How Long After Drinking Alcohol Can I Breastfeed?

How Long After Drinking Alcohol Can I Breastfeed
What is a “drink”? – The defines a standard “drink” as 12 ounces of 5% beer; 8 ounces of 7% malt liquor; 5 ounces of 12% wine; or 1.5 ounces of 40% (80 proof) liquor. All of these drinks contain the same amount (i.e., 14 grams, or 0.6 ounces) of pure alcohol. How Long After Drinking Alcohol Can I Breastfeed Not drinking alcohol is the safest option for breastfeeding mothers. Generally, moderate alcohol consumption by a breastfeeding mother (up to 1 standard drink per day) is not known to be harmful to the infant, especially if the mother waits at least 2 hours after a single drink before nursing.

Can I breastfeed my baby 7 hours after drinking?

What is a “drink”? – The defines a standard “drink” as 12 ounces of 5% beer; 8 ounces of 7% malt liquor; 5 ounces of 12% wine; or 1.5 ounces of 40% (80 proof) liquor. All of these drinks contain the same amount (i.e., 14 grams, or 0.6 ounces) of pure alcohol. How Long After Drinking Alcohol Can I Breastfeed Not drinking alcohol is the safest option for breastfeeding mothers. Generally, moderate alcohol consumption by a breastfeeding mother (up to 1 standard drink per day) is not known to be harmful to the infant, especially if the mother waits at least 2 hours after a single drink before nursing.

Is it safe to breastfeed 12 hours after drinking?

I’m breastfeeding. Is it OK to drink alcohol? – Answer From Elizabeth LaFleur, R.N. Breastfeeding and alcohol don’t mix well. There’s no level of alcohol in breast milk that’s considered safe for a baby to drink. When you drink alcohol, it passes into your breast milk at concentrations similar to those found in your bloodstream.

Although a breastfed baby is exposed to just a fraction of the alcohol his or her mother drinks, a newborn eliminates alcohol from his or her body at only half the rate of an adult. Research suggests that breastfed babies who are exposed to one drink a day might have impaired motor development and that alcohol can cause changes in sleep patterns.

Also, while folklore says that drinking alcohol improves milk production, studies show that alcohol actually decreases milk production and that the presence of alcohol in breast milk causes babies to drink about 20% less breast milk. If you choose to drink, avoid breastfeeding until alcohol has completely cleared your breast milk.

  1. This typically takes 2 to 3 hours for 12 ounces (355 milliliters) of 5% beer, 5 ounces (148 milliliters) of 11% wine or 1.5 ounces (44 milliliters) of 40% liquor, depending on your body weight.
  2. If you plan to drink alcohol, consider having a drink just after breastfeeding so that the alcohol begins to clear your breast milk during the natural interval between breastfeeding sessions.

Pumping and dumping breast milk doesn’t speed the elimination of alcohol from your body. However, if you’ll be missing a breastfeeding session, pumping and dumping will help you maintain your milk supply and avoid engorgement. Remember, breastfeeding is the optimal way to feed a newborn and is recommended until a baby is at least age 1.

Can I breastfeed if I don’t feel drunk?

‘ If you’re feeling sober enough to drive, you’re usually sober enough to breastfeed,’ Bechhold said. Some new mothers may have a lower tolerance to alcohol after abstaining from drinking during their pregnancy.

How do you get alcohol out of breast milk?

Breastfeeding immediately before consuming any alcoholic beverage, then waiting to nurse again for about three hours, will help ensure that your baby gets very little alcohol from you. If your breasts become full while waiting for the alcohol to clear, you can hand express or pump, discarding the milk that you express.

Can I pump 3 hours after drinking?

Insider’s takeaway – Moderate alcohol consumption — one drink a day — isn’t dangerous for your baby, as long as you wait at least two to three hours before pumping or breastfeeding. However, the more you drink, the greater the chance that not only your milk production will decrease, but also that the alcohol may be harmful to your baby.

