Alcohol Use By The Breastfeeding Mother

 According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, AAP, excessive or regular drinking is discouraged during breastfeeding. Alcohol is rapidly absorbed into milkWhile it also rapidly clears from milk, research suggests its use can alter the taste of the milk and temporarily inhibit milk production. For these reasons, the AAP suggests that breastfeeding mothers avoid the use of alcoholic beverages. An occasional celebratory single, small alcoholic drink is acceptable, but the AAP and other experts suggest that mothers wait about 2 hours until resuming breastfeeding. The official AAP rating states that alcohol is a maternal medication “usually compatible with breastfeeding.” 

Tips:

  • Breastfeed your baby before taking alcoholic beverages. Avoid breastfeeding during and for 2-3 hours after drinking alcohol.
  • Pumping does not get rid of the alcohol in breast milk quicker.
  • If you drink enough to feel “high,” experts advise waiting several hours before nursing the baby. You can pump during this time if you feel uncomfortably full.
  • Consult your doctor about the need for discarding milk for 2 hours after drinking alcohol. It may not be necessary.
  • When a big celebration is planned, arrange for someone sober to help care for the baby.
  • Avoid drinking excessive alcohol. Seek help from your doctor if you are concerned about your alcohol use.
  • Some medications interact with alcohol. Check with your doctor.
   References:
Cobo E. Effect of different doses of ethanol on the milk ejecting reflex in lactating women. Am J obstet Gynecol.  115:817- 821, 1973.
    Hale, T. Medications and Mothers’ Milk. 2006. 322-323.
     Lawrence, RA, Lawrence RM, Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession, 2005, 396-397. 371
     Mennella, J.A. Effects of Beer on Breastfed Infants. Letter to Editor. JAMA 269:1637, 1993.
Mennella JA and Beauchamp, GK. The transfer of alcohol to human milk. Effects on flavor and the infant’s behavior.    NEJM 325:981-985, 1991.
Newman, J., Pitman, T. The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers, 2006. 200-201. Pediatrics, American Academy     of Pediatrics: The Transfer of Drugs and Other Chemicals Into Human Milk, Vol. 108 No. 3 September 2001, pp. 776-789.