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Ep. 62- Alcohol and Lactation: A Reassuring Look at the Numbers

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This is Maureen Farrell and Heather O’Neal  and this is The Milk Minute. We’re midwives and lactation professionals bringing you the most up-to-date evidence for all things lactation so you can feel more confident about feeding your baby, body positivity, relationships, and mental health. Plus, we laugh a little or a lot along the way.

So join us for another episode. Oh, we’re talking then about the booze. Welcome back to the Milk Minute Podcast, everybody. Today, we are going to be talking about alcohol. Finally! Long awaited. Everybody’s been wanting to know. They’ve been waiting with bated breath and wine in hand for Heather and Maureen to tell them it’s okay.

But before we get into that, first go pour yourself that glass of wine. Then we’re going to answer a listener question. And if you stick around until the end, we have an award in the alcove. We sure do. And it’s a really good one and it might just be you.

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Okay. So our question today is from Jacqueline Kay. And she asks, are you a candidate to donate milk, to a milk bank she’s talking about, if you occasionally drink alcohol? For example, half a serving of wine once a week? So the answer to this is it depends what milk bank you donate to. In general, like very small amounts of alcohol every once in a while are totally fine.

But what I would encourage you to do is go to the website of the milk bank that you would be donating to because they have a frequently asked questions page where they answer stuff like that. Yup. That’s what I would do. Cause they all have their different recommendations. And you just want to make sure that if you had your heart set on donating that it doesn’t get squashed because you also wanted to enjoy yourself and have a glass of wine.

Right. But since they pool milk, even if you had drank alcohol and there were a couple of bags that had some alcohol in it, they combined milk from several donors at once and then separate it out again into serving so it becomes very, very dilute. Yep. Okay, let’s move on to the episode. Let’s do it.

We’re drinking, patrolling, trying to catch me drinking and breastfeeding, trying to catch me drink and breastfeeding.

Oh dear. Okay. Alcohol and breast milk. Yes. How did these two things become so intertwined? Oh my God. So controversial. Let me just say, this is like one of the main mom shame topics I hear all the time. Where people are like, oh my God, you drank and you breastfed? You didn’t pump and dump?

I’m just going to start the episode out. by saying, this is a shame free zone. Okay. Shame free. Even if you have an alcohol addiction. Yes shame-free. So please continue listening. Okay. So I’m going to start out, we’re going to start out with some fairly conservative recommendations, and then we’re going to like pick apart what’s really going on.

How does that sound? I like to pick things apart. Yeah, me too. So I’m going to start out with the CDCs recommendations for drinking alcohol while breastfeeding, because honestly they’re usually super conservative and like very much play it on the safe side. So I kind of like to start there and then diverge.

Okay. They say that not drinking alcohol is going to be the safest option for breastfeeding parents. However, moderate alcohol consumption by a breastfeeding mother, which is up to one drink per day is not known to be harmful to the infant. And then they go on to say, it’s even safer if you wait two hours after your drink to nurse.

Okay. So I’m just going to say this organization is usually super conservative and even they say you can have a drink and nurse.  Nowhere in there does it say pump and dump. Yes. Then it goes on to say that drinking alcoholic beverages is not an indication to stop breastfeeding, even if you drink more than what they recommend.

There you go, breastfeeding has a lot of protective qualities for other things that can be happening to your baby. And it sounds like some really smart people weighed the costs and benefits and they said we better not discourage anybody from breastfeeding, especially the majority of humans that like to have an occasional glass of wine.

Right. Okay. So let’s like, let’s, you know, dig into it. So obviously, because it’s recommended that you don’t drink a lot while you’re breastfeeding, we’re going to assume from there and we know now from studies that alcohol does pass into breast milk. But it doesn’t just stay there. So the old recommendation was to pump and dump. You drink, oh, pump and dump, and then you can feed your baby.