Remember: How much you drink, what you drink, and even your weight all play a role in how long the alcohol stays in your system (and milk). In order to minimize any risks to your baby’s development, you may want to stick with beverages that have a lower concentration of alcohol like beer and wine, or opt for non-alcoholic alternatives.

If you ever begin to suspect that your drinking habits may be interfering with your ability to breastfeed or otherwise posing any risks to the health or well-being of your baby, Grover recommends talking with your doctor — they can assess what changes might be necessary and support you in getting whatever help you need to make those changes.

  • Rebecca Strong is a Boston-based freelance writer covering health and wellness, food and wine, fitness, and travel.
  • In addition to contributing to the Health Reference and Kitchen verticals at Insider, she has also written for Healthline, Health magazine, Bustle, StyleCaster, PopSugar, AskMen, and Elite Daily.

You can follow her work on Twitter, Read more Read less

How long after 3 drinks can I pump?

How long do you have to wait to breastfeed after drinking? – According to the CDC, “Moderate alcohol consumption by a breastfeeding motheris not known to be harmful to the infant, especially if the mother waits at least two hours before nursing.” While your liver is getting rid of the evidence, your breasts have been taking some alcohol in and letting it seep into your milk.

  1. That’s why the ideal time to tip back a cold one is right after a feeding or pumping session.
  2. By the time baby is hungry again, the alcohol that snuck in will be diluted by several ounces of milk.
  3. Drinking more than one drink will extend the period of time you have to wait to breastfeed.
  4. Two or three drinks means waiting four hours.

Luckily, the average tired nursing mama doesn’t need much alcohol to feel relaxed or join in the fun. One drink can be plenty! So, if you have a beer with your partner at 8 p.m., you can still manage a 10:30 p.m. dream feed,

How long should I wait to breastfeed after smoking?

Alcohol, Tobacco & Marijuana: What You Need To Know During Breastfeeding By Beth Conover, APRN, CGC, MotherToBaby Nebraska Soyou were really good during your entire pregnancy, giving up every drop of alcohol, quitting smoking tobacco, and, of course, avoiding any drug like marijuana.

  1. You were concerned about the development of your baby, and doing everything you could to make a healthy outcome more likely.
  2. Good job! But now here you are.you’ve had your baby, you’re giving breastfeeding your best shotdo you still need to be so careful? If you’re wondering this, you’re not alone.
  3. It is a top question I get as a health care provider and one of the top questions we get from moms through,

I’m a mom myself and after I had my boys, I asked the same things, like “would having a glass of wine when I’m on a date with my husband be the end of the world if I’m breastfeeding?” Alas, many years later (and many published studies later), I have answers for you.

  1. Let’s start with the facts about breastfeeding.
  2. Breastfeeding is good for you and the baby, and you should continue nursing for at least 6 months and better-yet, a year.
  3. I think of alcohol and tobacco as ‘recreational drugs’ because there is not any medical reason to use them.
  4. And while medical use of marijuana is becoming more widespread, for most of us the use of marijuana is not medically necessary.

We don’t want rules surrounding the use of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana to be unnecessarily strict so that they discourage nursing for the optimal amount of time. But we also want nursing moms to know that each of these drugs are passed to breast milk.

Fortunately, there are often ways that we can limit the amount that baby gets. Let’s take a closer look at each one Alcohol— alcohol of all kinds (wine, beer, liquor) passes into your milk. Babies don’t like the taste of it, and, if it happens often enough, babies may show developmental delays from exposures to alcohol through breast milk.

Fortunately, waiting 2-3 hours after drinking a single alcoholic beverage results in lower amounts in milk. If you have two drinks, wait 4-6 hoursyou get the idea. You can pump for comfort and to maintain your milk supply, but be sure to throw away the milk since it likely has alcohol in it.

Chronic or heavy users of alcohol probably should not breastfeed. Tobacco— you know that it is best for your health and that of your baby to avoid smoking tobacco, but if you cannot resist, keep the number of cigarettes as low as possible (preferably less than ½ pack per day) and never smoke around your baby.

