Drinking Alcohol and Breastfeeding

Are you hoping to celebrate on New Year’s Eve with a drink and wondering whether you need to “pump and dump” or abstain from drinking altogether? Check out these resources on alcohol and breastfeeding. But first, maybe you’d like to test your knowledge with this fun alcohol and breastfeeding quiz.

~ You might be surprised what La Leche League has to say about drinking alcohol and breastfeeding.

~ Read my thoughts on the controversial Milkscreen test for alcohol in breast milk.

Photo by Engindeniz

Photo by Engindeniz

~ Does the hops in ale or beer increase milk supply?

~ Check out what the Drug and Lactation Database has to say by typing in “alcohol” on this LactMed search page.

~ The American Academy of Pediatrics lists alcohol in its tables on The Transfer of Drugs and Other Chemicals into Human Milk.

~ Dr. Thomas Hale, author of Medications and Mother’s Milk, offers his professional opinion on whether and how much alcohol is compatible with breastfeeding, and answers the question of whether or not the alcohol in expressed breast milk will evaporate so the mother does not need to dump her pumped milk.

~ As always, if you generally co-sleep with your baby (a wonderful thing!) you should keep in mind the guidelines for safe co-sleeping and not share a bed with your baby if you have been drinking heavily. You can still have your baby nearby, perhaps on another, safe bed, in a co-sleeper next to the bed, or in a crib in the same room with you.

Your Experience

What are your thoughts on alcohol and breastfeeding? Do you completely abstain from drinking or are you comfortable having an alcoholic beverage while breastfeeding? Do you occasionally drink more heavily and wait the recommended amount of time before breastfeeding again? Do you express milk in advance so that baby can take a bottle of milk should the need arise?

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    • http://www.naturalmomlovesprada.com Natural Mom Loves Prada

      I will have a drink while I am breastfeeding and even though I don’t advertise it, I’ll have the periodic drink while pregnant. While I don’t think it’s a smart idea to drink regularly (I don’t – a few glasses a year) – I think you can use common sense and still consume a glass of wine with friends without harming your child.
      I feel that because there will always be those who are not able to use common sense – we have to put very strict guidelines for everyone.
      I choose to think for myself.

    • http://www.strocel.com Amber

      I have the occasional drink when I’m breastfeeding. Well, not at that EXACT moment, but you know what I mean. ;)

      If I’m having a glass of wine with dinner, I don’t worry so much about abstaining. If I’m going to have a couple of glasses of wine, I usually do it after my nursling goes to sleep, when I can expect to have a few hours to myself. That gives me a chance to relax and the alcohol has time to clear my system.

    • http://www.upspringbaby.com Amanda

      I work for a company called UpSpring Baby and we’ve actually developed a breast milk screening test which is extremely sensitive in detecting alcohol. It gives new moms peace of mind so that they don’t have to guess if their milk is safe for baby:


      We’ve had excellent feedback from our users. You can find it at Walgreen’s and Babies R’Us.

    • http://www.breastfeeding123.com Angela White, J.D., breastfeeding counselor

      I am not a fan of such tests, as my post (linked above) on the Milkscreen test explains.