Science, Babys, and Alcohol

How and why alcohol during pregnancy can cause fetus autism and alcohol during lactation affects the baby’s sleep. While breastfeeding, it’s important to be aware of how alcohol can affect your baby.

I am reading an exciting book by neuroscientist Matthew Walker “Why we sleep,” and I want to share important and interesting information. First, it says that children with autism have a deficit of REM sleep. And scientists wondered: is there a connection between lack of rapid sleep and autism development?

The child in the mother’s womb sleeps rapidly. Alcohol taken by a pregnant woman easily penetrates the placental barrier and quickly enters her developing fetus.

Scientists studied those who abused alcohol during pregnancy. As a result, newborns whose mothers drank did not show the same electrical activity of REM sleep compared to newborns whose mothers did not drink during pregnancy.

Newborns of mothers with alcoholism showed less active brain impulses.

It is safe to say that studies have established a connection between alcohol consumption during pregnancy and an increased likelihood of neuropsychiatric diseases, including autism, in children.

Currently, most mothers do not abuse alcohol during pregnancy, but sometimes they drink a couple of glasses of wine. There is a study conducted two days before the birth of children. On the first day, women drank exclusively soft drinks. They were asked to drink about two glasses of wine on the second day. As a result, alcohol significantly reduced the time of REM sleep in newborns and the intensity of REM sleep in the fetus. Under the influence of alcohol, the breathing rate decreased from normal – 381 breaths per hour – to only four breathing movements per hour.

Drinking Alcohol While Breastfeeding

Though it’s safe for the lactating parent to ingest alcohol moderate, it does get into breast milk and can affect your baby. Alcohol breast milk can affect the quality of a baby’s sleep. Babies who drink alcohol breast milk may have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, leading to daytime drowsiness and irritability. And once they fall asleep, they may wake up more often than usual during the night or be unable to get back to sleep (because they’re still feeling the effects of alcohol). It can cause your baby’s overall sleep time to decrease significantly and leave you exhausted!

The level of blood alcohol depends on how much you drink and how quickly your body processes it. Alcohol breast milk passes through at about the same rate as it does in your blood, so if you’re drinking enough to feel buzzed or drunk, there will be enough blood alcohol for your baby to taste it. For example, if the level of alcohol in the mother’s blood is 0.08 BAC, then there will be approximately the same amount of alcohol breast milk.

How Babies Metabolize Alcohol

Babies metabolize alcohol in their liver, where it’s converted into acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is toxic and can damage cells, but it’s quickly metabolized into acetic acid. Acetic acid can be excreted through the lungs and kidneys or converted back into alcohol by enzymes (enzymes are proteins that help speed up chemical reactions in our bodies). 

Babies are born with immature livers that cannot process alcohol as efficiently as adults do; therefore, the level of intoxication and how they metabolize alcohol will vary depending on how much a mother drinks.

The content of alcohol breast milk after having one drink reaches a peak at about 60 minutes. After that, breastmilk alcohol level decreases steadily over time, but it may take hours for the amount of alcohol to drop down to zero.

It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean you need to wait until you’re sober before nursing your baby again; it just means that nursing will not increase your blood alcohol level or make you drunk again as quickly! So, when should I nurse after drinking? How often should I nurse? Every mom has asked herself these questions at some point during her breastfeeding journey!

I have researched the most frequently asked questions on this topic and prepared short but accurate answers:


Yes, baby can intake milk while your drinking alcohol occasionally. However, the amount of breastmilk alcohol is meager, and you should be able to nurse normally after just one drink. It doesn’t affect milk ejection reflex.


One drink is 12 ounces of beer (or a 4-ounce glass of wine) or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits (vodka, gin, whiskey).


No, you don’t have to pump and dump after drinking an alcoholic beverage. However, studies show that babies get less milk if their lactating parents consume alcohol while breastfeeding. Therefore, you should limit your consumption to one drink per day and no more than seven drinks per week.


Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), a group of congenital disabilities that can include: mental retardation; growth problems; facial abnormalities; heart defects; and behavioral problems. FAS is entirely preventable; if you’re pregnant or trying to become pregnant, don’t drink alcohol! 


 Other effects for mothers to consider when deciding whether and when to drink include the following:

  • Increased risk of falls and injuries.
  • Increased risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • Impaired judgment.
  • Impaired driving ability.
  • Increased risk for alcohol dependence later in life.

Healthy Breastfeeding Best Practices

As a new mom, you may be worried about whether or not your breast milk is high enough quality for your baby. Of course, a well-fed mama will give her child the best start in life, so I hope you’ll take this information on proper nutrition during breastfeeding to heart. 

When breastfeeding, you need to eat enough calories to support your milk intake baby and keep up with its growing needs. It’s important not to overeat; overfeeding can cause weight gain that can be hard for you or your baby to lose later on.

If you’re breastfeeding your baby and trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight gain during pregnancy or lactation, don’t cut out carbs completely. Eat fewer refined carbohydrates like white bread or pasta made with refined flour; cookies; cakes; pies; breakfast cereals made with lots of sugar added after processing.

A breastfeeding mom needs more protein than a non-breastfeeding mom. Protein is an essential nutrient for the growth, development, and repair of body tissues. It also plays a vital role in developing the brain and nervous system. You can get your protein from meat, fish, eggs (including egg whites), dairy products (such as cheese), nuts, and seeds.

When you are breastfeeding, your body needs more calories than usual. If you try to lose weight while breastfeeding, it can make it harder for both of you. In addition, your baby may not grow as well and get enough nutrients from their milk if the amount of food in your diet is too low.

If you are overweight or obese before pregnancy but lose weight during pregnancy (or if this happens after delivery), your doctor must monitor the amount of fat stored in the body so that they can help guide any decisions about how much weight loss would be healthy for both mother and baby.

When you’re breastfeeding, it’s essential to include a variety of foods in your diet. A balanced diet will help you stay energized and nourish you and your baby.

You will need to drink more fluids than average. Breast milk is made with water, and your body uses water for milk production. During breastfeeding, you should drink about 2 liters (about 8 cups) of fluids daily.

So, to sum up all the essential advice, remember

  1. Eat enough calories.
  2. Increase your carbohydrate intake.
  3. Increase your protein intake.
  4. Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
  5. Don’t diet to lose weight.
  6. Include a variety of foods in your diet.
  7. Drink plenty of fluids.
  8. Consider taking a multivitamin supplement.
  9. Take care of yourself while you take care of your baby by eating right and exercising if it’s okay with your doctor.

Going through this special period, every woman should treat her body with care and concern. Eating habits at this time must be balanced and rich in nutrients and vitamins. The free app Proper Eating helps monitor it, allowing one to analyze meals and their nutritional value, remind one to drink water, and have a collection of simple daily recipes.

I hope this article has helped you understand the effects of alcohol on the milk intake baby. I know it can be a difficult decision to make. Still, if you are going to drink occasionally, I recommend waiting at least two hours after your last drink before nursing your baby so that the alcohol level in your breast milk is low enough not to affect the baby’s sleep.