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Alcohol & Breast Milk

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Alcohol passes through your milk to your baby, so it's best to avoid drinking alcohol while breastfeeding.

What You Should Know:

  • Drinking beer does not increase your milk supply, as urban myth(s) suggests.

  • Consuming alcohol of any kind may decrease the amount of milk your baby drinks.

  • Alcohol can change the taste of your milk, and this may be objectionable to some babies.

  • Breastfeeding your child while consuming alcohol can pose a risk to your infant if he or she consume breast milk with alcohol.

  • Expressing or pumping milk after drinking alcohol, and then discarding it ("pumping and dumping"), does NOT reduce the amount of alcohol present in your milk quicker. As your alcohol blood level falls over time, the level of alcohol in your breast milk will also decrease. Breast milk continues to contain alcohol if alcohol is still in your bloodstream.

If You Choose to Have an Alcoholic Drink:

alcoholic-drink-graphic.If you are going to have an alcohol containing beverage, it is best to do so just after you nurse or pump milk rather than before.

Breastfeeding or pumping breast milk is ok 4 hours after your last drink. That way, your body will have as much time as possible to rid itself of the alcohol before the next feeding and less will reach your infant.

Caring for a baby infant while intoxicated is not safe!

Drinking alcohol could impair your judgement and your ability to safely care for your baby. If you drinks excessively, arrange for a sober adult to care for your baby during this time.

Repeated Exposure of Infants to Alcohol:

There are concerns about long-term, repeated exposures of infants to alcohol via the mother's milk, so moderation is advised. Chronic consumption of alcohol may also reduce milk production.

Additional Resources:

Last Updated
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Program (Copyright © 2018 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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