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Cheers! You just brought a tiny human into the world. You’re settling into a routine. You’ve managed to feed the baby in public. You’ve slept a couple of full nights. You’re ready to celebrate with that champagne you meant to have the day the baby was born, but were too tired to open for those first couple of months.


Before you toast, you check a parenting forum to see how long you should wait to nurse the baby after enjoying your bubbly. There, you find the advice to “pump and dump.” You don’t want your baby getting drunk or sustaining lifelong mental damage. So, just to be safe, you skip the second glass and pump out the “bad” milk. As you pour that liquid gold down the drain, you decide not to drink again until your baby weans.

There is no need to pump and dump.

Popular baby websites – the kind that might pop up if you type “should I pump and dump?” into a search engine – offer rare agreement on this particular parenting issue: there is no need to pump and dump.

You’ll find Parents and The Bump, both of which tell women it’s okay to enjoy a few drinks while breastfeeding, although the first limits that to one or two drinks a week while the other limits to one or two drinks a day. There’s BabyCenter, which accurately identifies the time when alcohol is most concentrated in breast milk. There’s a well-sourced piece from KellyMom that digs into the scholarly debate on breastfeeding and drinking. All of these sites identify a drinking mom’s milk as safe: the only reason to “pump and dump” is engorgement when you can’t easily feed the baby or store the milk.

This widespread agreement stems from a fairly simple explanation. When a woman is pregnant, her blood alcohol content is the baby’s blood alcohol content. That’s why alcohol use is generally discouraged for pregnant mothers in the U.S. When a mother is nursing, her blood supplies the sugars, fats, and proteins that are converted to baby’s milk, which gets processed into its blood. One helpful piece on Slate does the math on how much alcohol would be in a baby’s milk even if the mother was drunk:

“But even if you’ve refilled your glass a few times, there is very, very little alcohol in your milk – and very little ingested by your baby. If a 150-pound nursing mom downs four alcoholic drinks — say, four 5-ounce glasses of table wine — and then breast-feeds her 13-pound baby 4 ounces of milk when she’s at her tipsiest, her baby will end up with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.0038 percent — the same blood alcohol concentration her mom would have after consuming a mere 1.5 ounces of Bud Light (one-eighth of a 12-ounce bottle).”

In short, there is rare consensus on this particular parenting issue: a nursing mother’s milk is generally regarded as safe, even if she has been drinking. But looking at messaging boards on many parenting websites suggests that many breastfeeding women have not gotten this message, or perhaps heard and were skeptical of it.

The real question to answer, then, is not should women pump and dump, it’s why do women believe they should?

Why the pump and dump persists.

The practice of “pump and dump” may be so prevalent because the term is so memorable. Any headline that invokes “pump and dump,” even to negate the practice, may unintentionally reinforce it, because a three-word rhyming verb phrase is hard to forget.

Another reason for the persistence of “pump and dump” may be that while the verb-based command is simple and memorable, the science debunking it is complicated. One problem of using scientific literature to research such questions is that no one study can provide all the answers, but once a study is picked up by the news, its findings become solidified as “fact.”

That’s why review articles, which examine all of the findings a scientific community has come to about a particular topic, can be more enlightening. They weigh the different findings against each other and offer a useful summary of the literature so far.

One such review appeared in a 2013 issue of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology. One of the more interesting findings of the review was the confirmation that babies consume less milk when their mothers drink. The current theory, while not yet well-understood, is that alcohol consumption slows the body’s production of prolactin and oxytocin, which regulate milk production and ejection. But as for drinking while nursing, authors conclude that:

“It appears biologically implausible that occasional exposure to such amounts should be related to clinically meaningful effects to the nursing children. The effect of occasional alcohol consumption on milk production is small, temporary and unlikely to be of clinical relevance. Generally, there is little clinical evidence to suggest that breastfed children are adversely affected in spite of the fact that almost half of all lactating women in Western countries ingest alcohol occasionally.”

