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Pumping and Dumping

Pumping and Dumping

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Are you wondering if you may need to pump your breastmilk and discard it?

Also referred to as ‘pumping and dumping’, some people believe they should express breastmilk and discard it after consuming alcohol, medications or drugs.

Should you pump and dump when you drink alcohol?

When you drink alcohol, the alcohol level of your breastmilk is essentially the same as the level contained within your blood. Removing your milk by pumping after consuming alcohol and then discarding it does not reduce the amount of alcohol present within your breastmilk supply more quickly. The only thing that influences the amount of alcohol contained within your milk is time. As the level in your blood supply starts to drop so does the level in your breastmilk supply.’

You can pump your milk after consuming alcohol for comfort reasons or to maintain supply for a missed breastfeed.

You may wish to pump for the reason of consuming more than a moderate amount of alcohol and not wishing to breastfeed. You can use previously expressed breastmilk from when you weren’t drinking alcohol to feed your infant. 

Remember as long as you have alcohol present in your blood it is also present in your breastmilk supply.

Waiting two hours after your last alcoholic drink to breastfeed or pump should allow for enough time for the alcohol to make its way out of your milk supply. 

Should you pump and dump after certain medications?

If you are concerned about any medications that you may have been prescribed or currently taking it is always best to check with your medical provider or pharmacist to be able to determine the effects of the medication on your infant and the amount likely to be present in your milk supply. 

LactMed is a great resource with information on drugs and chemicals that breastfeeding mothers may be exposed to.

Should you pump and dump after using recreational drugs?

It is recommended not to breastfeed with the use of recreational drugs, this will require you to pump your milk and discard it for 24 hours after ingesting.

References

CDC. (2023, April 18). Alcohol and Breastfeeding. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-special-circumstances/vaccinations-medications-drugs/alcohol.html#:~:text=Expressing%20or%20pumping%20milk%20after

‌Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed). (2006). In PubMed. National Library of Medicine (US). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK501922/

Should I Pump and Dump My Milk? Alcohol, Medication, More. (2020, March 18). Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/breastfeeding/pump-and-dump

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