Browsing through hundreds of websites online will give you only one answer to the question of “How long should to wait before you start drinking post pregnancy?”, and that is that there is no definite timeline. Every individual processes alcohol at different speed and has different responses to alcohol.
While the safest option is to not consume alcohol at all while you are still breastfeeding because even the slightest amount of alcohol in your breast milk can harm your child, affect his/her appetite and even hinder growth. However, there are ways by which you can include a couple of drinks in your day and continue nursing unaffected:
- The safest way to go about is to not go too heavy on the alcohol. A beer or a glass of wine is processed by an average woman in 2-3 hours. Thus a drink or two a day is safe for the child, as long as you do not nurse the child immediately after drinking.
- If you need to nurse immediately after having alcohol, throw away the milk as the alcohol content in the milk might be high, making your child drowsy and reducing his/her appetite.
- The popular wisdom is to avoid alcohol for at least the first 3 months of breast-feeding. These initial months are crucial for both the mother and the child and thus no compromise should be made with the health and nutrition of either.
- Alcohol affects your capability of responding to your child too. Drinking heavily when you have an infant to look after can make you drowsy and less aware about your child’s need.
- The safest time of the day to enjoy a couple of drinks is to schedule it around your child’s sleeping pattern. If he/she sleeps for 3-4 hours at a stretch, that is the best time-window for you to put your feet up and enjoy that glass of wine.
- While there are no studies to prove it, many mothers claim that dark barley malt beers have resulted in an increase in their milk production. It also softens the breast tissues by dilating the blood vessels, resulting in an easier flow of milk. Thus, replacing that glass of wine with beer might have a two-fold benefit.
- With fast advancing technologies, you can easily get hold of over-the-counter tests to detect the level of alcohol in your breast milk. These tests are easy to use and will give you a fair indication of whether the consumed alcohol is a threat to your infant.
Thus, if you are careful and well aware about the quantity of alcohol you are consuming at a time, you are good to resume drinking right after delivery, provided your doctor allows you to. However, what never should be forgotten is that the safety of your child is your foremost priority and as a parent you should never compromise with his/her health.