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Sipping or Skipping: The Lowdown on Drinking Alcohol while Breastfeeding

Updated: Jul 1, 2023


alcohol while breastfeeding

It's a common question that every new mother wonders - can alcohol consumption while breastfeeding affect my baby? The truth is, there is no easy answer. As with most things in parenting, it depends on a variety of factors. Let's explore a few of these factors so you can make the decision that is best for you and your baby.


How Alcohol Affects Breastmilk

First and foremost, it's important to understand how alcohol affects your breast milk. When you drink alcohol, it enters your bloodstream and then passes into your breast milk. The amount of alcohol in your breast milk will peak about 30-60 minutes after you stop drinking. How long it takes for the alcohol to clear your system will depend on several factors, including weight, how much you drank, and how quickly your body metabolizes alcohol.


There is no easy answer when it comes to drinking while breastfeeding. ultimately, it is a decision that every mother needs to make based on her own individual circumstances. However, it is important to err on the side of caution. If you do decide to drink while breastfeeding, be sure to do so occasionally and in moderation; binge drinking should never be done while breastfeeding, as it can lead to dehydration and decreased milk supply. Finally, pumping and dumping does not speed up the sobering process - the only way to get rid of the alcohol in your system is time.


It's also important to keep in mind that drinking alcohol can affect your baby's eating and sleeping patterns. Alcohol can make your baby less alert and more drowsy, which means they may eat less or sleep more than usual. If you're going to drink while breastfeeding, it's important to do so responsibly and make sure someone else is available to care for your baby if necessary.


Drinking can also dehydrate your body and decrease your milk supply.


Pumping and Dumping

You may have heard that if you pump and dump after drinking alcohol, it will clear the alcohol from your system and allow you to safely breastfeed your baby. Unfortunately, this isn't true; pumping and dumping does nothing to speed up the process of sobering up. The only way to get rid of the alcohol in your system is to wait it out; on average, it takes about two hours for one standard drink (12 oz beer, 5 oz glass of wine, 1.5 oz shot of liquor) to leave your system.



alcohol while breastfeeding


There is no easy answer when it comes to drinking while breastfeeding. ultimately, it is a decision that every mother needs to make based on her own individual circumstances. However, it is important to err on the side of caution. If you do decide to drink while breastfeeding, be sure to do so occasionally and in moderation; binge drinking should never be done while breastfeeding, as it can lead to dehydration and decreased milk supply. Finally, pumping and dumping does not speed up the sobering process - the only way to get rid of alcohol in your system is time.


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About the author: Kellie Green is a certified and licensed Speech Pathologist, as well as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), who specializes in infant feeding. She operates a private practice in Columbus, OH, Green Living & Wellness.





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