Can I drink alcohol, even though I'm silent?
After nine months of abstinence in pregnancy, many mothers want to celebrate the birth of their baby with a glass of champagne. There is also the ancient advice that a small glass of alcohol makes breastfeeding easier or has a milk-producing effect. Today it has been found that alcohol can not increase the amount of milk (Mennella & Beauchamp 1993 and Mennella 1998, 2001) and that infants drank significantly less milk on average when their mother had drunk alcohol (Mennella & Beauchamp 1991, 1993).
The National Breastfeeding Committee at the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment recommends no alcohol consumption while breastfeeding and says very clearly: "Breastfeeding and alcohol consumption? - Better not!". Bear in mind that alcohol is not just a stimulant, it is an intoxicant and poison for our body and, accordingly, for the breastfed child.
How can the alcohol harm my baby?
Alcohol enters your body directly into the blood, from where it also enters the breast milk. Studies show an increase in alcohol in breast milk about 30 to 90 minutes after consumption. The problem is that a baby's liver is not yet working like an adult's.It can not break down the alcohol and the poison (and that's alcohol) attacks the nerve cells, for example in the brain. To fight the poison, your baby's heart beats faster and that puts extra strain on his little body.
An effect of the alcohol in adults is that the reflexes slow down, which among other things leads to the inability to drive. The baby's situation is similar: his search, sucking and swallowing reflex slows down, so it can drink worse on the chest than if it is sober.
A recent study by the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia (USA) also refutes the claim that alcohol facilitates breastfeeding. It even seems to be true the opposite. Under the influence of alcohol, the production of the hormone oxytocin in the mother's body decreases. As a result, less milk is produced and it flows later than in mothers who have not drunk anything. In other words, if the mother was intoxicated, the baby gets less to drink.
How do I know if I have residual alcohol in my blood?
The fact that you feel sober does not necessarily mean that you are. Alcohol takes an hour to get fully into the bloodstream, after about two hours, the liver takes up the work and begins with the degradation. It creates about 0.1 per mill per hour.
To calculate how much per thousand you have in your blood, there is the so-called Widmark formula. It also takes into account the fact that women, due to their higher body fat percentage and estrogen, reduce alcohol worse than men. That's why the formula for women is:
Per thousand = Amount of alcohol consumed in grams: (0.6 x body weight in kg)
For example, if a woman weighing 60 kg drinks a glass of beer (5% alcohol), that's equivalent to 8 grams of alcohol. The bill would be so
8 gr.: (0.6 x 60) = 0.22 per thousand.
As the liver works with two hours delay, the woman would be sober after about four hours. But keep in mind that this can be different for every person and for each amount of alcohol.
How many grams of alcohol a particular beverage contains can be seen in the following table:
|drink||amount||alcohol content||amount of alcohol|
|1 glass of beer||0.2 l||5 vol.%||8 grams|
|1 bottle of beer||0.5 l||5 vol.%||20 grams|
|1 glass of wine||0.2 l||10 vol.%||16 grams|
|1 bottle of wine||0.75 l||10 vol.%||60 grams|
|1 schnapps||2 cl (0.02 l)||40% by volume||6 grams|
|1 bottle of schnapps||0.7 l||40% by volume||220 grams|
How can I protect my baby?
If, for whatever reason, you can not or will not resist the alcohol, then you should take precautions. Lastly, breastfeed your baby for the day before enjoying a glass of wine or beer. By doing so, make the greatest possible gap between breastfeeding and alcohol.
You can also pump off milk before enjoying a glass of wine or beer to make one or two meals. The safest way to protect your baby, however, is to continue to abstain from alcohol until you have weaned your baby.
Video: How do I manage that with breastfeeding?
Learn with Nancy in our video how to avoid breastfeeding problems from the beginning and make breastfeeding a pleasure for you and your baby.
Video: Learn to breastfeed correctly