Drinking and breastfeeding has been in the news recently after a mother in North Dakota pleaded guilty to child neglect after breastfeeding her infant while intoxicated. Fox and friends had a short segment on drinking and breastfeeding which you can view here. Once again, an “expert” was called that probably shouldn’t be putting ideas in the minds of current or prospective breastfeeding mothers.
Is Dr. Svetlana Kogan being sponsored by the formula companies to scare all women away from breastfeeding with her blanket, ridiculous approach to drinking and breastfeeding?
She claims that nursing mothers should wait 24 hours before breastfeeding after having even one drink. Nursing mothers around the world drink a glass of wine with dinner. As the Fox anchor noted, her own doctor (and many other doctors and lactation consultants) recommend having a glass of beer, Guinness in particular, to increase supply in the early postpartum days.
The anchor seemed to think the doctor was extreme, noting that there is a whole school of thought that formula is never better than breastmilk and that pumping and dumping one time is a reasonable approach for many breastfeeding mothers after they have had a drink.
A more commonsense and breastfeeding friendly approach is to tell women, yes it is OK to leave the house, yes it is OK to be social. Do not breastfeed drunk. Do not breastfeed if you cannot or should not drive. Do not breastfeed if you feel tipsy or buzzed. Be more cautious when nursing a 6 day old baby than a six month old baby. Drink with food. Drink after your baby goes to bed and wont be nursing for awhile. Stick to one drink. Isn’t this commonsense?
According to a quote taken from the La Leche League’s page on drinking and breastfeeding:
Dr. Jack Newman, member of the LLLI Health Advisory Council, says this in his handout “More Breastfeeding Myths”:
Reasonable alcohol intake should not be discouraged at all. As is the case with most drugs, very little alcohol comes out in the milk. The mother can take some alcohol and continue breastfeeding as she normally does. Prohibiting alcohol is another way we make life unnecessarily restrictive for nursing mothers.
Do not discourage women who are already embarrassed, uncomfortable and afraid to nurse in public to not breastfeed for 24 hours after one drink. That is only encouraging plugged milk ducts, mastitis, angry babies and premature weaning.