You’re good. This makes no fucking sense because we’ve learned that alcohol moves freely in and out of our milk. So. If you have milk sitting in your breast and you wait, it actually is going to be less alcoholic later. Versus if you pump and dump the milk you make right then is still going to have the same amount of alcohol.

You’re basically just wasting your milk. Right. So that sucks. And we basically, at this point in time, like never recommend pumping and dumping for anything, unless it is truly, really super dangerous to feed your baby like that. Also alcohol is water-soluble much like caffeine is, and when things are water soluble and your breast milk is made from blood, that water soluble stuff is going to go back and forth between the blood and the milk.

So as your blood alcohol level rises, the alcohol level in your milk will rise as the blood alcohol level in your blood goes down, the alcohol in your breast milk will go down. Now, some people are probably thinking, okay, but I took a medication one time and my doctor told me that I had to pump and dump.

Maybe, maybe because that medication was fat soluble and it does not move in and out freely between the blood and the milk. It might just stay in the fat cells in the milk. So at that point in time, you would have to remove the milk to remove the substance. Yeah. So very different things.

And what we’ve learned from a lot of studies at this point, right because a lot of people use alcohol. So, you know, we have to have this data. And of course I’m using my buddy Lactmed to help us out here. Like I do like every episode. When are they gonna call you and give you a t-shirt or something? Just saying. Anyway, we know from these studies that breast milk alcohol levels are super, super similar to blood alcohol levels.

Right. And most people because you know, they drive, they know that you can’t have a blood alcohol level above a certain point. You know, we all know this .08/.09 level that we can’t exceed. So what that means then if say you were at the point where you are reaching beyond the legal driving limit with your blood alcohol level.

And you’re at a 0.09, that’s actually then 0.09% alcohol in your blood. And if you write that down, you know, and you’re looking at your tenths places, that’s less than a 10th of a percent, right? So in your blood, that sucks, that makes you feel really drunk and impairs your vision and your judgment.

But in something that you’re consuming, that is a very, very small amount of alcohol. And most of our juices, kombucha, things like that, they all have probably more alcohol than that in them. Not that we’re going around giving babies baby kombucha, but if we did, they wouldn’t, they would not get so drunk that they would die. I mean, a lot of people give their eight month old juice though.

Right. And juice can have up to a percent of alcohol in it. Yeah. So I just like to really break that down for people for some context here, when we talk about this. Because when we’re talking about your milk being alcoholic and you are really never going to reach the point where you even have a full percent of alcohol in your milk, or you would be dead.

Even if you’re reaching half a percent of alcohol in your milk, you’re probably in a coma and not worried about lactating or maybe dead. So these are really, really super itty bitty, tiny amounts. Now, you know, also for context, right, babies are much smaller than us. They metabolize alcohol much slower, especially like a premature baby.

So we want to be more careful with our premature babies, our medically unwell babies, and our newborns. And the older baby is, and the healthier baby is you can be a little bit more lenient. And when they’re writing these recommendations, they’re not, they’re not specifically breaking those groups apart.

So they’re just going to make one blanket statement that you know, we do or do not recommend it. They’re not going to be like, well, if your baby meets this and this criteria, then you’re probably, okay. So we just wanted to mention that. And the same thing goes for medication. Anytime anyone has a premature or medically unwell baby, I treat them differently than I would if they have a chunky nine month old, you know what I mean? Chunky nine month old’s are very resilient.

 Right. And because these guidelines are so generalized, like that’s why we do this episode, right. That’s why we’re breaking it down because those guidelines say one thing, but they mean a whole lot more than that one paragraph that I read off the CDC website.

So let’s break it down even further then. If you’re one of those people who wants to be very, very careful about how much alcohol is in your breast milk, and you say, feel uncomfortable about any alcohol in there. Totally fine. The safest time for you to drink is actually going to be while you’re nursing your baby.

Because while you’re nursing your baby, the milk they’re drinking does not have alcohol in it yet. Even if you have a drink in your hand, it’s going to take a little bit of time for any alcohol to reach your milk. And it takes about 30 to 60 minutes after your drink for your milk alcohol levels to peak at their highest.

