Wednesday, November 2, 2016

To feed or not to feed....

Holiday season is upon us! Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year.  Time to start planning the menus from the food you want to serve to deciding between coctails, or mocktails.

Photo from www.myvmc.com/

You may be wondering why I am choosing to blog about this topic.  As a breastfeeding mom I have to pay attention to what I put into my body, because what goes in will come out in my milk.  Which is why recommendations are to eat a variety of foods because if may help your LO have a more developed pallet and therefore less picky about the foods they eat later.  And it's not just essence and flavors of food that your baby is getting. Earlier this week there was a post on one of my Facebook groups regarding pumping and dumping after a night out with friends.


When I initially commented on this post I recommended not using the milk she had pumped as a food source for her daughter, but to use it in another way.  Anything but giving it as food.  Of course I have no way of knowing how much this mom had consumed and in what time frame, but in her own words she was "extremely hungover" and to me that says she overindulged,which is her right as an adult over the age of 21.   As a mom we should be able to enjoy some downtime whenever we want it, and in whatever manor we wish to indulge.  However, she was wanting validation for wanting to give her baby the milk she pumped during her night of fun. That being said there are some clear recommendations regarding drinking and breastfeeding found on kellymom.com .  Simply put, it's safe for mom to have one serving of alcohol after feeding their baby, then wait 2 hours to feed your baby again.  But I decided to do more research on my own.
Photo from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
There are a lot of factors that go into how alcohol effects a person, gender, weight, age, whether or not you eat and several other things I'm just not going to get into.

Women actually have a lower level of the enzyme that breaks down alcohol. (knowyourlimits.info)

On stanford.edu the article on alcohol and absorption states that, "Body weight determines the amount of space through which alcohol can diffuse in the body. In general, a person who weighs 180 lbs will have a lower blood alcohol concentration than a 140 lb person who drank the same amount."  That being said, wouldn't it be safe to assume that a baby, who weighs a fraction of what mom weighs would have a much higher blood alcohol concentration if they were to consume mom's milk when she is drunk, this also includes giving baby milk that was pumped while intoxicated.  Once milk has left mom's body it does not lose the alcohol content the way it would if it were still in the boob.

Alcohol effects younger people differently than older people who may know when to say when. There is a greater effect on younger people and it can do more damage than it would to someone much older. "Alcohol can be particularly damaging to teenage brains, which are still developing."(knowyourlimits.info) If we are warned about the damage alcohol can do to a teenager...why aren't we as concerned about the damage it can do to an infant!   

We all know that drinking on an empty stomach will get you drunk faster.  So having a glass of wine or beer with dinner is a great way to enjoy an adult beverage of your choice while still staying sober.

There seems to be a differing opinion on exactly how much of the alcohol gets to mama's milk.  According to an article on slate.com, "When your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 percent, alcohol is in your milk at a 0.08 percent concentration, too. These concentrations peak about 30 to 45 minutes after you’ve had your glass, Once you’ve sobered up, your milk will be alcohol-free again.. Babies break down alcohol more slowly than adults do."  they also go on to say that feeding an infant while imbibing alcohol  “should have no clinical significance.”   Should have, but do you really want to take that risk?  Kellymom.com states that only 2% of alcohol gets into mama's milk, and peaks an hour and a half after consumption...they also warn that an infant cannot metabolize alcohol as fast as an adult.  Daily consumption of 1+ drinks can impair gross motor development.  The fact that there is such a wide range of opinions...makes me wonder.  Do we really know exactly how much baby would be getting?  We do know that it can interfere with how much baby eats, and how well they sleep.

With all of this information, I want to say, I'm all for the occasional glass of wine, or beer.  And if on a mommy's night out you tie one on and get a bit crazy all is not lost. My recommendation is to pump, but don't dump, just don't feed it to baby.  There is a host of other uses for breast milk, but that is a post for another day.  For now I'm going to enjoy my 4 oz of Caramel Apple Sangria now that Baby Fish is asleep!