Can You Drink Wine While Breastfeeding? How Does It Affect a Baby?

wine and breastfeeding

Every mother knows that alcoholic drinks cannot be consumed during breastfeeding. Wine is not an exception here. Wine and breastfeeding should not coexist.  In the fragile bodies of the infants, there are no enzymes that split the alcohol. Therefore, a safe dose for an adult can become fatal to a baby.

All parents know that drinking alcohol when breastfeeding is unacceptable. But many breastfeeding women believe that a glass of wine or beer, drunk once or twice a week, will not do any harm to the baby. So, is alcohol dangerous during the breastfeeding period? Or is its danger very much exaggerated? Is it possible for a woman to drink some wine while breastfeeding?

Alcohol While Breastfeeding

It is hard to overestimate the responsibility of a nursing mother for her child’s health. During breastfeeding, a woman should be very selective about the choice of food. Not always what a mother wants to eat or drink will be safe for her baby. There is a whole list of products that are prohibited during the breastfeeding period. It goes without saying, that this list of harmful products includes alcoholic drinks as well.

wine glasses and breastfeeding

Consuming alcohol during breastfeeding is especially dangerous in the first six months of a baby’s life. At this age, the child’s liver is not capable of digesting alcohol, even in very small amounts. Therefore, during this period, a woman should avoid drinking alcohol in any case. The highest concentration of alcohol in breast milk is reached after 30-60 minutes after ingestion. Then it starts to decline. It takes about three hours to remove alcohol from breast milk. Therefore, if a woman needs to drink a glass of wine while breastfeeding, it is better to do it immediately after feeding the baby.

Studies have shown that even a small amount of alcoholic beverage consumed by a mother negatively affects her breast milk and, consequently, the baby.

Wine and Breastfeeding

The same applies to the consumption of wine during breastfeeding. There is an opinion that high-quality red wine does not harm the child. Vice versa, it can be useful for him and the mother. In particular, there is an opinion that red wine raises the level of hemoglobin in the blood. But still, doctors are strongly against drinking wine while breastfeeding. If there is a need, you can increase hemoglobin eating healthy foods. And the harm done to a child by alcohol cannot be justified.

red wine and breastfeeding

Specialists note that the children of those women who regularly consumed alcohol during breastfeeding in the first year of the baby’s life lag far behind in motor development from their peers. In addition, the consumption of alcohol-containing beverages adversely affects the process of breastfeeding. Two hormones are produced in a woman’s body during breastfeeding. These are oxytocin and prolactin. Prolactin is responsible for the production of breast milk. Oxytocin promotes the flow of milk through the nipple. A woman who consumes alcohol while breastfeeding increases the level of prolactin. At the same time, the level of oxytocin decreases. As a result, the woman’s breast is full of milk, but this milk can’t get to the nipple easily. It becomes difficult for a child to suck mother’s breast since the milk is secreted from the breast with difficulties.

Alcohol in the Body and Breast Milk

The wine is quickly absorbed in the body of a nursing woman, but it is slowly withdrawn. So, a dry drink appears in the blood in half an hour, a sparkling one – after 10 minutes. Around 10% of everything that enters the blood passes into breast milk

The time needed for withdrawal of the wine depends on the dose. At least 3 hours will be needed to withdraw a glass of wine from the body. If a woman has small body weight – it will take even more time.

An infant’s organism is very weak and not adapted to the new conditions. Protective functions are also poorly developed, so the kid’s liver is not able to deal even with a minimum amount of alcohol.

At the age of up to three months excretion of alcohol from the baby’s body takes twice as long as from the adult one. So, a glass of wine will be completely withdrawn after more than six hours.

Keep in mind that alcohol is toxic. It causes allergies, colics, and other digestive disorders. In addition, the baby can be strongly poisoned!

Why Should You Refuse Drinking Wine While Breastfeeding?

There are several reasons why drinking alcohol is forbidden for young mothers.

1. The taste of milk.

Alcohol gets into the breast milk very fast. It immediately affects the composition of milk, changing the taste in the negative direction. Therefore, the baby can give up the breast. And not only for one or several feedings but in general.