Nicotine gets into your milk, so try to wait several hours after you smoke before nursing your baby. Second hand smoke increases your baby’s risk for ear and respiratory infections, asthma, and even sudden infant death syndrome. The immunoglobulins in your milk help to lessen those risks, which is why most experts still recommend breastfeeding even if a woman is smoking small amounts of tobacco.

See also:  Is Aperol Alcoholic?

Marijuana – THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, passes into breast milk. Marijuana production is not very well regulated, so there may be other dangerous contaminants. There are not many studies regarding use of marijuana and breastfeeding, but there are concerns that exposure to THC via milk might affect baby’s development.

It can also reduce your milk supply. Until more is known, it is recommended that marijuana be avoided in breastfeeding women, and that an effort also be made not to expose the infant to second hand marijuana smoke. If you happen to use marijuana, waiting 1-2 days before resuming nursing will help reduce the amount in milk.

  1. Pump and throw away milk in the meantime for comfort and to maintain your milk supply.
  2. Bottom line, by breastfeeding, you’re already taking the first step in providing continued important nutrition for your baby.
  3. Way to go! Taking steps to make sure your breastmilk stays as healthy as possible for the entire time you breastfeed will be well worth the effort.

Stay strong, live well. Beth Conover, APRN, CGC, is a genetic counselor and pediatric nurse practitioner. She established the Nebraska Teratogen Information Service in 1986, also known as MotherToBaby Nebraska. She was also a founding board member of the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS).

  1. In her clinical practice, Beth sees patients in General Genetics Clinic, Prenatal Clinic, and the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Clinic at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
  2. Beth has provided consultation to the FDA and CDC.
  3. Two of her recent publications are, “The Art and Science of Teratogen Risk Communication” and “Safety Concerns Regarding Binge Drinking in Pregnancy: A Review.” is a service of OTIS, a suggested resource by many agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If you have questions about viruses, alcohol, medications, vaccines, diseases, or other exposures, call MotherToBaby toll-FREE at 866-626-6847 or try out MotherToBaby’s new by texting questions to (855) 999-3525. You can also visit to browse a library of fact sheets, or,

Can alcohol in breastmilk make baby sleep longer?

Alcohol and Breastfeeding: Is it Safe to Drink While I’m Breastfeeding? But now that you are breastfeeding is it actually safe to enjoy that alcoholic beverage or will the effects of the alcohol be harmful to your baby? Most health care professionals agree that drinking small amounts of alcohol while breastfeeding won’t hurt your baby.

  • Roughly 34-million women of childbearing age drink alcoholic beverages (approximately half of all lactating women in Western countries consume alcohol while breastfeeding), so, it is understandable that it has been the subject of a lot of research.
  • Still, we do not know the exact way that alcohol consumption can affect babies’ and what the safe consumption amounts are.
  • Does Alcohol Get Into My Breast Milk?

The short answer is yes. Alcohol is one of the most readily absorbed drugs known and alcohol does pass from your bloodstream into your milk. Alcohol levels reach their highest in breast milk about 30-60 minutes after drinking or after 30-90 minutes if you have had something to eat while you are drinking.

If you don’t have another drink, the concentration gradually falls and a couple of hours after having a single drink the alcohol will have mostly left your breast milk. Alcohol is not stored in the breast so as your liver metabolises the alcohol causing your blood alcohol level to drop, so does the alcohol level in your breastmilk.

Should I Pump and Dump? There is no benefit in “pumping and dumping” your breastmilk unless you are uncomfortable and need to express to relieve the discomfort. As your blood alcohol drops so will the level of alcohol in your breast milk and pumping and dumping will not speed up this process.

