Can I have a “Drink”? While Breastfeeding?

**Consuming Alcoholic beverages while pregnant or underaged is strongly discouraged. If you have a dependency on alcohol it’s recommended that you seek help and discontinue use while pregnant**

After going about 9 months without enjoying a favorite adult beverage, a common breastfeeding question after giving birth is “when can I have a drink”. Another common question is “Should I Pump and Dump if I go out”.

You can find all of the answeres to help you make the right decision here:

Not drinking alcohol at all is the safest option for breastfeeding parents. Generally, moderate alcohol consumption by the breastfeeding parent (up to 1 standard drink per day) is not known to be harmful to the infant, especially if you wait at least 2 hours after a single drink before nursing. However, exposure to alcohol above moderate levels through breast milk could be damaging to an infant’s development, growth, and sleep patterns. Alcohol consumption above moderate levels may also impair a your judgment and ability to safely care for your child.

Consuming more than one drink per day is not recommended.

How much is one drink? Good Question!

The Dietary Guidelines for Americansexternal icondefines a standard “drink” as 12 ounces of 5% beer; 8 ounces of 7% malt liquor; 5 ounces of 12% wine; or 1.5 ounces of 40% (80 proof) liquor. All of these drinks contain the same amount (i.e., 14 grams, or 0.6 ounces) of pure alcohol. However, many common drinks contain much more alcohol than this. For example, 12 ounces of 9% beer contains nearly the same amount of alcohol as two (1.8) standard drinks. Consuming one of these drinks would be the equivalent of two standard drinks.

According to the Alcohol levels are usually highest in breast milk 30-60 minutes after an alcoholic beverage is consumed, and can be generally detected in breast milk for about 2-3 hours per drink after it is consumed. However, the length of time alcohol can be detected in breast milk will increase the more alcohol you consume. For example, alcohol from 1 drink can be detected in breast milk for about 2-3 hours, alcohol from 2 drinks can be detected for about 4-5 hours, and alcohol from 3 drinks can be detected for about 6-8 hours, and so on. However, blood alcohol levels and the length of time alcohol can be detected in breast milk after drinking will depend on a number of factors, including the amount of alcohol consumed, how fast the alcohol is consumed, whether it is consumed with food, how much you weigh, and how fast alcohol is broken down in your body.

A good rule to live by is you can do it, but don’t over do it. Expressing or pumping milk after drinking alcohol, and then discarding it (“pumping and dumping”), does NOT reduce the amount of alcohol present in breastmilk more quickly. As the your alcohol blood level falls over time, the level of alcohol in your breast milk will also decrease. You may choose to express or pump milk after consuming alcohol to ease your physical discomfort or adhere to your milk expression schedule.

For FAQ’s on over consumption Alcohol and Public Health visit here