Is It Safe? Caffeine & Alcohol While Breastfeeding

7/3/2018

By the time your baby comes, you’ve likely spent about 9 months without enjoying your morning cup of coffee or a glass of wine at night. So, you’ll be happy to know that there is a way to enjoy caffeine and alcohol during your breastfeeding journey.

Caffeine While Breastfeeding

After a late night or an early morning, we don’t blame a mom for craving a little pick-me-up. Being a mom is understandably tiring, but we have good news. In moderation, a small amount of caffeine will not harm your breastfed baby.

When caffeine enters your bloodstream, a small amount can be passed along to your baby through breast milk. Most babies aren’t affected by this, but some sensitive little ones may be extra fussy or wakeful after drinking milk with trace amounts of caffeine. Keep in mind that the concentration of caffeine in your breast milk will peak about two hours after breastfeeding. We recommend limiting your daily caffeine intake to less than 300 milligrams. For comparison, 500 milligrams is about 3 (8 oz) cups of coffee. Also, be sure to check the caffeine levels in other drinks you consume regularly, and remember that some foods contain caffeine as well.

Alcohol While Breastfeeding

Whether it’s a quiet night after the baby is in bed, or a much-needed night out with friends, any mom has the right to unwind with a drink (responsibly), and the right to make an informed decision about breastfeeding with alcohol in your system.

Most professional sources advise limiting the amount of alcohol consumed to 8 ounces of wine or 2 beers, and waiting 2 hours before breastfeeding. It’s also recommended to limit alcohol intake to 1-2 drinks per week. In other words, occasional drinking and moderation are key. Be sure to keep in mind your fatigue and coordination levels, as dangerous mistakes can be made when handling a baby while impaired.

You may have also heard that a glass or beer or wine in the evening helps with letdown or supply. However, current research has shown that alcohol may inhibit oxytocin release, so we don’t recommend using it to try to increase breast milk supply.

“Moming” is hard work, and you should feel free to have a cup of coffee or a cold beer every once in a while. As long as you’re making safe, well-informed decisions, be empowered to do what’s best for you and your family!