Any breast milk that you express during the time that it takes for your blood alcohol to drop will still contain alcohol. The alcohol will not work its way out of the milk, once outside your body, and any milk pumped while you are affected by alcohol will need to be discarded. How Long Should I Wait After Drinking Alcohol to Feed My Baby? The more drinks that you have, the longer it takes for your body to clear the alcohol from your system.

Some studies suggest that the amounts of alcohol moving into breast milk are very low compared to the alcohol consumed so that the amount of alcohol that your baby actually gets is minimal and the amount of alcohol ingested by a breastfed infant is only a small fraction of that consumed by its mother.

  • What and how much you’ve eaten
  • How much you weigh
  • How quickly you are drinking. The time that it takes for your liver to detoxify the alcohol in your system will not be sped up by coffee, cold showers, fresh air or exercise.

Mothers who ingest alcohol in moderate amounts can generally return to breastfeeding as soon as they feel neurologically normal. As a general rule, if you are sober enough to drive you should be sober enough to breastfeed. Everybody metabolises alcohol differently and your metabolism of alcohol can vary from day-to-day.

  • The Australian Breastfeeding Association has a handy App to help you work out how much time you may like to wait.
  • Download the free app for Apple and Android devices.
  • One study suggests that the amount of alcohol that a baby will get through breast milk is approximately 5-6% of the weight-adjusted maternal dose and, even in a theoretical case of binge drinking, your baby would not be subjected to clinically relevant amounts of alcohol.

Many breastfeeding mums choose to stop drinking alcohol, however, occasional light drinking while breastfeeding has not been shown to have any adverse effects on babies. Alcohol is best avoided until your baby is over three months old and then enjoyed as an occasional treat.

  • Planning Ahead is Key If you do have an alcoholic drink, make sure you allow at least a couple of hours for the alcohol to go through your system before your next breastfeed.
  • Alternatively, you could have a small drink while you’re actually breastfeeding your baby.
  • By the time the alcohol is in your system, your baby will have finished feeding.

Or for total peace of mind, if you’re planning to have an alcoholic drink, you could beforehand and give that to your baby for their next feed. If, on a single occasion, you have a little more alcohol than you had planned to or if your baby needs to feed sooner than you had anticipated it is OK to breastfeed your baby.

A critical issue to consider is around the care of your baby if you are drinking alcohol. If you are under the influence of alcohol you may make fewer safe decisions around the attention and care of your baby. Drinking alcohol reduces the ability of the mother to be aware of her baby’s needs, whether she is breastfeeding or not.

It is crucial to plan ahead to arrange that safe sleeping arrangement have been made and never to sleep with your baby if you have been consuming alcohol. Mothers who have been drinking alcohol should never let themselves be in a situation where they might fall asleep with the baby; on a bed, chair or settee (this would also apply to other carers who have been drinking alcohol).

Doing this has a strong association with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Will Drinking Alcohol Alter My Milk Supply? Studies have shown that alcohol can affect the balance of hormones that control breast milk production (prolactin and oxytocin) and can reduce your supply. Moderate consumption can reduce oxytocin levels affecting milk supply and let down.

What to Eat While Breastfeeding

Alcohol itself hinders both the milk ejection reflex (responsible for your milk letdown) and milk production, especially when taken in large amounts. But even a small amount, such as a single beer or glass of wine, can disrupt the balance of milk-producing hormones in breastfeeding women.

  • While the immediate effects of alcohol on milk production and delivery last only as long as the alcohol is in your system, chronic alcohol use has the potential to lower your milk supply overall.
  • But I’ve Been Told That Having Alcohol Can Increase My Breastmilk Supply? You may have heard the that drinking alcohol can help to boost your supply.

This may have been true in the past because of the way that alcohol was traditionally made and the ingredients used. The brewing process in past times differs greatly to the way that is made in modern times. In the past, not only was the alcohol content lower, the brew was also jam-packed full of grains and herbs.