Yep. So definitely I would say recommending drinking while breastfeeding. Yeah. Or like right before or right after, you know, sometime in that, in that really close time range. And then per drink, we’re going to have about two hours to metabolize most of that alcohol out of our blood and milk. You know, and, and I think a lot of people really want those numbers and they really want to be super safe.

So there you go. There’s the tool to do that. And at that point in time, say you have four drinks and you don’t have eight hours. You might have to pump and dump if you want zero alcohol in your breast milk. You might have to pump and save it for a milk bath or something or dump it if you’ve got tons and you’re not worried about it.

Because we don’t want you not removing the milk because there’s alcohol in there. We don’t want to create a supply issue or a mastitis issue or anything like that. So just be cognizant of how long it’s going to take for you to get that alcohol out of your milk. Yeah. And I just want to say again it takes a lot of alcohol to get to a dangerous level for your infant.

So typically when we’re looking at that, your ability to care for your infant is going to be impaired before your milk is too alcoholic for them to drink. Right. And granted, that’s not true for every single person. We all have a different tolerance, but really, you know, if you’re feeling tipsy and you feel like you’re stumbling, mumbling, bumbling, Probably don’t pick up your baby or feed your baby at that point.

Right. More importantly, because you might pick up your baby and fall and hurt them, not necessarily because your milk has too much alcohol. Yeah. I think people are much more likely to have some kind of weird accident because they’re just not paying attention, you know, especially if you like to drink and then be on your phone and be on Tik TOK.

I would say that the, the increase in accidents in little children has gone up since we’ve had our technology in hand. And that’s probably just as dangerous as having a drink in your hand, you know, both are distracting. So just keeping in mind, you know, if you are going to be having a couple drinks it’s okay.

But be cognizant of the things going on around you and make sure that there’s another person there maybe to, to help you watch the child. Yeah, but you know, let’s talk about some of the studies and data about the risks. So you guys can do a real risk analysis for yourself. What we have seen from research is that daily heavy use of alcohol, which would be considered more than two drinks a day, appears more than anything to decrease the length of time that mothers breastfeed their babies.

We don’t totally know what the long-term effects of daily use of alcohol on the breastfed infant are. We have some evidence that says that it impairs infant growth and motor function. But other studies have contradicted that. Yeah. And it also could be a confounding variable with how much moms are paying attention to those kids.

I mean, if they’re truly heavy drinkers and they’re drunk most of the day, I would say the majority of the developmental delays are probably because they’re not picking baby up. They’re not spending as much time talking to baby face to face, you know, really having that one-on-one time that they’re focused on the child.

Right because we have alcohol affecting maternal behavior, as well as milk content. It is a really hard thing to study. Yeah. You can’t just pin it on the milk. It’s never just one thing. We are such a dynamic organisms that have so many different things in play that it’s really hard to just point to one thing and say, you did this and this happened.

You know, but we do know that really heavy use by the lactating parent could cause excessive sedation in the infant, right. Just like it does in adults. Fluid retention, or even hormone imbalances. So let’s talk more about babies drinking alcohol.

In a computer simulation of breastfed infant serum, alcohol levels, so that would be how much alcohol is in your milk, after the lactating parent ingested 250 milliliters of wine. So 250 milliliters of wine is about eight ounces. So that is more than one glass of wine, right? It’s like one and a half. And that’s based on a five ounce wine pour. Okay. So using just math equations to figure out in general what the infant blood alcohol level would be.

They kind of posited concentrations of 0.0033% in newborns and 0.0038% in three month old infants. So this is a very, very, super, teeny, tiny amount of alcohol. You would not feel drunk at all if this was your blood alcohol content, right. That would, that’s like a, not even an O’Doul’s. Right. Whereas, you know, if I drink a glass and a half of wine, frankly, after not drinking an entire pregnancy, I’m feeling a little tipsy, but that does not mean my baby is. Right.

