Breastfeeding Through the Holidays

December 15, 2016

Breastfeeding Through the Holidays

Ah the holidays! Time for twinkle lights, hot cocoa, and…breastfeeding stress? As the holidays draw closer, we wanted to share some tips with you to ensure you’re not letting the stress of the season take away from your breastfeeding journey!

beat the stress breastfeeding through the holidays


While the holidays might require you to do a hundred things in a short period of time, remember that taking care of yourself is the most important! We’ve rounded up some of our favorite tips for remaining stress-free:

  • Don’t Exhaust Yourself: It is important for you and your little one that you remain healthy. If you feel yourself getting tired – whether from running errands or running around to see everyone– give yourself a break. The more you rest, the lesser the chances that you'll get sick!
  • Stay Hydrated: With the hustle & bustle of the holidays, it's easy to forget that you need to be drinking plenty of water! Avoid getting dehydrated by setting reminders in your phone & keeping a water bottle in your bag at all times.
  • Remain Relaxed: Relaxation is key for providing your baby with a good feed. Take time to sit & relax so that breastfeeding doesn’t become a burden. And remember: you don’t have to move to another room if where you’re sitting makes you comfortable!


It’s okay! Although there are many who partake in the idea of “pump and dump,” it is NOT necessary! According to Dr. Jack Newman, it is unnecessary to discard your breast milk just because you’ve had a bit to drink. He notes that alcohol appears in your breast milk in the same concentration as it does in your blood. For example: having 0.05% alcohol in your blood, means that you also have 0.05% alcohol in your breast milk. This is a very small amount and therefore will not cause harm to your baby when they feed. Additionally, Dr. Newman notes that there is no certain amount of time that you need to wait between drinking & feeding your baby! He does advise, however, to not get drunk. A drunk Mama carrying around her baby can be dangerous!

If you’re still not convinced about drinking and breastfeeding, here is an article from Erika, a mom & blogger, who did a toxicology test on her own breast milk while drinking! 

The full article reads as follows:

Abstract/Introduction: All nursing mothers worry about how their food and drink affect their child. One big concern is alcoholic beverages. For years mothers have been told to avoid even a sip of alcohol. However, many women have heard stories of their ancestors drinking beer to increase milk production and just for enjoyment. As a new mother with a scientific mind (and ready access to forensic testing equipment), I decided to see who's idea was correct - the teetotalers or our ancestors.

Method: First I took a sample of my milk (about 1 mL) prior to drinking any alcoholic beverage. I expressed the milk mid-nursing session to ensure I had a goodly portion of fore and hind milk. After completing the nursing session, I mixed myself an alcoholic beverage consisting of 2 oz of 80 proof (40%) vodka in 10 oz of soda (Sprite). I proceeded to drink the entire 12 oz in about 30 minutes. About 30 minutes after finishing (1 hour after beginning to drink), I expressed some milk (about 1 mL) and labeled it 'immediate'. I then waited 1 hour and expressed more milk (about 1 mL) and labeled it '2 hours'. In the 2 hours (from the beginning), I did not drink any more alcoholic beverages, drink other beverages, or eat any other foods. Another day, 1/2 of a beer (4.3% alcohol) and 2-6 oz glasses of wine were consumed within 1.5 hours. About an hour from the beginning of the last drink, a milk sample (about 1 mL) was taken. This sample was labeled '1 hour - 3 drinks'. Another sample was taken about an hour after that (2 hours after the beginning of the last drink). This sample was labeled '2 hours - 3 drinks'. 

The samples were stored in the refrigerator until processing. An Agilent headspace instrument was used to run the tests. Propanol and ethanol standards were also tested to ensure the instrument was within limits. The instrument is maintained by the Toxicology Section and used in forensic determinations of blood and urine alcohol content.

Results: The sample labeled as 'immediate' registered as 0.1370 mg/mL which correlates to 0.01370% alcohol in the sample. The sample labeled '2 hours' registered as 0.0000 mg/ml which correlates to 0.0000%. The sample labeled '1 hour - 3 drinks' registered as 0.3749 mg/mL which correlates to 0.03749% alcohol in the sample. The sample labeled '2 hours - 3 drinks' registered as 0.0629 mg/mL which correlates to 0.00629% alcohol in the sample.

Conclusion: The alcohol content in breast milk immediately after drinking is equivalent to a 0.0274 proof beverage. That's like mixing 1 oz of 80 proof vodka (one shot) with 2919 oz of mixer. By the way, 2919 oz is over 70 liters. Two hours after drinking one (strong) drink the alcohol has disappeared from the sample. Completely harmless to the nursing infant. Drinking about 3 drinks in 1.5 hours resulted in higher numbers, but still negligible amounts of alcohol would be transferred to the child. One hour after imbibing in 3 drinks, the milk was the equivalent of 0.07498 proof beverage. That would be like adding 1 oz of 80 proof vodka (one shot) to 1066 oz of mixer (1066 oz is over 26 liters). Two hours after imbibing in 3 drinks, the milk was 0.01258 proof. That would be like adding 1 oz of 80 proof vodka to 3179 oz of mixer (over almost 80 liters). So, even though an infant has much less body weight, any of these percentage of alcohol in breast milk is unlikely to adversely affect the baby. Cheers!

With our breastfeeding tips in mind, we hope you have a fantastic & stress-less holiday season!

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. The content found on the BettyRuth site is not meant to replace professional medical advice. 

By Myra Aslam @ Bliss Creative

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