I love breastfeeding, but man would I love a glass of wine!

You spend nine months pretending that the booze-free wine and non-alcoholic beer is just fine while everyone around you has summer ales and Christmas eggnog. But what happens after the baby is born? Can you have that glass of wine with supper or not? It’s a bit more complicated than just ‘No’ or ‘Yes’, but that’s for good reasons.

The thing is when you chose to drink once you are a parent you are responsible for two people, not just yourself. This is true whether you’ve chosen a breastfeeding lifestyle or not.  Keep in mind that you haven’t drank in nearly a year and your body chemistry has changed, so you don’t really know how much that one glass is going to affect you. How many times have you had one too many and accidently tripped? Now what would happen if your infant is in your arms when that happens?  I don’t mean to scare you. I’m just trying to put it all in perspective. If you do chose to drink, do so responsibly. Maybe just make sure another sober adult is around to help you with your little baby.

Now you gotta think about how breastfeeding fits into all this. Not only are you caring for that infant, you are also their food source. When you breastfeed, the alcohol in your breast milk is similar to the alcohol in your bloodstream.  If you are feeling the effects of the alcohol your baby will too. You may metabolize your alcohol just fine, but look at how small your little one is. Babies metabolize alcohol at half the rate their mother does. For those of us who appreciate details, a resource “Drinking Alcohol While Breastfeeding” provides complete details on the breakdown time of the alcohol in breastmilk .

Another reason to moderate how much you drink is its effect on your milk supply, which can be negatively affected by excessive drinking.

Here are a couple of ways to address drinking and breastfeeding;

  • Nurse your little one first and then have a drink so hopefully by the time the baby wants more milk, the alcohol has left your blood stream and your breast milk.
  • Have only one drink. This lets you enjoy yourself without endangering yourself or your baby.

So if you choose to have your glass of wine or pint of beer do so responsibly, for yourself and your baby.

Share your experience:

For more tips and hints about breastfeeding, or to share your experience, there are many ways you can talk to one of us directly:

  • Leave us a comment below – we’d love your feedback
  • Talk to us on Twitter: @haltonparents
  • Email us at haltonparents@halton.ca
  • Call the HaltonParents line for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) Simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.

About this guest blogger:

Rebecca Charron is a mom from Ontario and has a Masters in Physics and a research background in experimental and medical physics. She is co-chair of the Halton Baby Friendly Initiative which is also on Facebook.  She has breastfed her eldest son for going on 36 months and her new baby boy joined in on the fun in March 2012.

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