Alcohol and BFing - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 41 Old 12-05-2008, 07:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I'm going home for Christmas and will see my cousin who has a 9mo DD. It took some convincing and encouragement to get her to BF in the first place so now I feel somewhat responsible to "educate" her as far as her alcohol consumption. She's 21 and lives on an army base while her DH is in Iraq. She is consistently posting pictures of herself consuming alcohol and it doesn't seem like it's just here and there, it's shots and drinking beer with a straw.

Should I say something to her? Should I mind my own business?
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#2 of 41 Old 12-05-2008, 08:42 PM
 
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I think it really depends how much alcohol over how much time. If you drink 3 drinks over a few hours its probably not going to do much but if you drink 3 drinks in one hour than it may start affecting the baby. Just tell her maybe that you saw the pics and you hope she isnt getting too wasted. For all you know she gives her baby pumped milk or formula when she has a night out on the town.

Me(33), Mama to a crazy DD (6), Wife to a wonderful mountain man(32) BF my babe for 2 years.
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#3 of 41 Old 12-05-2008, 08:56 PM
 
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Mind your own business.

Drinking is not a problem with breastfeeding. The bigger concern would be if she's so drunk that she's not safe to parent.

-Angela
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#4 of 41 Old 12-06-2008, 12:57 AM
 
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Drinking is not a problem with breastfeeding. The bigger concern would be if she's so drunk that she's not safe to parent.
:

Of much bigger concern is her dropping the baby while drunk (or not waking when baby needs her etc.) It would take A LOT of drinks to get breastmilk loaded with enough alcohol to affect the baby, but chronic drinking can lower supply.
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#5 of 41 Old 12-07-2008, 11:53 AM
 
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Mind your own business.

Drinking is not a problem with breastfeeding. The bigger concern would be if she's so drunk that she's not safe to parent.

-Angela
Really! Wow. Do you have a link? I love beer Not excessively but I'm a numbers gal and would love to see really how much is safe, etc., especially with New Year's Eve coming up. Thanks.

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#6 of 41 Old 12-07-2008, 12:04 PM
 
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Dr Jack Newman:
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5. A mother should not drink alcohol while breastfeeding. Not true! Reasonable alcohol intake should not be discouraged at all. As is the case with most drugs, very little alcohol comes out in the milk. The mother can take some alcohol and continue breastfeeding as she normally does. Prohibiting alcohol is another way we make life unnecessarily restrictive for breastfeeding mothers.
http://drjacknewman.com/help/Breastfeeding%20Myths.asp

Also some good info: http://drjacknewman.com/help/Breastf...edications.asp

Dr. Hale:

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Ethanol passes into milk while it is in the plasma compartment. I generally suggest it is ok to breastfeed after one, maybe two regular drinks (not supersized).

Or the mom can wait for about 3-4 hours following her last ingested drink, or just wait until she is sober.

Remember alcohol passes into and OUT of milk as a function of maternal plasma level. Thus as the mom's level drops, so do the levels in milk.

This all means that if the mom does not have high levels of alcohol in her blood, then her milk is not likely to have high levels either.

One last comment. Alcohol is believed to reduce milk synthesis to a slight degree, some caution is recommended for moms with poor milk supply. Secondly, it may impart a 'taste' to milk that infants don't like, so they may refuse to breastfeed until the alcohol is gone.

Tom Hale, Ph.D.
http://66.230.33.248/discus/messages...tml?1075923568
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#7 of 41 Old 12-07-2008, 12:20 PM
 
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PatioGardener Thank you!

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#8 of 41 Old 12-07-2008, 12:26 PM
 
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Mind your own business.

Drinking is not a problem with breastfeeding. The bigger concern would be if she's so drunk that she's not safe to parent.

-Angela
HUH??? Alcohol enters and leaves the milk the same way it enters and leaves the bloodstream. Of course the bloodstream will contain MORE alcohol than the milk. It takes one hour for 1 oz (1 drink) of alcohol to leave the bloodstream - same for the milk. But if she is drinking and partying, then she is probably drunk or at least tipsy, in which case she either needs to pump or give formula until the alcohol has left her system.