So just to be clear, a lot of people like to say, oh, if you feel drunk, your baby’s going to feel drunk. None of that is real. What people will say is if you’re feeling it, then you should think about the safety of your baby, right. You know, and that’s it, not that you’re going to get your baby drunk and that’s the concern.

The concern is, can you care for this child?  It’s just, your motor functioning is going to be impaired. Another estimate said that if a person ingested four standard drinks at once, so you down four beers, which would have me on the floor right now, and then breastfed the infant. So here I am, I chug four beers. I’m breastfeeding Lyra.

The infant would attain a blood alcohol level concentration of 0.049. Oh, no, wait 0.0049% even smaller. Again. So I’m super drunk. I definitely can’t drive. My infant would still be safe to drink my milk. I probably just wouldn’t be safe to hold her. Maybe my husband would have to hold the pump up for me or something.

So, you know, I hope that those BAC estimates for infants are reassuring to you in some way. And that kind of helps you think like, okay, if I have a glass of wine, I’m not poisoning my child. Yeah. And I think also the study that you referenced that says that mothers that drink more alcohol breastfeed less, it could be the, you know, after four beers, you’re just like, screw it.

I’m not pumping. Like I’m not feeding, I’m not pumping. And you do that enough times and eventually you have a supply issue. And then it’s like, you know what? I’m done. Well and what we also see is that alcohol inhibits your let down reflex. That’s true. Now that is a hundred percent true.

So it’s just like stress in that if you’re exposed to it kind of chronically that is going to lower your milk supply. Yep. High alcohol levels in the bloodstream definitely inhibit that oxytocin surge. Should I compare this to sex or not? We haven’t gone there in a while. Sure. Do it. Like let’s do some cringing. Let’s say for example, that somebody thought it would be a good idea to have drunk sex. Never have we done that. Not us. I’m just saying hypothetically, it’s probably not going to be the best sex you had and it’s certainly not going to be the best orgasm you ever had because that same oxytocin surge that is in charge of the orgasms is muted.

It’s just not going to be as powerful as it would if you had all of your neurons firing on the same level and all of those hormones working in concert with each other. So yeah, when you have a bunch of beers, it’s going to make sure that your brain does not have that oxytocin surge that’s going to help squeeze the muscles in your breast to get that milk ejected.

So you do that enough times and you could have a supply issue as well. And I’m not talking one and a half glasses of wine. I’m talking like, if you are consistently having four drinks in a one hour period at night. Yeah. I mean, after one glass of wine, you could have the best sex of your life. After four glasses of wine, it’s getting a little sloppy.

Yeah. But you know, at this point, I hope that you, you understand from us that occasional moderate use is fine. And even a once in a while, if you want to drink a lot, that’s okay. But you probably shouldn’t care for your infant then. You know, we hear a lot of people like, oh, I’m going to a bachelorette party.

What should I do? And if you’re going to be away from your infant and you’re not caring for them and not feeding them, definitely pump. Some people then take the milk from that pump and kind of put it in with a bunch of other milk and dilute it and mix it up and feed it to maybe, or, yeah, they just save it for a milk bath or, you know, something else where their baby’s not drinking it.

And that’s fine. But Heather, I do want to move on to like the bad shit now that can happen with like a lot of alcohol use. Well, before we get into like the really bad stuff, can we just touch on a couple symptomatic things that might happen? Okay. So you mentioned maybe some sleepiness in baby, maybe some fluid retention.

I mean, we can even see like with really, really heavy use things like seizures or thrombocytopenia or things like that. But with every day, like two a day, maybe it might change the taste of your breast milk because I mean, lots of things change the taste of your breast milk. That’s how your baby learns about their environment in different flavors and in your culture that you’re exposing them to.

