If I drink a glass of wine or some alcohol, do I need to pump and dump? That’s a question about nursing. A lot of moms are rightly concerned about the effect that alcohol may have on their developing infant’s brain. Certainly, while a mom is pregnant, there’s no known safe level of alcohol that can be consumed. So the safest and most appropriate recommendation is to abstain from alcohol. There’s been studies over the years that have suggested that there may be some wiggle room on that, but the exact levels have not been determined. And we know that alcohol, when consumed, can have serious and lifelong effects on the infant’s brain. So again, the safest amount to drink in is none. After the infant is born I would generally recommend abstaining for the first at least three to four months of life.
After that, as the baby starts to feed, perhaps less often, you can drink with some sensible guidelines. First off, you really want to drink in moderation. At this point, I would say that means, you know, maybe one drink a day. It’s certainly not recommending, you know, drinking excessively by any means. And that’s because it takes time for the alcohol to be metabolized by the mom’s body and then leave her system. So most experts recommend not nursing for at least two hours after having a drink, a standard sized drink. If you do have concerns that there may still be alcohol present in your breast milk, there are certainly test strips available that you can use to test breast milk to be sure, or you can just wait. If you really wanted to be cautious, you could pump and then dump that breast milk and feed stored milk from before or formula to compensate for that feeding.