Studies have been done that one drink while nursing hasn't been proven to have any side effects on the baby, however just because they havent seen side effects doesnt mean it's 100% safe.

Yes, a much smaller amount of alcohol is in the milk than in the mom's bloodstream, but remember that a baby is tiny, it's system is not equipped to handle alcohol, and it would take a much smaller amount to do damage.

Unless something is proven to be safe, I really wouldn't do it while nursing. I don't need alcohol THAT bad.

I am a young mom (24 in Feb) and found out 6 months after I turned 21 that I was pregnant with my first. I was in my "prime" drinking years, so to speak, but have not had more than a sip here and there of alcohol since finding out I was pregnant.

Also ~ for a normal non BFing person, 1 drink per day is said to be safe, and actually can be helpful to the body (certain type of drinks, not all... red wine, for instance is good). They say 2 drinks is neutral, neither harmful nor helpful, but anymore than that is harmful to the body. Not to say you cant have more drinks, but as an adult your body is better able to handle alcohol.

So I would keep that rule even for nursing, 1 drink while BFing is probably ok. 2, probably still not going to hurt. But more than that in a day is probably causing some kind of harm somewhere to the baby. They are so small, and weigh practically nothing compared to an adult, so any amount of alcohol is at the very least going to be hard for the baby's body to process.

I would just let her know those facts. Maybe bring it up in a non threatening way, and just say "So, hows nursing going?" find out if she is supplementing, and ask when. She may offer then information that she's doing when she goes out with friends before you even need to ask. Then you can say "Its hard with the holidays, I'd like to drink but I have to make sure I pump enough milk first for the baby so that the alcohol isn't going into the babies system.

You can do it more conversationally rather than pinpointing her and saying "I saw your drinking pics!!! BAD MOMMY!!!"

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#9 of 41 Old 12-07-2008, 12:33 PM
 
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I just found something interesting

http://www.obfocus.com/calculators/alcoholinmilk.htm

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#10 of 41 Old 12-07-2008, 12:54 PM
 
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HUH??? Alcohol enters and leaves the milk the same way it enters and leaves the bloodstream. Of course the bloodstream will contain MORE alcohol than the milk. It takes one hour for 1 oz (1 drink) of alcohol to leave the bloodstream - same for the milk. But if she is drinking and partying, then she is probably drunk or at least tipsy, in which case she either needs to pump or give formula until the alcohol has left her system.

Studies have been done that one drink while nursing hasn't been proven to have any side effects on the baby, however just because they havent seen side effects doesnt mean it's 100% safe.

Yes, a much smaller amount of alcohol is in the milk than in the mom's bloodstream, but remember that a baby is tiny, it's system is not equipped to handle alcohol, and it would take a much smaller amount to do damage.

Unless something is proven to be safe, I really wouldn't do it while nursing. I don't need alcohol THAT bad.

I am a young mom (24 in Feb) and found out 6 months after I turned 21 that I was pregnant with my first. I was in my "prime" drinking years, so to speak, but have not had more than a sip here and there of alcohol since finding out I was pregnant.

Also ~ for a normal non BFing person, 1 drink per day is said to be safe, and actually can be helpful to the body (certain type of drinks, not all... red wine, for instance is good). They say 2 drinks is neutral, neither harmful nor helpful, but anymore than that is harmful to the body. Not to say you cant have more drinks, but as an adult your body is better able to handle alcohol.

So I would keep that rule even for nursing, 1 drink while BFing is probably ok. 2, probably still not going to hurt. But more than that in a day is probably causing some kind of harm somewhere to the baby. They are so small, and weigh practically nothing compared to an adult, so any amount of alcohol is at the very least going to be hard for the baby's body to process.