So if you have fireball whiskey in your coffee, one morning, just for fun on vacation, your baby might look at you like what the heck is that? When they nurse, because they’re tasting something just a little bit different. Now, if they’re used to having that, they’re probably not going to care. But if it’s like a brand new thing that you’re trying, you might see that your infant is like, Hm, I don’t know if I like that flavor yet, but they do that with lots of things like broccoli, if you haven’t had broccoli and they’re trying that through your breast milk for the first time.

So you don’t need to immediately start putting a bunch of shame on yourself if your baby is like, questioning your milk flavor because you had some alcohol. That’s just something to note. So we’ve had a lot of questions from people about tummy upset in babies, but we did not see anything in the research that showed that alcohol through breast milk causes tummy upset in babies.

Maybe moderate use. Like we’re talking about, you know, if you have a glass or two, every once in a while, really the most common symptom is going to be that your baby’s a little sleepy. Yeah. But I think that people that are hyper aware of their alcohol, that they’re drinking are going to be looking for things like that. So, you know, if you’re already feeling guilty and if you are at the point where you can’t even enjoy a glass of wine, it might not be worth it for you.

So I think that that’s probably what’s going on there where people are like, I don’t know, should I shouldn’t I, and then they have a glass of wine and then their baby randomly has gas. And then they immediately are like, why did I do that? I knew this would cause this problem. And we, didn’t not, we did not see anything in the research that pointed to that.

Nope. Okay. So before we get into really heavy alcohol use and effects in the infant and parent, I do want to say that if you are suffering from an alcohol addiction, there is a lot of help out there. And I was actually just trying to look for like a hotline that I could tell you guys, there are like a hundred hotlines for this because it’s a very common addiction.

Addiction is a disease. It is not a choice. I would just want to make that clear. We are not shaming anybody. And we understand that this is a really big struggle. And we just want to make sure that you feel okay reaching out for help. Yeah. And I think the stresses of pregnancy and child rearing can really bring out an addiction that was previously taken care of, you know, like got under control.

And now because of environmental circumstances, we’re back to struggling with it. So no shame in that. I think a lot of people are afraid to reach out for help, obviously for fear that the system is gonna A. Take their baby. That’s a big deal. And then at the very minimal amount, just shame the hell out of them and have it in their chart.

My friend used to be a cocaine addict, like my really good friend of mine. And she mentioned it to a doctor one time after she had been clean for like five years. And now every single time she gets a new doctor, they’re like, I see that you do cocaine. And she’s like, yeah, I do not use cocaine. It’s been 10 years.

Right. So there’s definitely a lot of stigma attached to it. And we recognize that stigma and shame don’t help a healing process. They don’t fucking help you quit. They don’t help you heal. They don’t help you change. And also that, you know, the stress of sleeplessness and postpartum mood disorders all can contribute to this while we’re lactating.

So I’m just going to shout out one hotline here and I hope it’s a good one cause really I’m not totally sure. There’s so many and I’ve never called one. But the Recovery Centers of America have an addiction treatment hotline. 877-609-1827. If you need something right now, if you’re not sure if you have an alcohol problem or not that’s okay too.

Like you can still call and it can still be anonymous. You know, there’s a lot of times in my life that I have felt like I wasn’t coping well with a situation and I was drinking more than I normally would have. And that concerned me. And it’s not that I was an alcoholic. It was that I clearly was dealing with some things in my life that I was running away from.

So if you start to feel like you’re using alcohol as an escape, then also no judgment. And when you’re ready and if you’re ready, grab a therapist and start working through some of the stresses of your everyday life and get some coping skills that are a little bit healthier. Just all around. Okay. So let’s talk about extremely heavy alcohol use and breastfeeding.

Okay. So again, I’m going to pull from the Lactmed website where we have some case studies, which might shed some light on this. So we have one case study of a parent who was drinking, as it says here, large amounts of wine, champagne, beer, and liquors. So I don’t exactly know what that means, but we’re going to assume it’s a lot based on the rest of this article. Several, more than four or five drinks every day might be this heavy use.