So think what is more important to you: the opportunity to drink a little wine or to feed your son or daughter healthy breast milk which favorably affects the harmonic development and active growth of the baby.

2.Toxicity of alcohol.

The organism of the baby is not strong enough to eliminate the negative effect of toxins. As a result, the infant may have problems with the central nervous system, which can lead to restless sleep.

Also, ethyl alcohol damages the protective layer of the digestive tract. Drinking wine while breastfeeding can provoke colic in the intestines, nausea, abdominal pain, and lack of appetite. In addition, there can be a weakness, lower blood pressure, and palpitations.

glasses of wine while breastfeeding

3. Problems with the production of breast milk.

Any alcohol, even in the most minimal doses, depresses lactation. If you often drink wine while breastfeeding the milk will most likely be lost. It is common knowledge that drinking alcohol interferes with the work of hormones (oxytocin) responsible for the production of breast milk.

Not Less Important

4. The slowdown of the reaction.

Even if you drink very little, you cannot control everything around as well as in a sober state of mind. If you take into account the prolonged abstinence from alcohol during 9 months of pregnancy even a sip of wine can strongly “affect your brain”. And after all, you are responsible for the safety of your child. You can simply not be there in time to prevent possible injuries due to awkward movements of the baby.

It’s scary even to imagine what can happen if you drop a baby being under the influence of alcohol. What’s more, there were many cases when a drunk mother went to bed with her baby and it ended very sadly for the latter.

Harm to the Child

Alcohol affects the nervous system of the child. The baby who has tasted breast milk with alcohol quickly falls asleep. But their sleep will be restless, and they will often wake up. If the mother regularly consumes alcohol, the child will have a delay in mental development.

Regular consumption of wine while breastfeeding can affect the cardiovascular system of the child: the heart rate may increase, general weakness may appear, and blood pressure may drop.

The child suffers more from intestinal colic. Ethyl alcohol leads to inflammation of the membranes of the esophagus, stomach, or intestines. The absorption function of the intestines is disturbed which is why vitamins and minerals are badly absorbed. If a mother frequently drinks wine while breastfeeding the child is gaining little weight and often lags behind in physical development.

Frequent consumption of alcohol by the mother gradually becomes an addiction for the child.

Rules for Drinking Wine during Breastfeeding

  • Don’t drink alcohol during the first 3 months after giving birth! Even a sip of wine can lead to severe consequences for the baby.
  • The safest dose is no more than 2 oz. of wine. If the child is older than six months, then you can have a glass.
  • Choose dry white wine with the lowest alcohol degree. Buy natural and expensive wine. A cheap beverage contains dangerous additives.
  • Drink after breastfeeding.
  • After drinking a glass of wine, stop breastfeeding for at least 3 hours. You can pump milk before taking alcohol. You will be able to use it during the feeding until the alcohol leaves your body completely. This will take at least 5 hours, provided that you have drunk no more than 2 oz. of wine. If the dose is exceeded the period of abstinence from applying the baby to the breast, respectively, increases several times.

milk and wine while breastfeeding

  • Do not drink on an empty stomach! Have a solid meal before drinking. When the stomach is full the wine is less absorbed into the blood. To prevent dehydration and reduce the alcohol content in the body, have a good snack while drinking. And drink more water.

A small amount of wine on a special occasion while observing the rules of drinking will not cause a negative reaction in the baby. But remember that breastfeeding and wine are far from the best combination!

References
1. https://www.todaysparent.com/why-breastfeeding-moms-can-enjoy-a-glass-of-wine/

2. https://www.babycenter.com/alcohol-and-breastfeeding

3. https://www.momtricks.com/breastfeeding/alcohol-and-breastfeeding/

4. https://www.bellybelly.com.au/breastfeeding/alcohol-and-breastfeeding/

5. https://expectingscience.com//drinking-while-nursing-7-things-to-know/

6. https://www.checkpregnancy.com/drink-wine-pregnancy-concerns/

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