I would just let her know those facts. Maybe bring it up in a non threatening way, and just say "So, hows nursing going?" find out if she is supplementing, and ask when. She may offer then information that she's doing when she goes out with friends before you even need to ask. Then you can say "Its hard with the holidays, I'd like to drink but I have to make sure I pump enough milk first for the baby so that the alcohol isn't going into the babies system.

You can do it more conversationally rather than pinpointing her and saying "I saw your drinking pics!!! BAD MOMMY!!!"

Unless the pics included her baby, it's pretty safe to assume that she wasn't nursing RIGHT THEN. In fact, just with travel time and just life, it's a pretty fair guess that she didn't nurse for an hour or so after stopping drinking. Is it possible she was totally wasted when she left? Yes. If so, I maintain, that PARENTING in that state is a *bigger* risk than the drinking.

Consistently, breastfeeding-knowledgeable sources show a drink or two to be fine. Add that to the science involved and I'm okay with that.

You claim that the human infant system is not set up to handle ANY alcohol. Ripe fruit has some alcohol.... ripe fruit is a common first food....

Ever take a banana away from a baby?

-Angela
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#11 of 41 Old 12-07-2008, 01:04 PM
 
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HUH??? Alcohol enters and leaves the milk the same way it enters and leaves the bloodstream. Of course the bloodstream will contain MORE alcohol than the milk. It takes one hour for 1 oz (1 drink) of alcohol to leave the bloodstream - same for the milk. But if she is drinking and partying, then she is probably drunk or at least tipsy, in which case she either needs to pump or give formula until the alcohol has left her system.
Mom's Blood alcohol after 1 drink may reach 0.08% (legal limit) so baby will be drinking milk that is 0.08% alcohol - or esentially a non-alcoholic beverage. IMO moms need to be aware of just how little alcohol passes into breastmilk so they can make an informed decision. And we have to remember that formula feeding has known risks.
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#12 of 41 Old 12-07-2008, 02:54 PM
 
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Drinking is not a problem with breastfeeding. The bigger concern would be if she's so drunk that she's not safe to parent.

-Angela
This is my understanding as well. It would take A LOT of drinks to affect the baby adversely via breastmilk. More worrying is the idea of a drunk mommy handling or cosleeping with a little baby.

DH and I have wine with dinner but since we cosleep, we do not drink to the point of intoxication. One night DH felt that he'd had too many, so he spent the night on the couch while I slept in the bed with the baby. I don't worry about the alcohol content of my milk any more than I worried that the half glass of red wine or dark beer I drank once or twice a week with meals during my pregnancy would give my baby FAS.

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#13 of 41 Old 12-11-2008, 10:04 AM
 
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Unless the pics included her baby, it's pretty safe to assume that she wasn't nursing RIGHT THEN. In fact, just with travel time and just life, it's a pretty fair guess that she didn't nurse for an hour or so after stopping drinking. Is it possible she was totally wasted when she left? Yes. If so, I maintain, that PARENTING in that state is a *bigger* risk than the drinking.
Well, yes. I would assume the baby wasnt at the bar/party with her. And yes, it probably was at least an hour before she nursed. But it takes an hour for ONE drink to leave. Not an hour for ALL drinks to leave the sytem. And the point was made that there are pics of her partying and drinking and doing shots so the assumption is made that she was drinking a bit more than one drink. While I do agree that parenting while drunk is a HUGE issue also (I dont mean to downplay it at all) I think that nursing while intoxicated is not good either.

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Consistently, breastfeeding-knowledgeable sources show a drink or two to be fine. Add that to the science involved and I'm okay with that.

You claim that the human infant system is not set up to handle ANY alcohol. Ripe fruit has some alcohol.... ripe fruit is a common first food....

