Is it safe to drink alcohol while pregnant or breastfeeding?

Is it safe to drink alcohol while pregnant or breastfeeding?

Whether you're currently pregnant or are breastfeeding you might have some questions around the safety of drinking alcohol while growing and feeding your little one.

Is it safe to drink alcohol when pregnant?

When pregnant, or planning a pregnancy, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all, to keep risks to your baby to a minimum. Drinking in pregnancy can lead to long-term harm to the baby, with the more you drink the greater the risk.

Drinking when breastfeeding

The Department of Health recommend that breastfeeding mothers should have no more than one or two units of alcohol per week. One unit of alcohol is approximately a single (25ml) measure of spirits, half a pint of beer, or 125ml (small) glass of wine, although this depends on the strength of the drink. See the NHS website for more information on units and their recommendations. At Lansinoh we would always recommend if you intend to have a rare drink on a special occasion, expressing breastmilk in advance is a good idea so you can miss the first breastfeed after the function and feed your baby expressed milk instead. You need to ensure your breastfeeding is established before you try this. You also need to consider your breasts may become uncomfortably full if you leave long gaps between feeds and you might consider taking a Manual Breast Pump with you to relieve the pressure by expressing. On average it takes one 1-2 hours for your body to break down one unit of alcohol. Another tip would be that mothers who do want a drink could have one unit of alcohol with a meal shortly after a feed, so there is time to process the alcohol before baby needs to feed again. If you have been drinking alcohol, never share a bed or sofa with your baby and always drink plenty of water.