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BUI: Breastfeeding Under the Influence

What do you think about the mother in this case? A 26-year-old North Dakota mom was arrested for breastfeeding her baby while she was drunk.

Police were called to her home to investigate a domestic disturbance, and found Stacey Anvarinia breastfeeding her 6-week-old baby. The officers believed that she was drunk and arrested her. Last week she pleaded guilty to child neglect charges, and is due to be sentenced next month.

North Dakota authorities said that they believed that the police were correct to make the arrest, even if the mother hadn’t been breastfeeding, out of concern that the child was being taken care of by someone who was intoxicated.

Getting falling-down drunk then breastfeeding is one thing. But having a glass of wine in the evening – is that something that a mom could be arrested for? I hope not. Unwinding at the end of the day when baby is in bed with a little TV and a glass of wine is sanity-restoring to many moms.

The La Leche League says that light drinking is compatible with breastfeeding, and that one drink a day or less isn’t harmful to your baby.

So can you drink alcohol if you are breastfeeding? And should you be worried about being arrested? Alcohol certainly gets into breastmilk in small quantities.

So the most sensible thing for nursing mom to do is just a little planning. It takes a couple of hours for your body to process one drink – like a glass of wine or a bottle of beer. So if you have a glass of red wine in the evening just after you put baby to bed, knowing that the next time you’ll need to nurse won’t be for a couple of hours at least, then you and your baby should be fine.

And if you have more than one drink? What if you are going to a wedding, or a night out? Some mothers avoid breastfeeding their babies for several hours after drinking, either pumping breastmilk beforehand to feed the baby, or using formula. Then, after drinking alcohol, pumping milk and dumping it eases any engorgement and gets rid of any milk which may have alcohol in it.

What do you think? Are you a nursing mother who drinks alcohol? How much is too much? Or should nursing moms never drink alcohol?


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