Is it time for a wine yet?

Is it time for a wine yet?

All of my three pregnancies crossed over the Christmas/New Year/summer time period. In fact two out of the three were announced to our families on Christmas Day.
Champagne flute in hand we toasted and said “Surprise! Baby on the way!” and then my bubbles got promptly exchanged for sparkling grape juice.
Now drinking while pregnant can be a dividing topic for most – like anti-vaxxing or changing the NZ flag, most people firmly stand in one camp and it’s a very personal decision.

Many of my friends chose to imbibe here or there while pregnant, the choice that was right for me was none at all. I didn’t miss alcohol too much and it never bothered me. Once the baby was out, well I didn’t feel like a drink right away that’s for sure, but as the weeks stretched out and a routine set in, like many women I wondered if I could drink and how much was okay.

For reasons I can only attribute to first-mum-paranoia and guilt, with my first son I was convinced that there was a line from my mouth to my breast. As though if I had a sip of alcohol it would siphon directly out in to baby’s mouth.
So for months I turned down a wine with dinner or a beer on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Around the time my first son had turned 5 or 6 months old, that’s when I started to feel like myself again. The fog of newbornness had gone and the sleep – and therefore sanity – was returning. I wanted to do more stuff that felt like “the old me” such as returning to exercise, working a little and having something to drink if I chose to.
But I was still a nervous first time mum. If I had a standard sized drink I made sure there was enough expressed milk to feed baby, and would quickly “pump and dump” the offending liquid from my body. Or I would time the drink for immediately after I had fed the baby, to ensure maximum time lapsed between his feeds.

Now with child number three, I worry a little bit less. It’s still in everyone’s best interest if the alcohol is limited, but I don’t panic if I’ve enjoyed a drink before feeding – a combination of being better informed after many years of parenting and that current guidelines change about as often as the seasons.
Though with the ease of pumping (especially with my Freemie electric breast pump unit!) I always have a stash of milk in the freezer so I know my boy can be fed no matter what happens.

While the above is purely my personal experience, here are some facts to bear in mind:

  • Alcohol appears in breast milk at about the same levels as your bloodstream; that is your blood/alcohol level would indicate your milk/alcohol level
  • Alcohol does not stay in breast milk, just as it does not stay in your bloodstream
  • It will take approximately 2-4 hours for a standard drink to completely clear your bloodstream/breast milk (dependant on physical factors and type of alcohol)
  • Babies under 3 months old will have a tougher time processing alcohol in breast milk, so some experts recommend not drinking alcohol at all until your baby is at least 3 months old
  • Moderate to heavy drinking while breastfeeding can have a detrimental effect on your baby

Here are a few resources that I have found useful on the topic of drinking and breastfeeding:

By |2016-06-17T10:24:02+12:00August 5th, 2015|Breast feeding experience, Breast pumping Blog|Comments Off on Is it time for a wine yet?

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