Can you enjoy some wine while breastfeeding? Here's what experts say.
Bekah Martinez is an open book on Instagram. The Bachelor alum doesn't shy away from sharing personal moments (like the time she shared about her surprise pregnancy) and a recent post has definitely got people talking.
Martinez shared a snapshot of herself breastfeeding her baby daughter Ruth while holding what looks like a glass of wine.
"I was waiting patiently for her to finish nursing before beginning my (single!) glass of wine," Martinez captioned the pic.
Some commenters were quick to criticize Martinez for consuming alcohol while breastfeeding, while many fellow moms suggested there was nothing wrong with what Martinez was doing.
The conversation is quite similar to one sparked by another Instagramming celebrity mama, Jesse James Decker, last August when she shared a snapshot of herself breastfeeding her baby son Forrest while holding what looks like a glass of rosé.
Decker too, was criticized for consuming alcohol while breastfeeding, while many fellow moms, including fellow singer Jamie Lynn Spears, posted positive notes. According to Spears, this picture of Decker is "mom goals," but other commenters suggested moms seek advice from pediatricians on the issue, instead of celebrities on the internet.
The CDC notes that "not drinking alcohol is the safest option for breastfeeding mothers. However, moderate alcohol consumption (up to one drink/day) is not known to be harmful to the infant."
According to a recent study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, drinking while breastfeeding is linked to reasoning deficits in children, and the AAP recommends breastfeeding moms "limit their alcohol intake and refrain from drinking two hours or less before breastfeeding as the alcohol could impact their infant's motor development."
The AAP isn't saying nursing moms can't ever drink, but, like the CDC, it is suggesting moderate alcohol intake. Is one glass of wine going to hurt Forrest? Probably not. Martinez's glass is mostly full, so the milk Ruth was drinking in the photo probably didn't contain much alcohol.
According to the CDC, "alcohol levels are usually highest in breast milk 30-60 minutes after an alcoholic beverage is consumed, and can be generally detected in breast milk for about 2-3 hours per drink after it is consumed."
Experts with La Leche League International agree a breastfeeding mother can have a drink once in a while. "Reasonable alcohol intake should not be discouraged at all," says Dr. Jack Newman of LLLI. "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 nursing mothers."
As Motherly's Digital Education Editor, Diana Spalding, previously wrote, "Essentially, if you feel buzzed or drunk, alcohol is in your breastmilk. When you are feeling sober, your breastmilk is safe." Spalding adds: "Certainly this comes with caveats of course. Some babies may be more sensitive than others to alcohol, so it's a good idea to check in with your doctor about their recommendations first."
In a way, both sides of the comment war on Martinez's post are right. Mamas should chat with their pediatricians about drinking alcohol while breastfeeding, but moms who do have a glass of wine should not be judged for it.
Mama's gotta live, too.
[A version of this post was originally published August 3, 2018. It has been updated.]
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