When it comes to assuring the safety of your infant after you drink alcohol, breast milk alcohol test strips are your small helper. Many mothers choose the safest option: full abstinence from alcohol. Others, on the other hand, who enjoy a girl's night out at the local pub or enjoy a good time with a drink at a family BBQ, may find it difficult to determine when their bodies are clear of alcohol. Breast milk test strips with a 5-minute detection time come in handy in these situations. You won't waste time pumping and discarding good milk that could have been given to your baby.
Why Do I Need Breastmilk Alcohol Test Strips?
The CDC says that “Drinking alcoholic beverages is not an indication to stop breastfeeding; however, consuming more than one drink per day is not recommended.” However, if this is true, then it would be a challenge to know when exactly your body is free from alcohol, right?
Watch the video below to see why moms prefer to use breast milk alcohol strips to check how safe their milk is.
Now, let’s continue!
Can I Drink Alcohol While I'm Breastfeeding?
Yes, but it depends how much. Many moms are aware that breastfeeding and alcohol don't mix well. But how about just a glass of wine? The La Leche League International says that “a number of studies have focused on the effects of alcohol on lactation and the infant, but long-term outcomes are still unknown.” However, when you consume alcohol, it goes into your breast milk with similar concentrations as in your blood.
Although a breastfed baby is only exposed to a fraction of the alcohol consumed by their mother, a newborn's body removes alcohol at half the pace of an adult. Furthermore, pumping and dumping breast milk does not hasten the removal of alcohol from the body. Pumping and dumping will only be helpful in maintaining your milk supply and reducing engorgement if you miss a breastfeeding session.
So here’s the solution: after drinking a glass of wine or two, why not test with some breast milk alcohol test strips? Let’s get into that in the next section.
How To Test Alcohol in Breast Milk
Being sure that all alcohol is out of your body is important for your baby. And second-guessing isn’t going to cut it. So, first, consider getting some breast milk test strips. You can get them here or other milkscreen test strips at your local drug store.
Step 1. If you’ve had a drink or two already you can wait a bit until you feel sober and take out a test strip.
Step 2. Fill a clean cup or plastic container with your breast milk.
Step 3. Dip the test strip into your breast milk for 5-10 seconds, remove it, and place it on a leveled surface.
Step 4. Read the results exactly after 2 minutes pass by. The color indicates how much alcohol is in your body.
If you test your milk and it comes back as not meeting feeding recommendations, that doesn't mean you have to throw it away.
The simplest solution is to conserve the milk and use it to make a soothing milk bath for your baby's skin. Basically, you just bathe your child as usual, then refill the tub with enough milk to make the water murky. Then you just need to soak your baby for 5-10 minutes in it.
When To Test Breast Milk For Alcohol
If you choose to drink, avoid breastfeeding until alcohol has completely cleared your breast milk. This typically takes 2 to 3 hours for 12 ounces (355 milliliters) of 5% beer, 5 ounces (148 milliliters) of 11% wine or 1.5 ounces (44 milliliters) of 40% liquor, depending on your body weight.
The table in the file below shows you the exact time it takes for alcohol to leave the body depending on the number or drinks and your weight. Remember that the alcohol considered here is: 1 drink = 340g (12 oz) of 5% beer or 141.75g (5 oz) of 11% wine, or 42.53g (1.5 oz) of 40% liquor.
A nursing infant's alcohol intake through breast milk is estimated to be 5% to 6% of the weight-adjusted maternal dosage. In other words, your weight and the amount of alcohol you drink will determine how much your baby would ingest if you were to breastfeed right after drinking. Overall, the safest approach is to follow the instructions in the table above and wait a few hours before pumping and testing.
Can You Test Refrigerated Breast Milk for Alcohol?
Yes, however before testing, the milk should be brought to room temperature. When the breast milk reaches room temperature, gently swirl the bottle and pour a small bit into a container. To do the test, use milk from the container.