I find it funny that when you’re a wine lover and you get pregnant, especially for the first time, you are constantly talking about that moment when the baby is out and you can have wine again. However it’s not as simple as that unfortunately. Alongside recovering from child birth, you may also be breastfeeding. And breastfeeding and wine, don’t go hand in hand.
After having my second child in March 2022, I wanted to put a blog post together on my tips for alcohol and breastfeeding. Because between you and me mama, our baby’s are our world, but oh my it’s nice to enjoy a vino too! Some can argue it’s needed for your mental health 😉
Now before I go any further – please note I am not a medical professional, anything I say in this post is my own opinion and experiences.
If you have specific alcohol and breastfeeding questions, please direct these to your doctor (I would also recommend checking out the Australian Breastfeeding Association website). PLUS it’s a-okay if you don’t drink or you do. You do you mama.
This post is to simply share some of my tips and experiences from my breastfeeding journeys.
Before I delve into my tips, I want to share this helpful alcohol and breastfeeding reel from @mamalinc a Mama, NICU Nurse, Lactation & Sleep Consultant.
There are a number of factors which will impact the amount of alcohol in your breastmilk such as:
- The alcohol content in your wine
- What and how much you’ve eaten
- How much you weigh
- How quickly you are drinking
So here are my tips on things that can help you enjoy your breastfeeding journey and a wine or two along the way too 😉
The Feed Safe App
The Feed Safe app is a collaboration between the Australian Breastfeeding Association, Reach Health Promotion Innovations and Curtin University. Basically it will help you track when it is okay for you to breastfeed again after having wine/alcohol.
Alongside tracking when you can drink again with a handy timer, it is also loaded with a ton of information to help you on your breastfeeding journey.
Introduce a bottle early
With both my kids we introduced a bottle early, knowing that we’d want my hubby to do some of the night feeds once we established a bit of a routine.
By doing this, it also meant I could have more than the odd wine here and there. Planning ahead really is key to enjoying wine while breastfeeding.
Some nights I’ll skip one or two feeds because I want to have more than just one glass of wine. When I do this, bubs has bottles and I will ‘pump and dump’ as they say.
Pump and dump = using a breast pump to empty your milk and then throw the milk away (or keep it for a milk bath!). By pumping and dumping, this won’t take the alcohol out of your milk (only time does that), but it will help you feel more comfortable if you are skipping feeds while drinking/waiting for the alcohol to leave your system.
Get a Haakaa
If you’re looking to build up a milk stash super easily for bottles, get a Haakaa! I only came across this product on my second bub and if you’re time poor and want to build up a stash without going down the pumping route, then this is it.
A Haakaa allows you to collect milk while you are feeding your bub. Typically for me, I would catch about 30ml in it, so over a day, I could have at least 100ml of milk in the fridge, which I would later bag up and stash in the freezer.
Electric Double Breast Pump
To me, an electric double breat pump is a no brainer. I used a Medala for my first bub and this time around a Spectra.
If you’re breastfeeding and wanting to wine, then an electric breast pump can be a quick and easy way to both build up a milk stash (if you can find time to pump inbetween feed) alongside being able to easily pump and dump.
Low and Non Alcoholic Wines
The low and non alcoholic wines category has grown so much over the last couple of years. Plus the quality of these wines has improved significantly, especially since I was pregnant in 2019.
By choosing a non alcoholic wine or a low alcohol wine, you can enjoy a wine with no or little worry that alcohol is going to get into your breast milk.
I was sent the below hilo Wine Spritzers cans as samples, and they fast became my go-to tipple to help get through witching hour in the early evening with my toddler and newborn.
As they are only half a standard drink (2.5% abv), it means, straight after a feed, I could enjoy one while Mr Spittoon had a beer, and I’d have no worry by the next feed that my milk would be tainted by alcohol. You can buy hilo from Dan Murphys (affiliate link).
Mini + Half Wine Bottles and Wine in a Can
There are more and more mini and half bottles of wine alongside wine in cans on the market now. If you don’t want to open a full bottle of wine because you’re worried about it going off before you have a chance to finish it (or think you might be tempted to have more than you should) then wine in a smaller format is a great option.
Products like a Coravin Pivot or SAYV argon gas wine saver will help you preserve wines you open without them being ruined by oxygen if you want to enjoy a good bottle of wine over a number of days or weeks. I have used my Pivot on numerous occasions, as to be honest with you, if I can only have 1 glass of wine a day, then I want it to be a good one. The Pivot will then allow me to enjoy that wine in perfect condition across multiple nights.
Get an at-home Breathalyser
I believe there are some specific products out there for breastfeeding mums to test alcohol in their milk before breastfeeding. Therefore if you have an at-home breathalyser you can also test where you are at in terms of the numbers.
Some professionals say, if you are okay to drive, you are okay to breastfeed. Therefore by using an at-home bretho, you can easily see where you are in terms of the limit.