I'm not a big drinker, but I do love a glass of red wine -- especially after a long day, on a chilly fall night when my fireplace is blazing, the kids are sound asleep and I can (hopefully) sit still for a few minutes.
I never drank when I was pregnant. Not a drop. After my baby was born, though, I was looking forward to being able to kick back once in a while with a fine Cabernet. Even while I was breastfeeding.
My mom told me it was fine! She reminded me that back in the day she drank alcohol AND smoked cigarettes while she was pregnant with me. (Yikes!) My lactation consultant said it would be acceptable to have an occasional drink, but better if I didn't. Then I had friends who were absolutely against it and didn't think any alcohol was a good idea.
If you consult La Leche Leauge, they say:
"The effects of alcohol on the breastfeeding baby are directly related to the amount the mother ingests. When the breastfeeding mother drinks occasionally or limits her consumption to one drink or less per day, the amount of alcohol her baby receives has not been proven to be harmful."
The American Academy of Pediatrics takes a slightly stronger stance by indicating that ...
"Mothers should avoid the use of alcoholic beverages, because alcohol is concentrated in breast milk and its use can inhibit milk production. An occasional celebratory single, small alcoholic drink is acceptable, but breastfeeding should be avoided for 2 hours after the drink."
I think that having a single glass of wine after a long day or a Martini if you get the chance to have a date night out with your husband can help you to relax and unwind. I think the benefits of being able to enjoy yourself once in a while and feeling like a happier woman and mother outweigh the minimal risks that come along with responsible, occasional drinking.
What do you think? Do you think it's safe for your baby if you have a drink while breastfeeding?
Image via TheBusyBrain/Flickr