Breastfeeding And Drinking: 5 things You Should Know Before Taking That Glass




Breastfeeding mothers frequently receive contradictory guidance as to whether alcohol intake may have an effect on their infant. Although women are frequently cautioned not to consume alcohol while pregnant due to reports that it may cause damage to newborn babies, the dangers of consuming alcohol when breastfeeding are not as clearly established. So, you may be wondering if it is safe to drink alcohol while Breastfeeding.

When consumed in large doses, alcohol can induce somnolence, deep sleep, fatigue, and excessive weight gain in the infant, and the risk of reduced milk-ejection reflex in the mother. Mothers who have been intoxicated will not share a bed with their children, because their normal reflexes would be impaired.

Can You Drink Alcohol while breastfeeding?

You should avoid it. Drinking alcohol will make it more difficult for the body to produce milk. Alcohol easily gets into breast milk. The level of alcohol in the milk is almost the same amount of alcohol in the urine of the child. Alcohol can flow back and forth from the bloodstream to the milk. Also time will reduce the amount of alcohol in the milk. Pumping and discarding, eating coffee, consuming caffeine or running don’t allow the liver to get rid of alcohol quicker. It takes around 2 to 2.5 hours for each regular drink to get rid of breast milk. With each extra drink, a woman needs to wait for 2-2.5 hours per drink.

After conception, the infant brain begins to develop. The effects of alcohol on the baby in breast milk are not well studied. However, some researchers have found that babies whose mothers consume alcohol while breastfeeding may eat less and/or alter their sleep habits. Another research indicated issues with motor function after exposure to alcohol in breast milk, but other tests did not produce the same findings. Because breastfeeding helps the infant, speak to your pediatrician about your personal alcohol consumption before stopping breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding After Drinking Alcohol Considerations

  • Your baby’s age
  • Newborn has an immature liver which may be more affected by alcohol
  • Up until around three months of age, babies metabolize alcohol at around half the adult pace
  • An older baby will metabolize alcohol more rapidly than a younger baby
  • The weight A child’s height has an effect about how easily they metabolize alcohol
  •  A heavy person will metabolize alcohol more rapidly than a small kid.

Do I Have To Bump And Dump After Drinking Alcohol?

When alcohol leaves the bloodstream, it leaves the breast milk. Because alcohol is not contained in breastmilk (it returns to the bloodstream when mother’s blood sugar drops), breastfeeding and dumping does not eliminate it. Pumping and pouring, consuming lots of tea, sleeping or consuming caffeine does not speed up the removal of alcohol from the body.

Mothers who are drunk will not breastfeed until they are fully sober, by which point much of the alcohol would have entered their mother’s body. Drinking to the point of addiction or heavy drinking by breast-feeding mothers has not been properly examined. Since all risks are not known, it is not advised to drink to the point of intoxication.

Does The Alcohol Help Me Relax and Stimulate Milk Production?

Alcohol intake has not been shown to increase the production of milk. Studies also shown that babies eat more often, but receive less milk within 3-4 hours of consuming alcoholic drinks.

Breastfeeding And Drinking, What Should You Do?

Plan Accordingly 

  • If you want to drink but you are worried about the impact on your infant, you should store some expressed breastmilk for the occasion
  • You have to wait for the alcohol to clear your body before breastfeeding
  • If your breasts are full whilst waiting for the alcohol to be removed, you may express by hand or pump, dump the milk that you express

Your options: 

If you are nervous about drinking, then don’t

If you’re sober enough to drive your car in the USA without getting a DUI Ticket, you should be sober enough to breastfeed.

Wrapping up:

When you start wondering if you can drink alcohol while breastfeeding, please keep in mind the Effects of alcohol on breastfeeding and the breastfed baby

  • Alcohol does not increase milk production. In fact, babies nurse more frequently but take in less milk in the 3-4 hours after mom has had a drink, and one study showed a 23% decrease in milk volume with one drink (Mennella & Beauchamp 1991, 1993; Mennella 1997, 1999).
  • 2+ drinks may inhibit let-down (Coiro et al 1992; Cobo 1974).
  • One study showed changes in the infant’s sleep-wake patterning after short-term exposure to small amounts of alcohol in breastmilk — infants whose mothers were light drinkers slept less (Mennella & Gerrish 1998).
  • Daily consumption of alcohol has been shown in the research to increase the risk for slow weight gain in the infant.
  • Daily consumption of alcohol (1+ drinks daily) has been associated with a decrease in gross motor development (Little et al 1989).

4 thought on “Breastfeeding And Drinking: 5 things You Should Know Before Taking That Glass”

  1. Dana says:

    Good article! Thank you for clearly stating no to drinking while pregnant or breastfeeding. Even though you gave options, like pumping before you drink so that you have milk reserved for the baby, you still gave valid info regarding why you should still not drink for the health of your baby. 

    I never drank alcohol while pregnant or breastfeeding. With caffeine, I just took a lil sip of soda/ice tea and avoided coffee altogether. I stuck to water. When I stopped breastfeeding, I remember my first taste of wine was so different. I guess that’s what a hiatus does. 

    1. Nicole Torres says:

      Hi Dana, I totally got you, when I stopped breastfeeding and start drinking again I felt like a first-time drinker. It was different but I took my pregnancy and breastfeeding stage as a Detox plan lol

  2. Nathan says:

    This is a topic I’ve never really thought about. I feel like to be on the responsible side you shouldn’t really be drinking period if you are breastfeeding. Consider the health of your child to be more important than the enjoyment you will get from a few hours of fun with alcohol.

    To each their own though I guess. Thanks for the informative article.

    1. Nicole Torres says:

      Thank you so much Nathan, I agree with you. Nevertheless, there’s a lot of misleading information regarding this topic out there. 

      Thank you for taking the time to read this.

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