Ever take a banana away from a baby?
As I posted before, I know that one or two drinks is proven that there is no harm done, especially because most people arent nursing while drinking, there is some short amount of time between the two. And I didnt claim they arent set up to handle ANY alcohol -- my comment was that the infant's system is not made to digest alcohol, and my reference to alcohol meant ALCOHOL. Like, a drink. I am aware that teeny amount are found in every day foods, such as you mentioned, fruit (obviously, since Alcohol/drinks are made from different things that we do eat). However, you are not seriously suggesting that the amount of natural alcohol found in a banana is equivilent to mommy having a drink??? Because then I'd have to say that the discussion is getting a little futile.
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#14 of 41 Old 12-11-2008, 10:10 AM
 
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DH and I have wine with dinner but since we cosleep, we do not drink to the point of intoxication. One night DH felt that he'd had too many, so he spent the night on the couch while I slept in the bed with the baby. I don't worry about the alcohol content of my milk any more than I worried that the half glass of red wine or dark beer I drank once or twice a week with meals during my pregnancy would give my baby FAS.
Right, but one or two drinks, because they leave the body within 1-2 hrs, is not really that big of a deal (as I'm guessing by the time dinner is done and cleaned up, it's been about that long anyway). The question originally asked was because the girl is thought to be partying and out drinking a good amount of alcohol, and the worry is that she is passing a larger amount of alcohol in her milk.
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#15 of 41 Old 12-11-2008, 10:30 AM
 
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Drinking is not a problem with breastfeeding. The bigger concern would be if she's so drunk that she's not safe to parent.
: in fact to get a good let down some mothers can be advised to relax and maybe enjoy a glass or two of wine, the fact of the matter is, if this mother is drinking to the point of severe intoxication she is more likely to put her baby in danger from the parenting that she is not able to provide than say 0.1% of alcohol that get's to the baby in the breastmilk. Or maybe bb doesn't nurse at night and she doesn't nurse until the morning after ... oh god there's a thought!! I couldn't imagine having a hang over and nursing a baby, anyway i would imagine that this mother is doing more damage to her own body by drinking excessively than to her baby but then we can get on to the discussion about the psycological damage to the baby .......

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#16 of 41 Old 12-11-2008, 12:14 PM
 
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However, you are not seriously suggesting that the amount of natural alcohol found in a banana is equivilent to mommy having a drink??? Because then I'd have to say that the discussion is getting a little futile.
Actually, if you want to play numbers, a baby EATING a ripe banana is very much similar in amount of alcohol to mom having one or two drinks. Seems weird huh? But that is truly the way it works out.

-Angela
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#17 of 41 Old 12-11-2008, 02:47 PM
 
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Right, but one or two drinks, because they leave the body within 1-2 hrs, is not really that big of a deal (as I'm guessing by the time dinner is done and cleaned up, it's been about that long anyway). The question originally asked was because the girl is thought to be partying and out drinking a good amount of alcohol, and the worry is that she is passing a larger amount of alcohol in her milk.
Yeah, but the amount she is passing is still minute even if she's drinking more than two units of alcohol when she's out.

Again, I wouldn't worry too much about how boozy her milk is. Be more concerned if there is no one to care for the baby when she gets home all wasted and incompetent.

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#18 of 41 Old 12-11-2008, 03:28 PM
 
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Actually, if you want to play numbers, a baby EATING a ripe banana is very much similar in amount of alcohol to mom having one or two drinks. Seems weird huh? But that is truly the way it works out.

-Angela
Hm. Something I wish Id known in HS... after all, buying 15 bananas to get a buzz would have cost WAY less than that bottle of vodka...
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#19 of 41 Old 12-11-2008, 04:23 PM
 
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Hm. Something I wish Id known in HS... after all, buying 15 bananas to get a buzz would have cost WAY less than that bottle of vodka...
Actually, the comparison would be eating 15 bananas vs drinking breastmilk of someone who had drunk vodka. You'd have ended up with about the same buzz...

ETA: In no way am I endorsing eating 15 bananas or drinking breastmilk from a Mom who has drunk some vodka as a way to get a buzz! Neither will do much for you - and I'm pretty sure that 15 bananas would make me sick.
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#20 of 41 Old 12-11-2008, 08:09 PM
 
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Hm. Something I wish Id known in HS... after all, buying 15 bananas to get a buzz would have cost WAY less than that bottle of vodka...
Can you get drunk on NON-ALCOHOLIC beer? b/c that's the neighborhood of the alcohol level we're discussing.

