Can I have an Alcoholic Drink if I am Breastfeeding?

Dec 28, 2020

“I’m providing breastmilk, but I would really love to have a cocktail or glass of wine especially to ring in the new year! What should I do, Stacy?”


I get asked this question quite frequently! I totally get it, after waiting for your bundle of joy to arrive, you may have missed sipping on your favorite alcoholic beverage— but I am here to tell you that it is perfectly okay to enjoy an occasional alcoholic beverage...with some safety parameters! While having a beer with dinner or a glass of wine during a hot bubble bath may be your way of relaxing after a stressful day, first make sure it is conducive to your pumping/feeding schedule. It would be best for you to pump and/or feed before you decide to have your beverage, to ensure that no alcohol enters your breastmilk. 


Since alcohol can potentially transfer into breastmilk, it is best to wait at least 2 hours before providing breastmilk to your baby. This is a great rule of thumb to use to know how long you should wait, as the more alcohol you consume, the longer it will stay in your system. For instance, if you have 2 standard-sized drinks, you should wait at least 4 hours, or if you have 3 standard-sized drinks, you should wait at least 6 hours, and so on. It is important to note that this is also dependent upon how fast your liver metabolizes the alcohol, how much you have eaten that day, how much water you have had, and how much you weigh— everyone’s body is different! During this time frame, if you are extremely tipsy or become uncomfortable and need to pump, you should do so, and discard the expressed milk so that it is not fed to your baby.


One thing to keep in mind is that excessive consumption overtime can potentially decrease your milk supply because it affects prolactin, oxytocin, and the milk ejection reflex (letdown). So what should you do? PLAN AHEAD. You may want to consider having the other parent or caregiver with you while you consume alcohol, and they remain sober to ensure the best care for your baby. Even one drink can oftentimes impair our judgment and ability to make decisions, so it is always best to be on the safe side. I always tell mamas, if you feel safe to drive, then you should be safe to nurse. Again, totally fine to have an occasional alcoholic beverage, just be mindful to do it safely for both you and your little one! 


Cheers and Happy New Year!


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With love & gratitude,


Let’s be (.)(.) Breast Pen Pals!

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