Monday, October 25, 2010

Don't Pump and Dump?

Saturday night, we went to a friend's wedding and I had about three drinks. I've always been taught that, as a nursing mother, I had to "Pump and dump" meaning that I could drink as much alcohol as I wanted to but then I'd have to go home and pump all of the milk from my breasts, and dump it down the drain. So that's what I did at one in the morning. Then, on Sunday morning, I decided to research the rules to see if I needed to "Pump and dump" again, just to be safe. To my complete surprise I learned that I didn't even have to dump the TEN OUNCES that I pumped last night! According to several articles I read by reputable sources on the Internet (here, here, and here), it isn't necessary to dump breastmilk unless it is within two to three hours of having an alcoholic beverage when you will be feeding your child or you are still feeling the effects of the alcohol. The alcohol doesn't stay in your milk but instead, gets worked out of your system just like it gets processed out of your blood. Once you sober up, the milk is sober too and no longer a threat to your baby. You only need to pump and dump if you are engorged and need to expel the milk for relief before you have sobered up and your body has had time to process the alcohol from the milk. If only someone would have told me that in the wee hours of the morning. Better to be safe than sorry, and better to be educated about it than not.

Now when my mom asks me what I learned at school today, I'll have a great answer. What? I'm not in school and she doesn't do that anymore? Maybe I had more to drink than I thought... Oh well.

Moral of the story: If you have a few alcoholic drinks, make sure you wait two or three hours, or sober up, before you pump or feed the baby to be sure there isn't any alcohol leftover in your milk. No need to dump.

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