  1. Nowadays, due to the lack of nutritional grains and herbs and a higher alcohol concentration, rather than increasing your supply, your breastmilk volumes are more likely to be lowered by the alcohol content.
  2. One study showed that breastfeeding women express nearly 10% less milk in the first two hours after moderate drinking (a little over one glass of wine or beer) and several other studies have shown that babies tend to get about 20 percent less breast milk if they nurse in the first four hours after the mother drinks alcohol.
  3. How Does Drinking Alcohol Affect My Breastfed Baby?
See also:  Wat Doet Alcohol Met Je Spieren?

Drinking occasional small amounts of alcohol has been shown to have minor short-term effects on your baby’s behaviour. Some babies experience increased awake times and are more irritable. A small study explains that babies slept for 25% less time after exposure to small amounts of alcohol in breast milk.

And while breastfed babies may become drowsy and fall asleep more quickly after their mother drinks alcohol, they also sleep for a shorter amount of time. Alcohol in your breast milk can also change the way that your breast milk tastes and smells and therefore may change the way that your baby feeds.

Your baby may be reluctant to or refuse to, feed while the smell and taste of your breast milk remain altered by the alcohol. Bear in mind that alcohol can temporarily reduce your milk supply. So, if you do have a drink, your baby may seem hungrier and want to feed more.

Studies have found that babies breastfeed more frequently, but consume less milk in the 3-4 hours after an alcoholic beverage is consumed. The long-term effects of drinking alcohol while breastfeeding are less clear and further research needs to be done. Regardless of this, drinking regularly or heavily while breastfeeding is not advised.

Moderate, heavy or continued drinking and may lead to drowsiness, deep sleep, weakness and decreased growth for your baby. Alcohol abuse (excessive drinking) by the mother can result in slow weight gain or failure to thrive in her baby. The let-down of a mother who abuses alcohol may be affected by her alcohol consumption, and she may not breastfeed enough.

The baby may sleep excessively, or may not suck effectively leading to decreased milk intake. The baby may even suffer from delayed motor development. Everything in Moderation So, it is possible to have a drink while you are breastfeeding – just in moderation! Remember that small amounts of alcohol move into breast milk when you drink an alcoholic beverage and as your body metabolises the alcohol the amount in your breast milk will also decrease.

Drinking small amounts of alcohol occasionally won’t affect your baby, however drinking regularly or heavily may affect your milk supply, make your baby sleepy or affect their growth and development. A little planning ahead can help you to minimise the amount of alcohol that reaches your baby and help you enjoy the occasional drink.

  • Anderson, P.O. (1995). Alcohol and Breastfeeding. Journal of Human Lactation, 11(4), 321–323.
  • Haastrup MB et al. Alcohol and breastfeeding. Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol.2014;114(2):168-173.
  • https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/system/files/ABA_Alchohol_BF%2520for%2520website.pdf
  • Mennella JA. Regulation of milk intake after exposure to alcohol in mothers’ milk. Alcohol Clin Exp Res.2001;25(4):590-593
  • Mennella JA. Short-term effects of maternal alcohol consumption on lactational performance. Alcohol Clin Exp Res.1998(7);22:1389-1392.
  • Mennella, J.A. & Gerrish, C.J. (1998). Effects of exposure to alcohol in mother’s milk on infant sleep. Pediatrics, 101
  • Newman, J. (1996). Is Alcohol So Bad for Breastfeeding Mothers? Journal of Human Lactation, 12(2), 93–93.
  • Schulte, P. (1995). Minimising Alcohol Exposure of the Breastfeeding Infant. Journal of Human Lactation, 11(4), 317–319.
  • Hale, Thomas., 2017 edition. Springer Publishing, 2017: 348-350.

DISCLAIMER: This information provides general information only. For specific advice about your baby or your healthcare needs, you should seek advice from your health professional. Medela does not accept any responsibility for loss or damage arising from your reliance on this information instead of seeing a health professional.

How long after 3 standard drinks can I breastfeed?

