Imbibing while Breastfeeding

Many women ask (quite shyly so as not to come across as a lush) whether it’s OK to drink alcohol while breastfeeding.  There is rarely a black and white answer with me, so I’ll do my best to simplify. My answer is always “Yes, as long as…..”

–baby does not have a medical issue, such as prematurity or jaundice, that would impair his/her ability to process the small amount of alcohol that might get into their system (best to run it by your pediatrician first).

–you keep things under control.  Having 1-2 drinks on a full stomach is much different than having 4-6 on either a full OR empty stomach, especially if you haven’t been drinking for nine months.  Best to know your limit, know your body.  If you are feeling drunk and it’s time for baby to eat, that milk should be pumped and dumped.  If you’re feeling fine (ie., not unsafe or drunk) then the alcohol has moved on from your system (and your breastmilk) and it is safe to breastfeed.   Typically, if you start drinking immediately after baby’s feeding, by the time the next feeding comes along the alcohol will be sufficiently lowered (if you stick to 1-2 drinks).

Some medications and medical conditions can affect how we process alcohol, so again, know your body and talk to your doctor if you have concerns.  This is a great article from Kelly Mom that will provide research you may find helpful.

But hey, it’s summer, and who isn’t looking forward to a nice white wine on the deck?  I know I am.  If you’re still worried about the alcohol levels, you could try a lower alcohol-containing option.  This list gives great options for lower alcohol wines.  And you could always mix your own Cosmo and just add less alcohol—everything is customizable!  Enjoy that occasional drink (in moderation, ladies) and raise a glass to yourselves as you do so.  You deserve a little break out on the deck this summer 🙂  Cheers!