If you’re a nursing mother with a baby wondering if it’s safe to drink wine coolers, you’re not alone.
Many nursing women are curious about how alcohol will affect their milk supply and their baby’s development.
In this blog post, we will explore the truth about alcohol and breastfeeding a newborn baby. So, if you’re looking for this information you’ve come to the right place!
What Is a Wine Cooler?
A wine cooler is a premixed drink that combines wine, fruit juice, and carbonated water. It’s typically sweeter than regular wine because the addition of fruit juice affects the overall taste. Wine coolers can be made with either red or white wine.
There are several brands of pre-mixed cooler drinks available for purchase at your local grocery store or convenience store. The most popular brands include Seagram’s Escapes, Bartles & Jaymes, and Smirnoff Ice.
How Much Wine Cooler Can I Have While Breastfeeding?
New moms should know that as long as they’re eating a healthy, balanced diet and keeping up with your fluid intake, drinking alcohol occasionally shouldn’t hurt.
If you are drinking alcohol every day as part of your new “habitual drinking” routine, that would be considered too much alcohol consumption which can cause drowsiness and put you into a deep sleep.
It’s important for breastfeeding women to remember that since the process to metabolize alcohol is different for everyone, moderate alcohol consumption may mean something different for every woman.
So while it’s perfectly safe to have an occasional glass of wine or a wine cooler during pregnancy (as long as the coolers are non-alcoholic), a breastfeeding mother with a baby should limit herself to no more than one glass of wine cooler per day—or none at all if she feels uncomfortable with it.
How Much Is in One Serving of Wine Cooler?
It’s important to note that what counts as a standard drink varies from country to country. For example, in the US and Canada, it’s defined as 5 ounces of wine. In Australia, a standard drink is 4.5 ounces, while in New Zealand it’s 8 ounces. This can become confusing when you’re trying to determine if what you’re drinking is safe to consume while breastfeeding.
If you have an American wine cooler (which is also sold in Canada), a single serving of these malt beverages contains about four percent alcohol by volume (ABV). That means there are 0.6 fluid ounces of pure ethanol in each 12-ounce container (the equivalent of six tablespoons).
How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Breast Milk?
It’s important to know that there may still be alcohol in your breast milk two hours after you drink alcohol. You should wait for the alcohol to metabolize naturally.
Alcohol is metabolized by your body at a rate of about 0.5 oz of pure alcohol per hour. If you think this means that it’s safe to drink after just two hours, you’re right—if you’re drinking clear liquors like vodka or gin.
Darker liquors can take much longer to be metabolized and removed from the body, so they will also take longer to be removed from the breasts.
As a general rule, avoid dark liqueurs like whiskey and brandy while breastfeeding. It takes two hours for one alcoholic drink (one 12-oz beer, one 5-oz glass of wine, or 1 oz of liquor) to be cleared from both your blood AND your breast milk.
Are There Risks to Drinking Wine Coolers and Wine While Breastfeeding?
If you drink wine coolers or just wine while breastfeeding, you will pass alcohol to your baby through your breast milk. When a breastfeeding mom drinks wine while breastfeeding, the concentration of alcohol in her breast milk is similar to the concentration in her blood.
This is because alcohol enters breast milk more quickly than it leaves the mother’s body and because it leaves the body slowly.
Alcohol also suppresses milk ejection reflex and oxytocin production (the hormone that causes contractions necessary for milk letdown). This means that drinking wine while breastfeeding can cause decreased milk production (and thus decreased energy for you), as well as less frequent nursing or pumping session for your nursing infant.
Overall, one drink or an occasional intake of moderate limited amount of alcohol content will not do any harm.
Can Drinking Wine Coolers Affect Breast Milk Supply?
No matter whether you are having a wine cooler, a glass of wine, or another type of alcoholic drinks, even moderate drinking can affect your milk supply by inhibiting milk-producing hormones.
Alcohol, even just a single beer, can reduce the amount of milk that the body makes, and it also reduces how much gets to the baby.
A recent study found that alcohol intake reduced prolactin levels by almost 20 percent. Prolactin is what stimulates milk production, so less prolactin means less milk for your baby.
Another study put this reduction in more understandable terms:
If you drink when you’re hungry, you could make up to 19 percent less milk than if you did not drink at all.
In other words, if your body has already begun producing an amount of milk before drinking it will continue to work as normal-ish but if you drink first then it won’t produce as much as it usually would have.
That being said there isn’t enough information on how long after drinking does this effect take place or how much does one actually have to consume for it to take effect so we would recommend waiting until after nursing sessions with your baby when your body starts making more again.
How Long Do You Have to Wait to Breastfeed After Drinking Wine?
The reason breastfeeding moms need to wait is that after consuming alcohol, it takes time to leave your breast milk. And the rate that alcohol leaves the system is affected by a lot of factors.
Generally, you need to wait at least two hours (for each drink consumed) after drinking one glass of wine before nursing your breastfeeding baby.
If you drink two glasses of alcoholic beverages and finish drinking two hours before your baby’s next feeding, for example, your maternal blood alcohol levels still are over the legal limit for driving.
In addition to waiting for the alcohol to leave your system, it’s best not to nurse your baby when you’re under the influence. Studies show that breastfed babies are able to smell alcohol on their mothers’ breath and may reject the breast if they do.
If you’ll be drinking more than a small glass of wine or other alcoholic beverage, it’s best to pump and dump milk at least until the alcohol concentration has cleared your system or while you’re drinking.
Pumping and dumping won’t remove all of the alcohol from your breast milk, though — it will only decrease the amount available for your baby to consume.
The amount of alcohol that a nursing baby takes in through breast milk is about 5% to 6% of the weight-adjusted maternal dose.
Can Babies Get Drunk off Breast Milk After Their Mothers Drank Alcohol?
There is no simple yes or no answer to this question. It depends on a number of factors, including the amount of alcohol consumed and how long she has been drinking. Other factors include age, genetics and body weight. If the mother waits for at least two hours and only had a single glass, then it’s probably okay.
If the mother has been drinking heavily for an extended period of time, a mother’s milk will likely contain high levels of alcohol.
Similarly, if the mother drinks alcohol shortly before breastfeeding, her breast milk will also contain high levels of alcohol.
However, if the mother only consumes a single drink of alcohol and stops drinking several hours before breastfeeding, the level of alcohol in her breast milk will be very low.
In general, it is advisable for breastfeeding mothers who consume a single drink of alcohol to wait at least 2 hours before they can safely nurse again.
Though it is perfectly fine to drink wine while breastfeeding responsibly, it’s best to limit the amount and wait until after nursing sessions to do so. And binge drinking is out of the question.
Alcohol takes time to leave your breast milk, so if you’re drinking more than a small glass, it’s best to pump and dump until the alcohol has cleared your system. But remember that pumping and dumping don’t always work.
If you’re a nursing mother and enjoy the occasional drink, there’s no need to feel guilty. And if you have any further questions, you can always ask a lactation consultant or your public health nurse.
This article was written by Sandra Baker – full time writer and the mother of four amazing kids (including twins!)
She’s also a breastfeeding counselor and has spent years helping new parents learn how to care for their children. When she’s not writing or caring for her children, Sandra likes to spend time reading and taking walks with her husband.