Been counting down the days the end of pregnancy to finally pop a bottle of your fav rosé and celebrate? But you might be wondering, is it safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding, we have your answer.
There’s a lot of misinformation about consuming alcohol while breastfeeding that gets moms asking is it safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding. Most breastfeeding moms wonder:
Can I drink at all? Should I pump and dump? Could it harm my baby?
Reasonable questions, and I’m here to give you some answers.
The general rule I use and many moms recommend is simple. If you’re sober enough to drive, you’re sober enough to breastfeed. But why?
Let’s dive into the research.
(Just as quick disclaimer that you can always check with your medical providers, though an IBCLC would probably be the most knowledgable on the subject. I am not a doctor and this is just my personal opinion based on my research and experience breastfeeding three babies.)
How much alcohol can transfer to breastmilk?
According to Kelly Mom, less than 2% of alcohol consumed by a mom reaches her bloodstream and her milk. The alcohol enters and leaves your breastmilk at the same rate it enters and leaves your blood.
But even if you’ve been drinking pretty heavily, the concern about breastfeeding while drunk is really more about whether you’re in a proper state to be parenting at the moment vs. the alcohol that you could be passing to your baby. The amount of alcohol that actually gets into your baby’s bloodstream is pretty minute.
A Slate article breaks down the math for us. They figured if a 150-pound mom drinks 4 glasses of wine and then breastfeeds a 13-pound baby while she is at her drunkest point, her baby’s blood alcohol level would be 0.0038 percent. That equals about the same amount that would be in the mother’s bloodstream if she drank 1.5oz of Bud Light.
They point out that there are actually higher concentrations of alcohol in some fruit juices, due to fermentation than in the breastmilk of a tipsy mom.
To pump and dump or not?
The only reason to pump and dump or even pump and save your milk would be for your comfort or to keep up supply while you might be away from the baby.
Because alcohol leaves your milk at the same rate that it leaves your blood, all the milk you produce while you are still feeling the effects of alcohol, or have alcohol in your blood, will still be present in the milk.
But that alcohol will leave the milk as it leaves your bloodstream. So just waiting it out is the only way to ensure there isn’t any alcohol in your milk if you are worried about that.
Reasons to worry about drinking and breastfeeding
A couple of things to keep in mind.
One factor to keep in mind when wondering is it safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding is the age of your baby. A newborn doesn’t have as mature of a liver and has a harder time breaking down alcohol. So if your baby is teeny or maybe premature and you have reason to believe that could be less tolerant of anything in your breastmilk, you can always be extra cautious and steer clear.
The other thing to think about is basically whether you’re drunk. Are you too drunk to be parenting? If you are, then you should probably steer clear of breastfeeding as well because you just aren’t clear or coherent enough to care for a baby.
That’s the reason most stick to the advice that if you’re sober enough to drive you can breastfeed. If you can drive then you are certainly sober enough to parent and feed your child. Plus, if you do have any lingering concerns over the alcohol transferring to your milk, then sticking to just one or two drinks can help ease your mind.
And just a reminder, if you a pregnant, alcohol goes directly to the baby and isn’t filtered out through the milk. Big difference there. As to whether it is ok for pregnant women to occasionally indulge is another topic, but chugging down four glasses of wine surely wouldn’t be a great idea during pregnancy.
So, is it safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding? The conclusion.
The bottom line is, it is ok to indulge moderately and still breastfeed your baby.
If you want to be cautious, just wait until you sober up a bit before nursing. No need to pump and dump unless you’re away from baby and need to for your own comfort.
Of course, I am not a doctor and always advise moms to do their own research and/or talk to their pediatrician. For me personally, I have drunk alcohol while breastfeeding all three of my babies with no ill effects.
While the recommendations seem a bit mixed based on who you ask, the question of is it safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding is settled in my mind. The answer is… mostly yes. If you can drive, you can nurse.
You've been breastfeeding your toddler for what feels like foreeeever, and you're ready to wean. But how? In this post, I'll break down some tips for how to wean a toddler from breastfeeding. I've put in a combined roughly 94 months of breastfeeding so far between my...
Getting outside is so important for little ones to get fresh air and run off some energy, not to mention it’s great for mama too! This is our list of the best outdoor toys for 1-year-old that kids and moms both love.
The BEST resource for learning how to totally rock momlife is the wisdom other moms learned in the school of hard knocks. So we are sharing 28 best mom hacks that real moms swear by and shared on our Facebook page. Honestly, some of the tips and incredible mom hacks...
Want more breastfeeding tips? Find us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.facebookinstagrampinterest Got a stage 5 clinger who won't let go of your boob? Like your nipple feels like it's now permanently attached to your little squish? You've got a cluster feeder....
Think you're pregnant or trying to conceive? You're probably wondering what kind of pregnancy test should I buy? These 5 questions will help you choose which is best for you, and we'll give you our pick for the best one. So you can answer the question for yourself on...
Want to give your breastfed baby a bottle, but worried about them starting to prefer the bottle over breast? Paced feeding is a great way to initiate bottle feeding, and I'll share how and why I chose paced feeding with my breastfed babies. I've breastfed for over 6...
Just found out your pregnant, or maybe wondering if you are? These first month pregnancy tips will help you get started. The first few weeks of pregnancy can be stressful and also blissful. These are three tips to help you get started at the very beginning, and I've...
Another year over, and a new one about to begin. As I write this it is 8:21pm on December 31, 2019. We are about to start a new decade. Like so many others, we are taking a minute to look back first. These are our top 10 viewed posts of 2019 here at Mom Uprising. They...
Tired? Stressed? Ready to let it all go and start putting yourself first? Let's do it, mama. Get started with these 10 self-care inspiration posts we totally love. It's easy to get stuck in a rut, and sometimes just a simple image can break you out of your stickiness...
Expecting twins and want to tandem breastfeed? There are so many questions, right? Like what are the logistics? What is the best way to breastfeed twins? I got you. Keep reading to find out how I made it work. Breastfeeding one baby can be an awkward learning curve,...