Is it safe to drink alcohol while pregnant or breastfeeding?
Whether you’re currently pregnant or are breastfeeding you might have some questions around the safety of drinking alcohol while growing and feeding your little one. If you are planning on enjoying the festive season with a glass of alcohol to celebrate, make sure you know the facts, read on below.
Is it safe to drink alcohol when pregnant?
When pregnant, or planning a pregnancy, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all, to keep risks to your baby to a minimum. Drinking in pregnancy can lead to long-term harm to the baby, with the more you drink the greater the risk.
Drinking when breastfeeding
The Department of Health recommend that breastfeeding mothers should have no more than one or two units of alcohol per week. One unit of alcohol is approximately a single (25ml) measure of spirits, half a pint of beer, or 125ml (small) glass of wine, although this depends on the strength of the drink. See the NHS website for more information on units and their recommendations. On average it takes one 1-2 hours for your body to break down one unit of alcohol.
At Lansinoh we would always recommend if you intend to have an alcoholic drink on a special occasion, expressing breastmilk in advance is a good idea followed by missing the first breastfeed after the function and feed your baby expressed milk instead. You need to ensure your breastfeeding is established before you try this. You also need to consider your breasts may become full if you leave long gaps between feeds therefore having a handy breast pump in your bag will help to relieve the pressure by expressing. The Lansinoh Compact Single Electric Breast Pump is perfectly sized to slip into your bag and can be powered by a USB powerbank to make sure you are only carrying the essentials. You can also pump directly into our breastmilk storage bags making the size of the equipment even smaller.
Another tip would be that mothers who do want a drink could have one unit of alcohol with a meal shortly after a feed, so there is time to process the alcohol before baby needs to feed again.
If you have been drinking alcohol, never share a bed or sofa with your baby and always drink plenty of water.