Alcohol and breastfeeding What you drink your baby drinks too. When you drink, alcohol goes directly into your breast milk. Getting drunk at any time when you are parenting a small baby can put your baby in danger. The best option is to avoid alcohol altogether when you are breastfeeding.

  1. If you do drink there are precautions you can take to protect your baby.
  2. Breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby; it is also good for your health.
  3. However, when you drink alcohol it passes directly into your bloodstream and breast milk.
  4. If you drink alcohol, wait two hours for every standard drink before breastfeeding.

Even if you feel slightly drunk or tipsy it’s better to avoid breastfeeding. The Women’s does not accept any liability to any person for the information or advice (or use of such information or advice) which is provided on the Website or incorporated into it by reference.

The Women’s provide this information on the understanding that all persons accessing it take responsibility for assessing its relevance and accuracy. Women are encouraged to discuss their health needs with a health practitioner. If you have concerns about your health, you should seek advice from your health care provider or if you require urgent care you should go to the nearest Emergency Dept.

: Alcohol and breastfeeding

Does alcohol affect breast milk?

Is alcohol a galactagogue? – Contrary to folklore advocating the use of alcohol to stimulate milk production, alcohol has been shown to decrease milk production, at least temporarily.16 It interacts with the neuroendocrine axis, disrupting the hormones that influence lactation.

  1. Alcohol inhibits the release of oxytocin, the hormone responsible for the milk ejection reflex.
  2. Alcohol in doses of 0.5 g/kg (which is about 8 oz of wine or 2 beers for a 132.3-lb individual ) has been shown to reduce oxytocin response to suckling by 18%; doses of 1.5 g/kg have been shown to reduce oxytocin response by 80%.

Consequently, lactating females who consume alcohol may experience delays in milk letdown ranging from about 30 seconds for lower doses and as high as 330 seconds with higher doses of alcohol exposure.17 In contrast, prolactin levels increase in response to alcohol consumption.

  • Although prolactin is a hormone important for milk production, the observed increases in prolactin levels after alcohol intake have not been associated with increased milk production.18 Beer has a reputation for increasing milk supply.
  • The polysaccharide found in barley and malt has been shown to increase serum prolactin levels in nonpregnant, nonlactating females.

However, infants consumed 23% less milk in the hours following maternal alcoholic beer consumption (versus nonalcoholic beer), and beer is not recommended for use as a galactagogue.19 Overall, infants consume about 20% less milk during the immediate hours after maternal alcohol consumption, likely because of diminished milk production.

Can one night of drinking affect milk supply?

Alcohol and Breastfeeding: Is it Safe to Drink While I’m Breastfeeding? But now that you are breastfeeding is it actually safe to enjoy that alcoholic beverage or will the effects of the alcohol be harmful to your baby? Most health care professionals agree that drinking small amounts of alcohol while breastfeeding won’t hurt your baby.

  • Roughly 34-million women of childbearing age drink alcoholic beverages (approximately half of all lactating women in Western countries consume alcohol while breastfeeding), so, it is understandable that it has been the subject of a lot of research.
  • Still, we do not know the exact way that alcohol consumption can affect babies’ and what the safe consumption amounts are.
  • Does Alcohol Get Into My Breast Milk?

The short answer is yes. Alcohol is one of the most readily absorbed drugs known and alcohol does pass from your bloodstream into your milk. Alcohol levels reach their highest in breast milk about 30-60 minutes after drinking or after 30-90 minutes if you have had something to eat while you are drinking.

If you don’t have another drink, the concentration gradually falls and a couple of hours after having a single drink the alcohol will have mostly left your breast milk. Alcohol is not stored in the breast so as your liver metabolises the alcohol causing your blood alcohol level to drop, so does the alcohol level in your breastmilk.

Should I Pump and Dump? There is no benefit in “pumping and dumping” your breastmilk unless you are uncomfortable and need to express to relieve the discomfort. As your blood alcohol drops so will the level of alcohol in your breast milk and pumping and dumping will not speed up this process.