It’s also possible that the “pump and dump” is tied to pervasive judgement of mothers in our culture. A look at where the term comes from can help us unpack these judgments. The term “pump and dump” did not initially apply to nursing mothers, but instead to the financial industry, where to “pump and dump” meant to fraudulently advertise a stock to artificially inflate its prices and then sell off one’s own shares at a tidy profit. This nefarious purpose is echoed in other meanings of “pump and dump,” among them gasoline theft, a one-night stand, as well as a few more colorful, NSFW meanings best explored on Urban Dictionary.

When the breastfeeding “pump and dump” is put in the context of these other meanings, we see that all of them imply judgment. In the stock market, he who pumps and dumps is defrauding innocent investors for his own gain. In dating and relationships, he who pumps and dumps is committing a similar type of fraud, albeit for a shorter-term gain.

What about the woman who pumps and dumps? She, too, is perceived to have put her child in harm’s way by focusing on her own pleasure (the glass of wine) over her baby’s health. Pumping and dumping that “liquid gold” is almost a penance for the woman, who, like Pink reheating her decaf coffee, is perceived to have acted shamefully.

Of course, the other pumpers and dumpers have committed a far worse act than the breastfeeding mother. In fact, the greater sin may be in throwing out the milk, which has less alcohol than kefir, kombucha, juice, or homemade bread. But it’s likely the same people who judge mothers for drinking while nursing might also judge them for giving kids juice and gluten.

A simple tool for drinking when breastfeeding.

Many of the articles above – including the scientific review article – mention Motherisk’s nomogram for breastfeeding mothers, which can be used to determine roughly how many hours and minutes it will take for drinks to be cleared from her blood (and thus, her breast milk).

The problem with such a tool is that it sets as its goal having absolutely no alcohol in the mother’s blood, and there is, as yet, no scientific evidence to support this is necessary. It’s this kind of rounding down to “no safe amount” that leaves women drinking a glass of wine and then thinking they should pull out their pumps.

The drinking-while-breastfeeding argument also loses steam because the case for not drinking when breastfeeding has slogans like “pump and dump” and “you wouldn’t put beer in a baby bottle.” What the drinking-while-breastfeeding proponents need is a slogan as memorable – if not more memorable – than pump and dump: DRINK.

Dump your pump. You do not need it, even if you’ve consumed an imprudent amount of alcohol.

Relax. If you are the kind of parent who is worried about “pump and dump” because you fear alcohol getting into your child’s milk, then you are probably also the kind of parent not drinking enough to cause harm to your baby. Give yourself a break and enjoy whatever indulgence you’ve been disallowing yourself, be it a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, or just a night out without the baby.

Imbibe. That bottle of champagne you were saving, your favorite wine, a cheap beer. Whatever your drink of choice is, enjoy a good pour of it.

Nurse. Enjoy your drink while you are nursing. Preferably in public. The alcohol will not be absorbed into your bloodstream until about the time the baby’s done feeding. Plus, you will have an opportunity to discuss the safety of drinking while nursing to those who came over to tell you to stop drinking.

Keep your wits about you. Are you too drunk to drive? You can still safely feed your baby, but you shouldn’t be the one carrying him upstairs.

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When you become a parent for the first time, there is an undeniably steep learning curve. Add to that the struggle of sorting through fact and fiction when it comes to advice and—whew—it's enough to make you more tired than you already are with that newborn in the house.

Just like those childhood games of telephone when one statement would get twisted by the time it was told a dozen times, there are many parenting misconceptions that still tend to get traction. This is especially true with myths about bottle-feeding—something that the majority of parents will do during their baby's infancy, either exclusively or occasionally.

Here's what you really need to know about bottle-feeding facts versus fiction.

1. Myth: Babies are fine taking any bottle

Not all bottles are created equally. Many parents experience anxiety when it seems their infant rejects all bottles, which is especially nerve wracking if a breastfeeding mom is preparing to return to work. However, it's often a matter of giving the baby some time to warm up to the new feeding method, says Katie Ferraro, a registered dietician, infant feeding specialist and associate professor of nutrition at the University of California San Francisco graduate School of Nursing.

"For mothers returning to work, if you're breastfeeding but trying to transition to bottle[s], try to give yourself a two- to four-week trial window to experiment with bottle feeding," says Ferraro.

2. Myth: You either use breast milk or formula

So often, the question of whether a parent is using formula or breastfeeding is presented exclusively as one or the other. In reality, many babies are combo-fed—meaning they have formula sometimes, breast milk other times.