-Angela
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#21 of 41 Old 12-11-2008, 08:10 PM
 
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Actually, the comparison would be eating 15 bananas vs drinking breastmilk of someone who had drunk vodka. You'd have ended up with about the same buzz...

ETA: In no way am I endorsing eating 15 bananas or drinking breastmilk from a Mom who has drunk some vodka as a way to get a buzz! Neither will do much for you - and I'm pretty sure that 15 bananas would make me sick.
:

-Angela
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#22 of 41 Old 12-11-2008, 08:35 PM
 
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I would mind your business, imo.

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#23 of 41 Old 12-12-2008, 12:00 AM
 
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Coming from the girl who's at this moment enjoying a nice glass of Malbec, I would personally not mention it. I've done my research, and I think the odd night of partying then breastfeeding is a lot better for the baby than the mama deciding that breastfeeding is a PITA that means she can't have any fun, and she may as well switch to formula. The amount of alcohol that passes through breastmilk is really pretty minuscule, and it sounds like we're talking about a young mama who enjoys a night out at the bar, rather than a hardcore alcoholic who's drinking whiskey every morning.
Oh, and I would say something to her. I would say, "Hey, cousin. That's really great that you've breastfed your baby for nine months. I think you're doing a terrific job."
Now excuse me while I search around for some overripe bananas.

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#24 of 41 Old 12-12-2008, 12:39 AM
 
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Actually, the comparison would be eating 15 bananas vs drinking breastmilk of someone who had drunk vodka. You'd have ended up with about the same buzz...

ETA: In no way am I endorsing eating 15 bananas or drinking breastmilk from a Mom who has drunk some vodka as a way to get a buzz! Neither will do much for you - and I'm pretty sure that 15 bananas would make me sick.
lol...
I know the comparrison would be bananas to "infected" (lack of a better word, not trying to make it dramatic) breastmilk. I was just kidding And yeah, I think Id be sick off so many bananas long before the alcohol would get me.

Its everyone personal choice -- I reread a lot of the posts and I think everyone got really defenses (myself included). I dont mean to say that any one is doing it wrong, and they are hurting their kids by drinking to intoxication. And since most moms have said that they would worry about being able to care for their kids while intoxicated, I assume they arent drinking to that point and nursing either (since youd have to be around your kids to nurse them... )
Also hard to tell the way someone says something when you're just reading it - and after rereading some of the posts seemed different than I first intended them (my own included).

Deep breath, everyone. It is just a message board... and non of us were the partier/drinking mom on trial in the first original post.
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#25 of 41 Old 12-12-2008, 01:21 AM
 
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Have you ever read an article about someone who was in a car crash but wasn't given a blood alcohol level until an hour or so after the crash so they couldn't prove he had been above the legal limit? That's because our bodies are pretty good at metabolizing alcohol. You'd have to be really, really, drunk for it to be a danger to your child an hour or so later when you got home, and I agree that the bigger problem at that point would be that you would be in no condition to supervise a child.

The legal driving limit is 0.08%. The alcohol level of beer is between 3% and 4%. The alcohol level of vodka, since that's been brought up, is between 40% and 50%. People would die before they had a blood alcohol level anywhere near 40%. There is no way on earth that the level of alcohol in breastmilk could possibly be anywhere near the level of alcohol in vodka. The mother would have died of alcohol poisoning a couple of hours before she drank that much.
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#26 of 41 Old 12-12-2008, 01:24 AM
 
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how people at various alcohol levels

Quote:
BAL .20%: You feel confused, dazed, or otherwise disoriented. You need help to stand up or walk. If you hurt yourself at this point, you probably won't realize it because you won't feel pain. At this point you may experience nausea and/or start vomiting (keep in mind that for some people, a lower blood alcohol level than .20% may cause vomiting). Your gag reflex is impaired, so you could choke if you do throw up. Since blackouts are likely at this level, you may not remember any of this.

