After nine months of disciplined abstinence, you may be ready for that first cool glass of Chablis. And as long as you’re aware of when enough’s enough, the occasional use of alcohol shouldn’t present a problem for you or your baby. As a rule, breast-feeding mothers should avoid nursing within two hours after drinking. Peak alcohol levels are noted in milk around 30-60 minutes after drinking. This may be more prolonged when drinking with food.
What about pumping and dumping? Don’t waste your time. Milk levels match blood levels. In other words, alcohol isn’t stored in breast milk. When the blood level goes down, so goes the alcohol in the milk.
For the hypervigilant, Milkscreen, Inc. of Austin, Texas recently introduced a two-minute test that detects ethanol in breast milk. Breast milk is tested by applying to a test strip that changes color in the presence of alcohol. For the dads who haven’t figured it out, this is like a breathalizer for milk (actually Milkscreen doesn’t quantitate alcohol but simply offers a present or absent verdict).
An interesting spin on this is the fact that lactation consultants are concerned that this could potentially interfere with breast-feeding in by adding unnecessary concern.
Either way, make mine shaken, not stirred.