The Holidays are approaching and if you are like me, you will need a glass or two… or four… of wine to get through.
But is drinking alcohol safe while breastfeeding?
Everywhere you look there is something tempting – warm Bourbon Cider, Winter Sangria, Wine, Christmas Cranberry Margaritas, Irish Coffee, Cranberry-Spiced Cocktail, Pomegranate Champagne, Candy Cane Martini, Kahlua Hot Chocolate, my personal fav – Whisky Chai… Oh, I’m just getting started! (see me later for recipes – I know you are dying to try these)
So what to do when Uncle Tommy offers you a warm and decadent cup of Bourbon Cider? How can you pass that up?!
Well, keep your Ugly Christmas Sweater on, I am here to help you navigate through the Holidays!
How much is too much alcohol when breastfeeding?
Look, I get it, hanging out with Aunt Myrtle and Grandma Betty (I really do have an Aunt Myrtle and Grandma Betty) can really take some effort.
Sometimes people are more fun with a little drink in their hand. And sometimes surviving large family gatherings takes a drink or two.
So if you are breastfeeding, can you join in on the fun and enjoy a festive cocktail?
You do not have to avoid alcohol completely while nursing.
Now, I am not suggesting you can throw them back like a frat boy on spring break but a cocktail or two here and there is fine.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has this to say about breastfeeding and drinking alcohol:
Ingestion of alcoholic beverages should be minimized and limited to an occasional intake but no more than 0.5 g alcohol per kg body weight, which for a 60 kg mother is approximately 2 oz liquor, 8 oz wine, or 2 beers. Nursing should take place 2 hours or longer after the alcohol intake to minimize its concentration in the ingested milk.
So, Do You Need to Pump and Dump?
There is no need to “pump and dump” after consuming alcohol.
That does not rid your milk of the alcohol.
Alcohol leaves your milk the same way it leaves your blood. It doesn’t accumulate and stay there.
Alcohol will peak in your blood and milk around half an hour to an hour after consumption. There are of course many factors to consider like how much food you have eaten (which if you are like me at the holidays, that would be a lot…).
A fun fact – Your body absorbs less than 2% of the alcohol consumed into your blood and milk.
You also need to consider how old your baby is. A newborn’s body, for example, will react much differently to a higher level of alcohol in your milk than a 12-month-old.
A general rule to follow is, as the AAP outlined, to wait 2 hours after consuming alcohol to pump or breastfeed.
A good measure is that if you are fit to drive a car then you are fit to breastfeed.
Some Useful Tip for Surviving the Holidays While Nursing
2 – Come prepared: Bring your pump, extra bottles, nursing cover, etc so you are prepared for any situation.
If you typically nurse when your baby is with you, come prepared to pump just in case.
You don’t want to be away from home and have forgotten something essential.
3 – Make sure you nurse often and do not skip feedings: It is easy to get caught up in a good time and go longer than normal for each feeding.
Your baby may also be overwhelmed with all the excitement and get very distracted when trying to eat. Taking your baby to a quiet place to nurse or bottle feed to help.
Ask your host for a place you can go.
4 – When Traveling, be prepared! Follow these helpful tips for traveling and pumping.
5 – Be ready for unwanted comments and advice: Even the most well-meaning relative may want to give you advice about nursing or how you should or shouldn’t do something.
I take the “smile and nod” route. No point in getting into a debate.
Remember this is a happy family gathering so don’t get caught up in the silly comments. Come tomorrow, you will go back to raising your baby how you see fit. So don’t sweat the small stuff!
6 – Enjoy! The holidays can be stressful and busy but take the time to step back and enjoy.
Your children are little for a very short period of time and the holidays are magical for kids. So soak it up!
Before I go…If you were wondering about that Whisky Chai…
Just because I know you were dying to have some of the recipes for drinks I listed, here are a few of my favorites… You can thank me later.
NOTE: Drink recipes are from delish.com. Check it out for more yummy drinks!
Kahlua Hot Chocolate
- In a saucepan over low heat, warm 1/2 cup of whole milk and 1/2 cup of cream.
- Add 1 candy cane and stir until melted.
- Stir in 3 tbsp of Hot Coco Mix
- Stir in 1/4 tsp of Vanilla Extract
- Remove from heat and pour into mug, add 1 1/2 oz of Kahlua
- Garnish with whipped cream and a mini candy cane.
Candy Cane Martini
- Mix 1 1/2 oz of Vodka with 1 tsp Peppermint Schnapps
- Shake with ice in shaker
- Dip rim of Martini glass in crushed candy canes or colored sugar
- Strain drink mixture into a chilled Martini glass
- Garnish with mini candy cane
Whisky Chai Tea
- In a spice grinder, grind into a powder – 2 sticks of cinnamon, 20 black peppercorns, 16 whole cloves, 8 cardamom pods, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 freshly grated nutmeg.
- In a saucepan, bring 1 cup of whole milk to a boil.
- Remove from heat and add spice mixture, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 1 tbsp of loose black tea and let stand for 10 minutes.
- Strain the chai into a bowl and wipe out the saucepan.
- Return the chai to the saucepan and rewarm over low heat.
- Stir in 3 oz of Whisky and serve!
Warm Bourbon Cider
- In a large pot, warm 1-gallon fresh apple cider, 5 tsp of cinnamon, 2 1/2 tsp of nutmeg, 2 1/2 tsp of ground ginger.
- Once the mixture is brought to a Simmer (do not boil), remove from heat.
- Add 3 cups of Bourbon and stir
- Pour into mugs and garnish with a cinnamon stick!
Have a favorite holiday drink? Don’t be selfish! Sharing is caring…
Leave us your recipe here.
Have any tips for getting through the holidays while nursing? Let’s discuss! Drop me a comment!
Enjoy and Merry Christmas!
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