Decker uploaded a picture of herself holding a glass of wine in one hand, and breastfeeding her baby at the same time. Naturally, the internet exploded with mixed reactions from people everywhere. While some fans cheered on the singer for enjoying while breastfeeding, others tried to school her on how pathetic it was to drink while breastfeeding. The country star was not going to let the comments bring her down. One person added that it is allowed to drink while breastfeeding. And Jessica Decker sided with her saying it surely was.
Jessica James Decker’s experience took over the internet with one question. Is it okay to breastfeed and drink at the same time? According to experts at the International Board Certified Lactation, minimal, infrequent alcohol consumption doesn’t cast major effects on the baby. However, the consumption should be limited to one or two drinks and that too occasionally. As long as the mother feels fine, she is fine to feed the baby. In cases where the mother feels too drunk, she can use the ‘pump and dump’ technique and should wait to breastfeed till she feels sober. This is because alcohol metabolizes out of the milk supply the same way as it does out of the blood.
According to research, breastfeeding for up to an hour after consuming alcohol should be avoided as it could be a dangerous time. But alcohol continues to stay present in breast milk for 2 to 3 hours after drinking. Even when a drink occasionally is considered safe, excessive drinking while breastfeeding would never be recommended. It can cause damage to the infant in the early stages of development, and hamper the growth and sleep patterns.
Despite the fact that occasional drinking does not affect the child, it definitely does not need to be normalized. Alcohol stays in your blood and your breast milk for a few hours after you drink. So if your child feels hungry during that time, you are passing it on to him. It will negatively impact the growth and well-being of the baby. Plus, alcohol consumption is an unhealthy habit. Mothers do not want to put themselves in any danger while they have to take on nursing and breastfeeding responsibilities. Further, if a mother is drunk, she will be unable to provide her baby with the right care and attention. In extreme cases, she might even become a threat to her own infant.
Childbearing, breastfeeding and other infant responsibilities can lead mothers to severe anxiety and depression. Always having to attend to a baby can be fairly exhausting. It often even leads mothers with no time for self-care. To counter all the stress, every woman might need a drink sometimes. But then it is recommended to opt for a drink or two when there is external help available to look after the baby.
With people celebrating the World Breastfeeding Week, consuming alcohol for feeding mothers should be discouraged.