So what we actually saw with this infant was that they were gaining too much weight every day and that’s where that fluid retention comes in. And then the infant was restless, sleepless, and began to have seizures that required medical treatment. And then basically as soon as he was taken off that milk and was nursed by a wet nurse, he began to recover within three days.

I wonder how much of that though was also the fact that he might’ve been exposed to it in pregnancy? Yeah. We don’t know. There’s a lot of questions with these, but this will kind of just give you a range of kind of possible scary stuff that can happen. I think we can’t really do an episode about this without acknowledging that.

Right. You know, we have another case study of again, really heavy use where baby had pseudo cushing syndrome, which ended up in a bloated appearance, excessive weight gain, diminished length for age. But this mother was drinking more than 50 cans of beer a week plus other alcoholic beverages. And still breastfeeding, God bless her.

This is a lot, a lot of alcohol. You know, we have other cases of severe thrombocytopenia with heavy alcohol use. And these are case studies. So these are not experimental. We didn’t like get women drunk to see what would happen, cause it’s not ethical. And that’s kind of how these things go, right?

Like we can’t really get a group of people together and say, you guys drink every day and you don’t drink at all and we’re going to see how healthy your babies are. So with any medication or drug, alcohol, we kind of just have to wait and see people use them and then see what happens to their babies. Not ideal.

But no, but alcohol is so widely used at this point that we do have some really good evidence because just so many people use it all around the world. So we have a number of studies where, you know we have parents reported how much they drank, their milk was tested at X day and next day and next day.

And you know, all of that. And also I think this is a classic case of them lumping pregnant and lactating people together, even though they’re not the same group. Pregnant people share a bloodstream with their fetuses, like it’s going through the placenta, it’s still water-soluble your baby is definitely getting alcohol through the placenta. It’s like, mainlined.

Lactation, it has about three filters before it gets to them. Like it’s going through your digestive system. It’s going through your liver. And then it’s going through your milk tissue into your baby who also has a liver. Yes. You know, so it’s completely different. And I think that, you know, more recently, they’ve started to separate lactating groups from pregnant groups.

And then on the side of less scary things, but things that we have more study on. So as far as infant sleep goes, we see shorter, more fitful periods of sleep with more alcohol intake from the parent. Which is interesting because we see drowsiness in the infant, but also poor sleep quality, essentially. Yeah. I think we’ll hear a lot of people say like, oh, definitely drink your wine at night, right before that nighttime feed.

And it’s like, that’s maybe not the best idea. Yeah. You know, and then there were, there have been some studies about the long-term effects of alcohol ingestion for the breastfed infant. But again, they’re, they’re really hard to interpret the data from because they’re really contradictory. Because like Heather said, not only is alcohol affecting their body directly, but it affects the behavior of their parents.

Yeah. You know, and it affects the behavior of the nursing parent, but also if one parent is drinking, we don’t know what that other parent is doing, how that other parent is interacting. If there’s another parent, there are so many questionable factors. Right. And moms and babies are so closely tied together.

Like one affects the other one constantly. So especially with behavior and things and developmental milestones and things like that. So that’s definitely hard to pick apart there. Yup. Okay. So I have to mention this thing that I don’t like is that there are products on the market, little alcohol test strips that you can buy specifically to test the alcohol content of your milk.

I do not like them because this is not like some FDA approved product, right? These are just things that we don’t know if there’s solid research behind each product, the sensitivity of each different brand and possibly each different strip varies. Like Heather and I know from using like uranalysis strips, if you leave those fuckers out, they read crazy stuff.

If they get hot, they read weird. If they get cold, they read weird. So test strips like that are very sensitive to environmental factors as far as accuracy goes. So if you have a box of these test strips that have been sitting on the counter in a store that doesn’t have a great like climate control, who knows what they’re gonna read.

