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Breast Feeding

Brestfeeding

12/06/2004

Question:

can you have your preiod while brestfeeding. and is it okay to have a drink while brest feeding, i heard you have to be three times the legal limit to drive before it reaches your milk.

Answer:

You have asked two very important questions about breastfeeding and I'm pleased to have the opportunity to respond to them. First, congratulations on choosing to breastfeed your baby. You have done the most important think to contribute to your baby's health.

I am going to answer your second question first as it is important that you know that ANY alcohol a mother drinks will be in her breast milk anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes after she drinks, regardless of the amount. It can take a 120 pound woman two to three hours to eliminate from her body the alcohol in one serving of beer or wine and the more alcohol that is taken the longer it will take to eliminate--up to 13 hours for a high alcohol drink. So, even though experts say that an occasional drink (not more than one a day) is most likely not harmful to the baby, every mother needs to remember that the baby will be exposed even to very small amounts. Some interesting research has shown that even though an alcoholic drink may make a baby fall asleep sooner the baby will not sleep as long and will not take enough breast milk. (See the book "The Breastfeeding Answer Book" for more information.) 

You ask if a woman can have her period when breastfeeding. The answer to that question is yes. When this happens depends a great deal on how the woman is breastfeeding. If your baby is receiving only breast milk--no other liquids or solids (exclusive breastfeeding) or is only being breastfed and receiving vitamins, minerals or water, there is a small chance that periods will resume in the first 3 months. 20% to 53% of women who were breastfeeding exclusively had periods resume by 5 months. If the baby is not being full breastfed, periods may resume sooner. The other "question" you may be asking is whether or not a woman can get pregnant while breastfeeding. This is also related to whether or not the baby is being exclusively breastfed. The longer a baby is exclusively breastfed (more than 6 months) the more likely it is that the mother will not be fertile until after her first period. It is important to remember that this protection from pregnancy is not absolute and you should always discuss the need for contraception with your health care provider.

Thank you for your questions and I hope you are enjoying your baby.

For more information:

Go to the Breast Feeding health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Donna   Dowling, PhD,RN Donna Dowling, PhD,RN
Associate Professor of Nursing
Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing
Case Western Reserve University