Any breast milk that you express during the time that it takes for your blood alcohol to drop will still contain alcohol. The alcohol will not work its way out of the milk, once outside your body, and any milk pumped while you are affected by alcohol will need to be discarded. How Long Should I Wait After Drinking Alcohol to Feed My Baby? The more drinks that you have, the longer it takes for your body to clear the alcohol from your system.

Some studies suggest that the amounts of alcohol moving into breast milk are very low compared to the alcohol consumed so that the amount of alcohol that your baby actually gets is minimal and the amount of alcohol ingested by a breastfed infant is only a small fraction of that consumed by its mother.

  • What and how much you’ve eaten
  • How much you weigh
  • How quickly you are drinking. The time that it takes for your liver to detoxify the alcohol in your system will not be sped up by coffee, cold showers, fresh air or exercise.
See also:  Hoe Lang Geen Alcohol Na Hersenschudding?

Mothers who ingest alcohol in moderate amounts can generally return to breastfeeding as soon as they feel neurologically normal. As a general rule, if you are sober enough to drive you should be sober enough to breastfeed. Everybody metabolises alcohol differently and your metabolism of alcohol can vary from day-to-day.

  • The Australian Breastfeeding Association has a handy App to help you work out how much time you may like to wait.
  • Download the free app for Apple and Android devices.
  • One study suggests that the amount of alcohol that a baby will get through breast milk is approximately 5-6% of the weight-adjusted maternal dose and, even in a theoretical case of binge drinking, your baby would not be subjected to clinically relevant amounts of alcohol.

Many breastfeeding mums choose to stop drinking alcohol, however, occasional light drinking while breastfeeding has not been shown to have any adverse effects on babies. Alcohol is best avoided until your baby is over three months old and then enjoyed as an occasional treat.

  1. Planning Ahead is Key If you do have an alcoholic drink, make sure you allow at least a couple of hours for the alcohol to go through your system before your next breastfeed.
  2. Alternatively, you could have a small drink while you’re actually breastfeeding your baby.
  3. By the time the alcohol is in your system, your baby will have finished feeding.

Or for total peace of mind, if you’re planning to have an alcoholic drink, you could beforehand and give that to your baby for their next feed. If, on a single occasion, you have a little more alcohol than you had planned to or if your baby needs to feed sooner than you had anticipated it is OK to breastfeed your baby.

A critical issue to consider is around the care of your baby if you are drinking alcohol. If you are under the influence of alcohol you may make fewer safe decisions around the attention and care of your baby. Drinking alcohol reduces the ability of the mother to be aware of her baby’s needs, whether she is breastfeeding or not.

It is crucial to plan ahead to arrange that safe sleeping arrangement have been made and never to sleep with your baby if you have been consuming alcohol. Mothers who have been drinking alcohol should never let themselves be in a situation where they might fall asleep with the baby; on a bed, chair or settee (this would also apply to other carers who have been drinking alcohol).

  • Doing this has a strong association with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • Will Drinking Alcohol Alter My Milk Supply? Studies have shown that alcohol can affect the balance of hormones that control breast milk production (prolactin and oxytocin) and can reduce your supply.
  • Moderate consumption can reduce oxytocin levels affecting milk supply and let down.

Alcohol itself hinders both the milk ejection reflex (responsible for your milk letdown) and milk production, especially when taken in large amounts. But even a small amount, such as a single beer or glass of wine, can disrupt the balance of milk-producing hormones in breastfeeding women.

  1. While the immediate effects of alcohol on milk production and delivery last only as long as the alcohol is in your system, chronic alcohol use has the potential to lower your milk supply overall.
  2. But I’ve Been Told That Having Alcohol Can Increase My Breastmilk Supply? You may have heard the that drinking alcohol can help to boost your supply.

This may have been true in the past because of the way that alcohol was traditionally made and the ingredients used. The brewing process in past times differs greatly to the way that is made in modern times. In the past, not only was the alcohol content lower, the brew was also jam-packed full of grains and herbs.

