Three things about wine that breastfeeding mothers should not be forgotten

Are You a New Mother Who Enjoys a Glass of Wine? Then Don’t Miss These 3 Things About Wine that Breastfeeding Mothers Shouldn’t Forget

Are you a new mother who is excited to be able to drink alcohol after nine months of abstinence? Are you planning on nursing your newborn? Do you wonder whether you are impairing your baby’s development and growth in any way by drinking and nursing?

If you are worried about whether your drinking decisions could affect your new little person, then read on to get our three things about wine that breastfeeding mothers should not be forgotten.

In a world with top-notch research and discoveries, the effects of drinking while nursing still are not widely researched in extensive studies. That makes it a gray area in some doctor’s books but read on to learn the potential dangers and what you should consider. Drinking wine can be safe if you are a nursing mother, but it all depends on several critical factors that you’ll need to weigh before popping a cork.

The Details

In this guide, we’ve outlined three things about wine that breastfeeding mothers should not be forgotten – and we’ll go into detail about them right now so you can keep them in mind as you weigh your personal decision on the matter. We’ll explore whether the age of your baby matters if you are considering drinking wine while nursing, whether alcohol can affect the growth of your baby and the alternatives you have for helping to keep your body free from alcohol if you choose to drink:

1. Does the Age of the Baby Matter?

While there aren’t a lot of conclusive studies about whether alcohol affects the growth and development of a baby who is out of the womb (There are plenty of studies that show it affects the baby in the womb), doctors warn that newborns who are three months old or less are in an extremely vulnerable stage of development.

This is the time in the newborn’s life when his or her brain is still developing, and you need to do all you can to help make sure your baby has the best chance of developing to his or her full potential. Alcohol potentially could affect the proper development of the brain.

2. Does Alcohol Affect Baby Growth?

There are some studies that have shown that when alcohol is found to be present in milk, babies eat less. Certainly then, that could lead to the baby not developing on a typical schedule. Also, studies have shown that when alcohol is in milk in leads to the baby sleeping less.

Just like in human development, when you sleep less you are on an erratic eating schedule, and with a baby’s vulnerable growth stage this could lead to consuming less good nutrients and food that leads to a baby being on a typically developing chart.

Also, some studies have shown mothers who had one drink a daily while nursing had babies with delayed motor development skills. It also delays prolactin response to the baby’s ability to suckle, leading to less nutrition the baby receives per nursing session.

All of these warnings are important to consider as they could potentially delay your baby’s motor skills because he or she isn’t getting enough nutrition. You want your baby to meet the typically-developing goals for weight — and that means doing everything you can to keep him or her on track while young and developing at this critical stage.

3. What About “Pumping and Dumping?”

You won’t get alcohol out of your milk faster by the practice known as “pumping and dumping.” In fact, it just takes time for alcohol to cycle out of your body – much like it does for a person who is not nursing at all.

The American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding recommends waiting two or more hours after you have consumed an alcoholic beverage before you nurse. This minimizes the chances of your baby ingesting alcohol via your milk.

Now, one thing to consider is to pump as much as you can ahead of drinking so that you can enjoy a drink and wait even a few days before you nurse again. This is one way to ensure better alcohol has been flushed out of your system and won’t affect your milk. Some mothers keep extra supplies of milk in the refrigerator for a few days so that there is a storehouse when the baby gets hungry. This gives you more flexibility if you would like to have a glass of wine, or you know there will be a special, upcoming event where you would like to have a drink.

The American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding recommends you should limit your alcohol intake if you choose to drink. They officially recommend only 0.5 grams (0.01 ounces) of alcohol per 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of your body weight. This is equal to about two ounces of liquor, 8 ounces of wine or two beers for a woman who weighs about 60 kilograms – or about 132 pounds.

Are You Considering Drinking While Nursing?

In conclusion, if you’re considering consuming alcohol while you’re still nursing these are the top three things you should consider. While studies are not extensive in this area of research, there is a cautionary tale many doctors will tell you when nursing newborn babies especially.

The key is to exercise discretion and control when commencing drinking and trying some of the methods that will keep regular alcohol out of your milk – including abstaining for several hours or days before consuming alcohol again. You want to be extra vigilant to protect your new baby during this crucial time of brain development. You also want your baby to receive the proper amount of nutrition and sleep.

Every mother will make her decision as she considers what is right for her and her baby. But it is important to consider the latest in medical research and to heed the warnings of medical professionals on this matter.

Think carefully, drink responsibly and remember that abstaining from wine during this time is only for a season. You won’t nurse forever, but you truly are giving your baby the natural nourishment he or she needs to develop well. If you have questions, never hesitate to consult with your doctor, as well.

Hannah Tong is the founder of, a blog dedicated to providing accurate advice to mothers regarding childcare. She loves taking care of her kids and teaching them the right things. She is also enthusiastic and loves sharing her experiences to teach others about how to care for their families’ health

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