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How much alcohol can you drink while breastfeeding?

Hello everyone. My baby is 6 weeks old. I am breastfeeding. I don't want to give her formula, I do have some frozen breastmilk. I am going out without the baby for first time tonight. She will have to be fed 1 time while I am out. I wanted to have a drink or two. What is safe? How much can I drink? Will I be able to feed her as soon as I get home? I just need to know, so I can try to pump the right amount. I am soooo nervous! Thanks to everyone for the advice ahead of time


Asked by Amber727 at 10:44 AM on Mar. 28, 2009 in Babies (0-12 months)

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Answers (25)
  • n general, if you are sober enough to drive, you are sober enough to breastfeed. Less than 2% of the alcohol consumed by the mother reaches her blood and milk. Alcohol peaks in mom's blood and milk approximately 1/2-1 hour after drinking (but there is considerable variation from person to person, depending upon how much food was eaten in the same time period, mom's body weight and percentage of body fat, etc.). Alcohol does not accumulate in breastmilk, but leaves the milk as it leaves the blood; so when your blood alcohol levels are back down, so are your milk alcohol levels.

    Always keep in mind the baby's age when considering the effect of alcohol. A newborn has a very immature liver, so minute amounts of alcohol would be more of a burden. Up until around 3 months of age, infants detoxify alcohol at around half the rate of an adult. An older baby or toddler can metabolize the alcohol more quickly.


    Answer by matthewscandi at 1:04 PM on Mar. 28, 2009

  • You can drink ONE drink a day without any affects on the baby. If you drink more than that then you will have to pump and dump.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:45 AM on Mar. 28, 2009

  • Anon is wrong. You can drink one drink an hour. It metabolizes out of your milk the same way it does out of your blood. The difference is that it does not concentrate in your milk as heavily as it does in your bloodstream. As long as you give the drinks that hour to metabolize out, you are safe to nurse.

    Answer by kabbot01 at 10:51 AM on Mar. 28, 2009

  • P.S. Make sure you're getting enough fluid. Alcohol is dehydrating and that will affect your milk supply. I would drink a glass of water between drinks.

    Answer by kabbot01 at 10:52 AM on Mar. 28, 2009

  • I wouldn't do it. Better safe than sorry. BUT..if you do I would pump and dump.

    Answer by diamondmamma at 10:53 AM on Mar. 28, 2009

  • I agree with diamondmamma. WE know the effects alcohol can have on us, why would you even want to risk it getting to your baby? I eat chili and my baby is fussy for a couple days because of the beans. I don't see how we've decided that the alcohol doesn't get to them.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:02 AM on Mar. 28, 2009

  • Um, I'm not positive, but if I were you, I would try to pump as much as you can today during the day, and then have your drinks tonight, and feed the baby the pumped milk throughout the night. That way, you have no chance of it affecting the baby at all, and everyone is happy =]

    Answer by mommykayti at 11:27 AM on Mar. 28, 2009

  • I've read the same info as Kabbot. There is no need to pump and dump with alcohol because it metabolizes out. I wouldn't go and get wasted, but one drink and you should be fine. Give her the bottles if you're worried. If you are really nervous you can always call the pediatrician and ask his/her opinion. Try to relax and enjoy your night out! You'll be so refreshed when you get back to caring for your baby. Just a few hours with friends or whatever helps so much. Congrats on the new baby :)

    Answer by beckcorc at 11:36 AM on Mar. 28, 2009

  • Kabbot is wrong. I've had 2 doctors tell me it take 4 hours for each drink to get out of you system and milk. So wait 4 hours for each drink. You are suppose to pump and dump, but if you wait as long as you can, you don't need to. They make milkscreen tests you can get at Babies R Us that test if there is still alcohol in your breastmilk. You should try those just to be on the safe side. Also, try drinking things like wine or beer and stay away from hard liquor like tequila or bourbon, ect. I had 1 margarita once and waited 9 hours to feed my DD again and it made her sick.

    Answer by ABPeterson at 11:41 AM on Mar. 28, 2009

  • See Amber all the calculations you have to do? Wouldn't it just be better to drink a glass of water, dance your ass off and call it a night?

    Answer by diamondmamma at 11:48 AM on Mar. 28, 2009