Right. But they’ll definitely make you feel bad. And nothing’s going to suck the joy out of a glass of wine, like testing your milk with that thing. And it turns black. And you’re like, oh my God, I knew it! Nine more months of never drinking. And I just saw a post actually on our Facebook group, which was really interesting where somebody had tested milk before freezing it and after, and they got different results. But also, if it was the same box of strips and they tested it several months apart, who knows what the factor was. Right. But, you know, from a nursing standpoint, kind of like you said, about the urine dipsticks, those would be considered a point of care test, which is not very accurate.

It’s basically a test that we do to see if we need to do more tests. It’s a screening. It’s a screening tool, not diagnostic. Exactly. So a serum, like if we were to draw your blood, we can get an exact blood alcohol level at the time of the blood draw. Right? So all of these things that I was reading from the Lactmed website, you know, they did serum studies.

If they were actually measuring the specific alcohol content of that milk, they were not doing dipsticks. So if you want to use a dipstick and you’re confident that it’s fresh and you’ve taken care of it, the exact way that you should. Still keep in mind, it’s a screening tool. It’s not a shame tool and it’s not a diagnostic tool.

So just keep that in mind if you’re going to use those things. Yeah. Yeah. And you know what? I try to remind people, like if you were to dip this in some orange juice, it’s going to turn really dark because most orange juice has about half a percent of alcohol in it. Yeah. I mean most juices do. That’s crazy fermentation.

They have so much sugar in them, they ferment slightly. And it’s fine. It’s safe. It’s not an alcoholic drink, you know? So I just remind you of that for some perspective, in that these numbers we’re talking about are extremely tiny and it’s hard to have a good frame of reference for how small that is.

So, you know, think back to this episode, look at the Lactmed website, look at those numbers for you know, if I had four drinks and then breastfed my baby right away, what their blood alcohol content would look like. And just, you know, it’s okay if you feel comfortable with that, or if you don’t, there’s no right answer with this. You know, and your doctor is most likely not going to tell you it’s okay to drink however much you want because they have to consider liability.

But we do have quite a lot of medical professionals who do come out there and say, Hey, it’s safe to have a glass or two of wine, a beer or two, whatever. You know what happened to me when I was eight months pregnant? Oh, dear. Tell me. With my son, he was breech and his little head was stuck up under my ribs.

And as he was growing, it was splitting my ribs apart and hurting my back to the point where I never slept, like I could not sleep for anything. So my midwife wrote me a prescription for a couple Ambien just to get me through. And I went to the pharmacy and I tried to fill the script and the pharmacist reached her hand through the window, grabbed my hand and she said, honey, you’d be better off going to the alcohol aisle and getting yourself a bottle of wine and taking this.

This is a category C. And I was like, okay. And I turned around, eight months pregnant, went to the wine aisle, got a bottle of wine and cried all the way to the register. And then judgmental looks and like, oh my God, I got home and I called my midwife and she was so mad. But you know, to me, it’s like, we’re so afraid to say what uh, uh, what am I trying to say?

We’re so afraid to tell patients, you know, it’s okay because of liability and because we don’t want to be labeled as like, oh, that’s the provider that lets you drink, quote unquote. You know, you don’t want that label. Right. And because as providers, you know, it’s a fine line to be on where, you know, you might not know if you have a client who has a history of alcohol abuse or someone who, if you’re talking to and you say, Hey, it’s okay to have a little bit of alcohol.

If a little bit to them means 20 beers, right. And then they go get in a car accident. It’s the same reason why bartenders aren’t allowed to serve obliterated drunk people. Because then they, I mean, it’s like manslaughter, you know. So we have to really think about what we’re doing, but I want to end on a positive note because let’s bring this back to why we’re talking about this in the first place.

You want to live your life. You want to have some enjoyment in your life, a little bit of relaxation, a bubble bath with some Enya playing and chilled chardonnay. Actually, what I like to do is sit in the bath with Epsom salts, watch a true crime show and have a glass of wine. And you should be able to have of that. If that’s what you want and that’s how you unwind, go for it.