  1. Nowadays, due to the lack of nutritional grains and herbs and a higher alcohol concentration, rather than increasing your supply, your breastmilk volumes are more likely to be lowered by the alcohol content.
  2. One study showed that breastfeeding women express nearly 10% less milk in the first two hours after moderate drinking (a little over one glass of wine or beer) and several other studies have shown that babies tend to get about 20 percent less breast milk if they nurse in the first four hours after the mother drinks alcohol.
  3. How Does Drinking Alcohol Affect My Breastfed Baby?

Drinking occasional small amounts of alcohol has been shown to have minor short-term effects on your baby’s behaviour. Some babies experience increased awake times and are more irritable. A small study explains that babies slept for 25% less time after exposure to small amounts of alcohol in breast milk.

  • And while breastfed babies may become drowsy and fall asleep more quickly after their mother drinks alcohol, they also sleep for a shorter amount of time.
  • Alcohol in your breast milk can also change the way that your breast milk tastes and smells and therefore may change the way that your baby feeds.

Your baby may be reluctant to or refuse to, feed while the smell and taste of your breast milk remain altered by the alcohol. Bear in mind that alcohol can temporarily reduce your milk supply. So, if you do have a drink, your baby may seem hungrier and want to feed more.

  • Studies have found that babies breastfeed more frequently, but consume less milk in the 3-4 hours after an alcoholic beverage is consumed.
  • The long-term effects of drinking alcohol while breastfeeding are less clear and further research needs to be done.
  • Regardless of this, drinking regularly or heavily while breastfeeding is not advised.

Moderate, heavy or continued drinking and may lead to drowsiness, deep sleep, weakness and decreased growth for your baby. Alcohol abuse (excessive drinking) by the mother can result in slow weight gain or failure to thrive in her baby. The let-down of a mother who abuses alcohol may be affected by her alcohol consumption, and she may not breastfeed enough.

The baby may sleep excessively, or may not suck effectively leading to decreased milk intake. The baby may even suffer from delayed motor development. Everything in Moderation So, it is possible to have a drink while you are breastfeeding – just in moderation! Remember that small amounts of alcohol move into breast milk when you drink an alcoholic beverage and as your body metabolises the alcohol the amount in your breast milk will also decrease.

Drinking small amounts of alcohol occasionally won’t affect your baby, however drinking regularly or heavily may affect your milk supply, make your baby sleepy or affect their growth and development. A little planning ahead can help you to minimise the amount of alcohol that reaches your baby and help you enjoy the occasional drink.

  • Anderson, P.O. (1995). Alcohol and Breastfeeding. Journal of Human Lactation, 11(4), 321–323.
  • Haastrup MB et al. Alcohol and breastfeeding. Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol.2014;114(2):168-173.
  • https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/system/files/ABA_Alchohol_BF%2520for%2520website.pdf
  • Mennella JA. Regulation of milk intake after exposure to alcohol in mothers’ milk. Alcohol Clin Exp Res.2001;25(4):590-593
  • Mennella JA. Short-term effects of maternal alcohol consumption on lactational performance. Alcohol Clin Exp Res.1998(7);22:1389-1392.
  • Mennella, J.A. & Gerrish, C.J. (1998). Effects of exposure to alcohol in mother’s milk on infant sleep. Pediatrics, 101
  • Newman, J. (1996). Is Alcohol So Bad for Breastfeeding Mothers? Journal of Human Lactation, 12(2), 93–93.
  • Schulte, P. (1995). Minimising Alcohol Exposure of the Breastfeeding Infant. Journal of Human Lactation, 11(4), 317–319.
  • Hale, Thomas., 2017 edition. Springer Publishing, 2017: 348-350.

DISCLAIMER: This information provides general information only. For specific advice about your baby or your healthcare needs, you should seek advice from your health professional. Medela does not accept any responsibility for loss or damage arising from your reliance on this information instead of seeing a health professional.

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