Drinking Alcohol While Breastfeeding

Here are a few facts about breastfeeding and drinking alcohol.

In all circumstances we DO NOT recommend drinking alcohol while pregnant or breastfeeding.

One alcoholic drink consumed over an hour takes two or three hours for the female liver to process.

Three to four drinks consumed over an hour would take the liver six to 12 hours to detoxify!

The concentration of alcohol in breast milk is the same or slightly higher than the level in mother’s blood

If you do decide to drink while breastfeeding, here are some tips for minimizing the impact of alcohol on your breast fed baby:

  • Always drink slowly and space out your drinks and the time you drink them
  • Drink plenty of water, eat before and during the time you drink alcohol
  • Limit the number of drinks you have
  • Choose low alcohol drinks
  • Try diluting your drinks and sipping them
  • Beforehand, you can express breast milk with a breast pump, and store that milk to use while you  are drinking, rather than breastfeeding while drinking.
  • Feed baby with milk you have expressed off before you had a drink.
  • If you have been drinking, and are feeding baby with previously expressed breast milk, you may need to express milk to relieve some engorgement. Express and discard this at it will be “contaminated” with alcohol this is known as Pump and Dump.  (This suggestion is for your comfort only, ‘Pumping and Dumping’ like this does not remove alcohol from your body)
  • Wait at least two to three hours after consuming the last drink, before breastfeeding your baby at your breast.

There are test strips available, which are specially designed to test if there is any alcohol present in your milk.  Milkscreen Alcohol Tests