You know what I’ve actually been trying desperately to take a selfie, drinking a glass of wine while breastfeeding so I can put it in the group. I don’t have enough hands guys. I’m going to have to get my husband to take a picture, but he’s like a shaky hand person.

And every time I ask him it’s blurry. Is it too much to get you one of those hats with like the two straws that come down or a Camelback of wine? Is that too much? That’s more than 250 milliliters. It’s a lot. I don’t drink. I mean like, well, and the nice thing is since I basically had no more than a sip of alcohol, my entire pregnancy, one glass will do it folks.

And by the way, the only reason she didn’t have a glass of wine during pregnancy is cause she threw up her whole pregnancy. That’s good. She could barely eat food. Okay. So let’s not, let’s not assume here. Oh goodness. But anyway, we want to encourage you to think about this data. Figure out where you feel comfortable.

Okay. And if you have a history of alcohol abuse, perhaps this is not the time to start again. If you have an active alcohol addiction, it’s a good time to reach out for help. Yeah. And it doesn’t mean you have to stop breastfeeding. It just means that you need to reach out for help and get some guidance along the way.

And the whole point of the whole thing is for you to be stable, happy, healthy, and enjoying your life. So if alcohol is going to help you with that, great. And if it’s not going to help you with that, and it’s going to hinder that, then we need to help you fix it. And that’s it.

Did you know that any time I’ve ever tried a lube in my life, my vagina reacts like it’s mad at me? Yeah. You have mentioned that to me before. Yeah. I had, I used to call it ABD, angry vaginas disorder, but the good news is I actually found a product that I really love. And this is serious. I’m not joking.

This is not just something that I am saying to say on an ad. I love Uber Lube. It’s a natural product that does not have any like artificial, anything in it. And it works with your body and it actually lasts a pretty long time if you know what I mean? Yes, I do know what you mean, and I know that our listeners need lube kind of more than anything in the postpartum. Like breastfeeding’s a dry time guys. Yeah. And it’s not your fault. That’s kind of a normal side effect of breastfeeding, but it doesn’t mean your relationship has to suffer or even your relationship with yourself. Yeah. So get yourself some Uberlube by clicking the link in the show notes, or you can go to and enter the promo code MILKMINUTE.

Happy lubing, everyone.

Okay. Before we give out an award today, we have some patrons to thank. Yeah, we are so excited. We’re getting more and more patrons every day. They get access to our merch, behind the scenes episodes and of course they get access to our live Q and A’s if they are a Dairy Queen, which is our top level patron.

So today we definitely want to thank Katie S from Guyton, Georgia and we’re thanking Maria S from Lewisburg, West Virginia. She’s a friend of mine and I’m so thankful for her support. We love watching you guys grow with your babies and in your lactation experience, and we’re here for you. And if you need anything, you can become a patron at

All right let’s give out an award. I’m excited. Who are we going to give it to today? Today we want to thank Janell D and she says today marks one full year of breastfeeding my babe. The Facebook group, Breastfeeding for Busy Moms had a huge role in that. So thank you to everyone, especially Maureen Farrell and Heather O’Neal, and the best podcast.

It’s also the first day I’ve changed a dirty diaper after catching him eating dirt last night. If this is what boys are, like, bring it on, I guess. Well, Janell, we are going to give you the Dearly Yearly Award. Oh, how lovely. I just imagine you as two little deer skipping through the forest, eating dirt and changing dirty poopy diapers.

We hope that you have another great year to come and we are so proud that you made it a whole year of breastfeeding. That’s amazing. Yeah. Congratulations. And everybody else, if you have a breastfeeding win, you can email them to us, or you can submit them on our Facebook group. Yeah, please do. Email us at

Thanks for listening to The Milk Minute. If you haven’t already please like, subscribe, and review our podcast wherever you listen. If you’d like to support our podcast, you can find us on Patreon at To send us feedback, personal stories, or just to chat, you can send us an email at


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