Can you drink and breastfeed?
Why yes, you can. While frequent, excessive drinking is (hopefully) an obvious no-no, there is nothing wrong with the occasional alcoholic beverage. Mothers should drink in moderation. Go ahead and enjoy a glass of wine or favorite beverage every now and then without any plaguing mommy guilt. Perhaps a good way to put a number on "drinking in moderation" is limiting drinking to a single beverage one or two times a week.
What you need to know is the amount of time required for alcohol to leave the breastmilk depends on your bodyweight, the alcohol content of the beverage you were drinking, how many ounces you drank, and the amount of time it took you to drink it. That being said, essentially if you can safely (and legally) drive a car without concern of a DUI, you are most likely sober enough to breastfeed your baby.
However, the myth that alcohol builds milk supply is a pretty old one, based largely on unresearched opinions. In 2005 studies were released that not only debunked this myth, but showed the exact opposite to be true. Not only does downing that beer or glass of wine not build supply, it actually serves to decrease your breastmilk supply and inhibit milk letdown. It is far better to stick with established methods of boosting breastmilk supply instead. (more on that later)
How can I boost my supply?
One of the most common reasons for a breastfed baby's slow weight gain or an issue with low milk supply has to do with improper latch. If a baby is latched improperly, not only is it quite likely to cause discomfort for mom, it will also fail to stimulate greater milk production. Try this link for some examples of how to get a proper latch.
Make sure you're breastfeeding a minimum of every 2 hours if you're worried about your supply for any reason.
Try using breast compression. See here for techniques.
Drain the breast before switching sides. Switching back and forth between breasts during a feeding can deter your milk production. If your suffering from low milk supply, keep your baby at the first breast long enough to drain it of milk. At that point, switch to the other breast. Start feeding your baby at the opposite breast at the start of the next feeding.
MAKE SURE YOU'RE NOURISHING YOUR OWN BODY.
Consider side effects of any medication you might be taking.
If all else fails, try some mother's milk herbal tea, fenugreek, or blessed thistle.
Is breast feeding what is best for my baby?
Well, multiple studies have indicated that breastfeeding does boost IQ. But, there are many studies that have come forward to refute that evidence and claim that it has a lot more to do with the environment and IQ of parents who choose to breastfeed.
It does boost babies immunities and help keep them healthy before you can get them immunizations to protect against diseases.
It definitely helps mama lose weight after baby, combats post-partum depression, and can help prevent pregnancy following birth.
In my opinion, yes, breast is best. But always take into account what's best for you and your whole family.
Ask yourself questions like:
- How long am I willing to wait before returning to work?
- Will pumping be an option at my work place?
- Am I comfortable with being the main provider of meals?
- If my child needs to nurse multiple times through the night can I get up with them and still perform my daily tasks?
- Is my partner comfortable with me breastfeeding?
- How do I feel about breastfeeding in public?
And last but not least, talk to a certified lactation consultant.