I hate that "pumping & dumping" is a thing. (As in, making milk and literally dumping it in the trash.) It's often UNNECESSARILY recommended and that's what drives me crazy.
Women are usually told to get rid of their milk due to medications. The majority of medical professionals who are recommending this are getting their information from the PDR. (The Physician's Desk Reference states most medications aren't suitable for breastfeeding.) Pharmaceutical companies don't want the liability--it's just easier for everyone to agree it's not safe.
Before you dump your milk, do some research! Dr. Thomas Hale is the best authority on this subject. He meticulously categorizes drugs by whether the medication will enter breast milk, be able to be absorbed by the baby and in what ratio. For more specific and detailed information get Hale's book or app. Kellymom has a great searchable database. If you need help, contact your local La Leche League or an IBCLC.
Often, there are more compatible alternatives. If there isn't a better option, consider alternative and complimentary treatments. (i.e. if you have a cold, you can use a nettie pot, steam, take echinacea and vitamin c, etc.)
The other common cause for pumping and dumping is alcohol. Here, moderation and timing are everything. When dealing with a newborn, keeping it to one occasional drink is reasonable.
As your baby gets a little older, if you plan to have more than 1-2 drinks, try to feed or pump immediately before. Alcohol enters and EXITS your milk as it does your bloodstream. To read more about safely consuming alcohol and nursing, visit:
When in doubt, you can always pump and refrigerate your milk until you can find accurate information on your specific situation. Ideally, you want to be able to work with your health care provider to find treatments that support your breastfeeding situation and the health of everyone involved. Stay tuned for Part 2: Re-Purposing Breast Milk!
Postpartum Doula, Breastfeeding Counselor, Mother of Three.