The advantage with mixed feeding is the babies still get the benefits of breast milk while parents can ensure the overall nutritional and caloric needs are met through formula, says Ferraro.

3. Myth: Cleaning bottles is a lot of work

For parents looking for simplification in their lives (meaning, all of us), cleaning bottles day after day can sound daunting. But, really, it doesn't require much more effort than you are already used to doing with the dishes each night: With bottles that are safe for the top rack of the dishwasher, cleaning them is as easy as letting the machine work for you.

For added confidence in the sanitization, Dr. Brown's offers an incredibly helpful microwavable steam sterilizer that effectively kills all household bacteria on up to four bottles at a time. (Not to mention it can also be used on pacifiers, sippy cups and more.)

4. Myth: Bottle-feeding causes colic

One of the leading theories on what causes colic is indigestion, which can be caused by baby getting air bubbles while bottle feeding. However, Dr. Brown's bottles are the only bottles in the market that are actually clinically proven to reduce colic thanks to an ingenious internal vent system that eliminates negative pressure and air bubbles.

5. Myth: Bottles are all you can use for the first year

By the time your baby is six months old (way to go!), they may be ready to begin using a sippy cup. Explains Ferraro, "Even though they don't need water or additional liquids at this point, it is a feeding milestone that helps promote independent eating and even speech development."

With a complete line of products to see you from newborn feeding to solo sippy cups, Dr. Brown's does its part to make these new transitions less daunting. And, for new parents, that truly is priceless.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Jessica Simpson celebrated her baby shower this weekend (after getting a cupping treatment for her very swollen pregnancy feet) and her theme and IG captions have fans thinking this was not just a shower, but a baby name announcement as well.

Simpson (who is expecting her third child with former NFL player Eric Johnson) captioned two photos of her shower as "💚 Birdie's Nest 💚". The photographs show Simpson and her family standing under a neon sign spelling out the same thing.

While Simpson didn't explicitly state that she was naming her child Birdie, the numerous references to the name in her shower photos and IG stories have the internet convinced that she's picking the same name Busy Philips chose for her now 10-year-old daughter.

The name Birdie isn't in the top 1000 baby names according to the Social Security Administration, but It has been seeing a resurgence in recent years, according to name nerds and trend watchers.

"Birdie feels like a sassy but sweet, down-to-earth yet unusual name," Pamela Redmond Satran of Nameberry told Town and Country back in 2017. "It's also just old enough to be right on time."

Simpson's older kids are called Maxwell and Ace, which both have a vintage feel, so if Birdie really is her choice, the three old-school names make a nice sibling set.

Whether Birdie is the official name or just a cute nickname Simpson is playing around with, we get the appeal and bet she can't wait for her little one to arrive (and her feet to go back to normal!)

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Mamas, if you hire a cleaning service to tackle the toddler fingerprints on your windows, or shop at the neighborhood grocery store even when the deals are better across town, don't feel guilty. A new study by the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School shows money buys happiness if it's used to give you more time. And that, in turn could be better for the whole family.

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As if we needed another reason to shop at Target, our favorite store is offering some great deals for mamas who need products for baby. Mom life can be expensive and we love any chance at saving a few bucks. If you need to stock up on baby care items, like diapers and wipes, now is the time.

Right now, if you spend $100 on select diapers, wipes, formula, you'll get a $20 gift card with pickup or Target Restock. Other purchases will get you $5 gift cards during this promotion:

  • $20 gift card when you spend $100 or more on select diapers, wipes, formula, and food items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select beauty care items
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select household essentials items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select Iams, Pedigree, Crave & Nutro dog and cat food or Fresh Step cat litter items using in store Order Pickup
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select feminine care items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock

All of these promotions will only run through 11:59 pm PT on Saturday, January 19, 2019 so make sure to stock up before they're gone!

Because the deals only apply to select products and certain colors, just be sure to read the fine print before checking out.

Target's website notes the "offer is valid using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock when available".

The gift cards will be delivered after you have picked up your order or your Target Restock order has shipped.

We won't tell anyone if you use those gift cards exclusively for yourself. 😉 So, get to shopping, mama!

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