Trying to determine if you can have a beer and nurse your baby is a dilemma for many nursing moms. I mean, it's pretty obvious you shouldn't breastfeed your baby if you're three sheets to the wind. But if you're wondering if you can breastfeed while nursing a hangover, I get it. It's the morning, you've been away from your baby all night, they're starving, and your head is pounding. So do you have to pull out the pump and give them a bottle or can you breastfeed your baby while you're hungover?
When you're trying to figure out how to breastfeed while you're drinking, the best thing you can do is learn how alcohol actually affects nursing. According to Kelly Mom, less than two percent of the alcohol consumed by you reaches your blood and milk and if you're sober enough to drive, you're sober enough to nurse.
You don't have to pump and dump when you've been drinking (unless you're engorged and trying to maintain a supply). Your alcohol level doesn't accumulate in breast milk. As it leaves the blood, it leaves your milk. Meaning if you go all night without pumping, your milk in the morning, when you're sober, is OK to give your baby. It's not holding on to the alcohol you drank.
La Leche League International broke it down even simpler — you shouldn't nurse your baby if you're drunk or tipsy. But if you're sober, most, if not all, of the alcohol should have left your system.
So how does this affect a hungover nursing session? It depends. Are you sober? Then you're most likely fine to breastfeed. Remember, Kelly Mom noted that it's fine to breastfeed if you're sick, so don't worry if your headache is persistent or you're vomiting. The only concern with being hungover is figuring out if you're fully sober or still feeling a little tipsy. (Everyone's had those "morning after" moments, right?) You can also check out the Infant Risk Center to determine if any pain killers you're taking are safe while you're breastfeeding.
Your easiest option? Pump some milk before you leave to drink with the purpose of feeding it to your baby when you wake up. Not only will this eliminate any chance of your milk still having alcohol in it and being fed to your baby, but hey, you can catch up on some Zs and try and knock your hangover out. The only bad part about nursing with a hangover is, well, nursing with a hangover. So drink your fluids and get re-hydrated. If you're going to skip some sessions while you're not feeling so hot, remember to pump so you can maintain your milk supply. And, as Baby Center noted, try and remember to drink a glass of water with every alcoholic beverage so you don't get too dehydrated and potentially harm your milk supply. (Don't worry, that bottle of wine was totally worth it.)