BAL .25%: All mental, physical, and sensory functions are severely impaired. You're emotionally numb. There's an increased risk of asphyxiation from choking on vomit and of seriously injuring yourself by falling or other accidents.

BAL .30%: You're in a stupor. You have little comprehension of where you are. You may suddenly pass out at this point and be difficult to awaken. (But don't kid yourself…passing out can also occur at lower BALs. But, at lower blood alcohol levels, you may decide you had enough to drink and go "pass out." With an alarming BAL like .30%, your body will be deciding to pass out for you.)

BAL .35%: This blood alcohol level also happens to be the level of surgical anesthesia. You may stop breathing at this point. In February 1996, a second student, age 20, died of alcohol poisoning with a BAL of .34% after drinking six beers and twelve shots in two hours.

BAL .40%: You are probably in a coma. The nerve centers controlling your heartbeat and respiration are slowing down. It's a miracle if you're not dead. In April 1994, a 21-year-old student died of alcohol poisoning with a BAL of .40% after a party.
So you'd be in a coma at .40%, and vodka has an alcohol level of 40% to 50%.
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#27 of 41 Old 12-12-2008, 01:34 AM
 
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I believe kellymom says that if you're too drunk to drive you're too drunk to breastfeed.

Diane, SAHM to DD (June 05) and DS (April 07).
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#28 of 41 Old 12-12-2008, 02:39 AM
 
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Originally Posted by *MamaJen* View Post
Coming from the girl who's at this moment enjoying a nice glass of Malbec, I would personally not mention it. I've done my research, and I think the odd night of partying then breastfeeding is a lot better for the baby than the mama deciding that breastfeeding is a PITA that means she can't have any fun, and she may as well switch to formula. The amount of alcohol that passes through breastmilk is really pretty minuscule, and it sounds like we're talking about a young mama who enjoys a night out at the bar, rather than a hardcore alcoholic who's drinking whiskey every morning.
yup.

when you consider that not that many years ago (in the grand scheme of things) people were drinking beer for breakfast because it was more potable than water, i REALLY don't think drinking & nursing are a big deal. at all. i know i'm in the minority on this based on most things i read, but unless someone was an alcoholic--drinking loads on a daily basis--i would not worry about the effects of alcohol on a nursing child. our bodies are surely made to protect our babies pretty well, right?

i would worry more about a 7 pound newborn--sure--and i did with my own. i didn't drink much at all for the first little while...who has the time and energy anyway?

but by the time DD was a year old? i seriously don't count drinks anymore. ever. i drink what i drink and if she needs to nurse, we nurse. very seldom i have more than 2 drinks a night, but sometimes i do, and i still nurse her if she needs it. i really don't think it's a big deal at all, and i agree with dr. newman that worrying about this is just one more way that we make nursing this impossible task.

hell, i was shopping for BF stuff at a babies r us this week and saw all these test strips for testing for alcohol in your breastmilk on sale for like 20 bucks for a few of them --just what we need to convince women BF is not worth it because you can't have any fun.

dissertating wife of Boo, mama of one "mookie" lovin' 2 year old girl! intactlact:: CTA until 7/10 FF 1501dc
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#29 of 41 Old 12-12-2008, 02:40 AM
 
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I believe kellymom says that if you're too drunk to drive you're too drunk to breastfeed.
I've never read that there and can't find it in a search of their site.

-Angela
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#30 of 41 Old 12-12-2008, 02:41 AM
 
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Coming from a person who had up to three drinks while breastfeeding (okay, four, but wine and over at least as many hours), I would really think the danger for her, personally, would be dehydration. I say, unless you see her binge drinking while you are there, don't mention it. You don't know the context. Maybe she limits her drinking but thinks it's a cute image.

Pregnancy is a different story entirely.

For those of you abstaining, a glass of wine or two is not going to do anything. Really. Enjoy with the rest of us!

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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