Here's How Much Champagne Nursing Moms Can Drink
And, whether you really have to pump and dump.
Everyone knows the sounds of a popping cork, bubbly fizzing, and the clink of champagne glasses. Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, or you’re celebrating a big promotion, having a glass of champagne feels special. If you just so happen to be a new parent — which is reason enough to celebrate — you may be wondering, can you drink champagne while breastfeeding? Kind of like eating spicy food while breastfeeding, everyone seems to think something different.
There's a lot of conflicting information out there concerning alcohol and breastfeeding. Some moms think that they can't have any alcohol, while others think that every sip means you have to pump and dump your hard-earned breast milk. But experts say that's not actually the case, and breastfeeding parents can enjoy champagne without worrying about their milk supply. The trick is knowing what's the right amount.
Can you drink champagne while breastfeeding?
While you may think drinking alcohol while breastfeeding is a hard no, experts say it’s actually fine to have a drink, including a glass of bubbly.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics section on breastfeeding recommends that mothers limit their alcohol intake while breastfeeding, and ingest no more than two ounces of liquor, eight ounces of wine, or two beers, as well as abstain from breastfeeding for about two hours after drinking to further minimize any alcohol in breast milk,” says lactation consultant Kristin Gourley, IBCLC. “Alcohol can also inhibit or slow down your let-down, which may make baby fussy or make them nurse less.”
This is where you have to make a decision about your drinking environment. Are you having a glass of champagne over dinner? Are you going to be nursing your baby within the next two hours? If a babysitter is watching your baby throughout the night, you could enjoy more than a glass or two, especially if you won’t be breastfeeding again for several hours.
Can you breastfeed if you’re tipsy?
Experts agree that if you’re feeling the effects of alcohol, it’s best not to breastfeed until you’re feeling sober again.
“If moms feel tipsy, then they shouldn't breastfeed,” says Lori Atkins, RN, IBCLC, lactation consultant with Oh, Baby! Lactation Care. “If you're nursing a glass of wine or beer over a period of time — over dinner or a movie — you’re fine. Anything more frequent, and there is concern not only for transfer of alcohol into milk, but for safe caretaking, handling, and quick response to your baby.”
“If they feel intoxicated at all, it’s a safer bet to just wait as it’s not safe to breastfeed a baby intoxicated or to care for them in that state. Planning ahead is key,” says lactation consultant Angie Natero, RN, IBCLC. “Alcohol does transfer to the milk, though modestly, and the only way to remove that alcohol is time, as alcohol will leave the milk like it leaves the parent’s blood. Breastfeeding doesn’t mean you can never drink, but research and then plan ahead.”
Should I pump and dump after drinking?
Good news: Once you’re sober, you’re OK to breastfeed. Atkins says the only time she ever discusses pumping and dumping milk is if you’re planning on drinking heavily, like at a wedding or other event. And don’t worry about the morning either. “As for a hangover, moms should be fine to nurse,” Atkins says. “Hydrate, hydrate. You might have a headache, but your milk will be OK for baby.”
So, as long as you aren't breastfeeding your little one while you’re tipsy or drunk, you can enjoy a glass or two of champagne. The actual amount depends on how long it's going to be until you nurse your baby again. Just remember, the alcohol will leave your blood stream which means it will leave your milk. Just because you had four glasses of champagne at 8 p.m. doesn't mean you can’t nurse at 8 a.m. if you no longer feel tipsy or drunk. Use your best judgment and remember to hydrate — that bubbly can be a killer come 6 a.m. when your baby sounds off like an alarm.
Kristin Gourley, IBCLC, lactation consultant
Lori Atkins, lactation consultant with Oh, Baby! Lactation Care
Angie Natero, RN, IBCLC, lactation consultant
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