Is it safe to feed my baby breastmilk that was previously exposed to alcohol but is tested alcohol free?
If I drink on a regular basis, but “hold” my milk until it is alcohol free, then pump it, is it safe to give to my baby? Is it better to feed him formula and dump the exposed milk? I make sure ANY milk he drinks is alcohol-free. I’ve read that “chronic” drinking can cause problems, but is that true even if the milk has been tested and is free of alcohol every time?
Alcohol moves out of the milk in your breasts just as it moves out of your blood. If you have waited until the alcohol has cleared your body before you pump (or breastfeed directly)—your milk is quite safe for your baby and much better for your baby than formula. Recommendations differ slightly with respect to how much daily alcohol is thought to be safe for a breastfeeding mother to drink. In the UK, the NHS (National Health Service) say that drinking more than 2 units of alcohol per day may impact on a baby’s development. The article Breastfeeding and Drinking Alcohol explains how quickly alcohol clears from milk, and includes suggestions for minimising alcohol exposure if you are worried (e.g. waiting until your milk is alcohol free). The amount of alcohol that gets into breastmilk is very low compared to how much alcohol you have drunk. You may be interested in the study referenced in further reading which measured the alcohol levels in breast milk after a mother drank different amounts.