Congrats on your new bundle of joy. You’ve waited 9 months to toast and cheers for a lifetime of happiness, but now you are breastfeeding. You want that well-deserved glass of wine, you want to eventually meet the girls for margaritas, you want just a beer…we get it. In fact, there is an old wives’ tale that beer helps increase your milk supply (but that’s actually due to barley, not the alcohol.) If you are a nursing mom that wants an occasional drink but is worried you will pass along the alcohol to your baby, testing your breast milk can give you peace of mind. This gives new meaning to the term “milk drunk,” for sure.
With much conflicting information out there about what is safe when it comes to breastfeeding and alcohol, it is always better to err on the side of caution. Every mom will have to decide what she feels comfortable with, with no judgments. According to the CDC’s guidelines, drinking an occasional alcoholic beverage while breastfeeding is acceptable; however, consuming more than one drink per day is not recommended. March of Dimes reports not having more than two drinks a week and waiting at least 2 hours after each drink before breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that occasional alcohol use equivalent to 8 oz of wine or 2 cans of beer per day may be acceptable and that waiting 2 hours after the last drink before breastfeeding is sufficient. Some doctors go by the rule of thumb, “mothers who ingest alcohol in moderate amounts can generally return to breastfeeding as soon as they feel neurologically normal.” But the definition of normal is too broad for interpretation, and the truth is that there are other variables that come into play with regard to what is safe and how much alcohol goes into your breast milk. These factors include the child’s age, the mom’s weight, the amount of alcohol consumed, and what the mom has eaten, just to name a few. The more alcohol that is consumed, the longer it will be present in the milk. So why not take some of the guesswork out and use a breast milk test strip for alcohol?
The skinny on pumping & dumping
I think all women can agree that breastfeeding is hard work, and you want to save every last drop of your “liquid gold,” especially if you carry a low supply. The phrase Pump and Dump means exactly what it sounds like. It is when a lactating mom expresses milk via a breast pump and discards the milk. There are typically two reasons why a mom might do this. One reason may be comfort. If a lactating mom is away from their baby and their breasts become engorged, pumping and dumping may help alleviate the pressure. Another reason is that a nursing mom might be concerned about the contents of their breast milk, especially after consuming alcohol. However, the latter is not necessary because pumping does not reduce how much alcohol is present in your milk any faster. Alcohol doesn’t get trapped or accumulate in your breast milk. In fact, as your alcohol blood level falls over time, so too does the alcohol level in your breast milk. As alcohol is broken down and metabolized by your liver, it leaves your system. Alcohol elimination from breast milk depends largely upon maternal weight and the amount of alcohol consumed. While pumping and dumping may seem like a good solution, it does not remove alcohol from the body. The only way to know if it's safe to nurse is to wait for the alcohol to leave your bloodstream. Don’t throw all of your hard work down the sink unless it is for comfort or to maintain your milk supply. It is recommended to nurse or pump right before taking your first sip.
Get peace of mind by using breast milk test strips for alcohol
Experts, doctors, and studies show that there is no level of alcohol in breast milk that is considered “safe” for a baby to drink. Babies’ nervous systems are not fully developed and can be affected in more serious ways by alcohol. However, after nine long months of pregnancy, many mamas want to have an occasional drink but worry about passing alcohol on to their babies. Checkable’s breast milk alcohol test strips remove any guesswork about whether you are passing the alcohol onto your baby so that you can breastfeed and drink with confidence. Checkable's breast milk alcohol test strips are formulated to detect blood alcohol levels of .02 and higher. which helps give moms peace of mind after having a glass of wine, beer, or liquor. The strips use a color-changing indicator to show the presence of alcohol, and the results are easy to read and give results in just a few minutes. You can pop them in your diaper bag for when you are out and about or use them while watching TV. There’s no reason to take any chances, even if you waited two hours…every mama’s milk and body are different.
Top benefits of using breast milk alcohol test strips
- Detects the presence of alcohol in breast milk
- Fast, accurate, & easy-to-read results in minutes
- Convenient for on-the-go or at-home use
- Peace of mind so you can breastfeed and drink with confidence
Bottom line? Don’t feel guilty for having a glass of wine or a night out with friends; just test your breast milk before nursing or pumping and leave the math and guesswork out. Just remember to nurse or pump before you drink in case you need a booze-free supply. You got this, mama.