I Am Wondering How Many Breast Feeding Mama's Have Had Alcholic Beverage...

Updated on August 12, 2010
A.B. asks from North Augusta, SC
16 answers

how much and how often??? If you have had alcholic beverages do you think it affected your baby in any way?

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all of the input ladies! It is amazing how many different ideas are out there...
For example, alchol will make the baby sleep better. That is actually a myth. Alchol turns to sugar in the breast milk so it will actually make them fussy. I have also read that if there is too much alchol in the breast milk the baby will more than likely turn away from the breast. I have also read that the body has a recipe for breast milk and it does not include alchol-so what does enter the breast milk is trace amounts (if you are drinking moderately). But if it does work like the blood than I suppose that idea doesn't apply??? I suppose why I am most curious is because it is not something that can truly be studied. Doctor's cannot ask one mother to drink 1 drink and another mother to drink 5 so that he can test the results. Morallly we cannot take a chance on harming an infant for the sake of science. I just wish I had an exact answer.

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answers from Boston on

My son got a little bellyache if I had alcohol, so I avoided it with him. My daughter was born on St. Patrick's Day, so I had a beer in the hospital the day she was born and the occasional beer after that and she was and is fit as a fiddle.

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answers from Washington DC on

Actually you don't need to throw away the next feeding. That is a fallacy. Alcohol has special properties and is absorbed through all membranes yes, BUT milk isn't produced until it is demanded (at which time the raw ingredients are pulled from your blood system by your glands), so it's not leeching into your milk and just sitting there. The general rule of thumb to remain sober is to have no more than one drink (3oz shot, one beer or one mixed drink with one shot of alcohol in it) per hour. That is the average amount of time it takes for your body to metabolize (get rid of) one drink of alcohol. This rule applies to everything, including breastfeeding. Just plan to not feed your baby for at least the hour following your last drink (provided that you have stuck to the one per hour rule) and you will be fine as it will no longer be in your system when the milk is being produced and so cannot "tag-along" with legitimate milk ingredients from your blood stream.

Also, even if you do nurse within that last hour, baby would only get an minute amount of alcohol anyways, since your body will already be metabolizing most of it, again provided that you have stuck to the no more than one per hour rule. It's truly not any more than baby would get if you were to take a cough syrup that contained some alcohol.

All of that being said, it's generally not a good idea to drink much alcohol while nursing for all of the obvious reasons and because alcohol is dehydrating and can adversely effect your milk supply. Moderation is in order. Any drinking during nursing should be light and infrequent as well as given a generous amount of time to clear your system before nursing again.

I have had a glass of wine here and there or a beer once in a while during the time I've been breastfeeding (total of 5 1/2 years of my life!) and have never noticed any effects on my babies and I was watching for it. Everything was totally fine.

Best of luck to you.


Rachel is right, a drink is 1 or 1.5 oz. Don't know why I put 3oz. Maybe I was going too fast.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

In the beginning its NEVER a good idea to drink while breastfeeding. You're feeding too often to be able to make sure its safe.
Babies can't metabolize alcohol or caffeine, so it stays in their system 4 times as long as it does yours.
That said, if your baby is 5 or 6 months old and is only feeding every 4 hours or so, its ok to have a drink.
Alcohol leaves your breastmilk the same rate it does your blood, so an average woman can have one drink and in an hour and a half she should be ok to breastfeed.
You can also buy strips that test your milk/alcohol content at babies-r-us.
Remember though, play it safe- you don't want to hurt your baby just so you can have a good time. :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Charleston on

A good dark beer can actually be good for milk production. I never pumped and dumped. Moderation seems to be the key for all things mom related and also your comfort level.

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answers from Kansas City on

Women metabolize alcohol slower than men, so women can metabolize only one drink in ONE AND A HALF hours, NOT in one hour. (Men can metabolize one drink per hour.) Also, one drink is ONE OUNCE (not 3, like Dyreka said) of alcohol 40% by volume (incl. rum, vodka, whisky), ONE 12-ounce beer or wine cooler 5% by volume, OR ONE 5-ounce glass of wine 12% by volume (unfortified).

As long as you don't 'feel' it after an hour and a half, it should be fine. I waited until my son was a bit older (18 months or so) before I had a beer, then only had ONE, and only occasionally. ONE beer is sometimes recommended to help increase milk supply. Something in the beer - maybe the wheat?? - helps and I am not sure why.

So, I would wait until s/he is at least 9 months or so and not needing to nurse every few hours, then have one after s/he goes to bed for the night.
If you have more questions, talk to your ped, La Leche League, or kellymom.com. There is a lot of info out there! Get help from those that have researched the topic along with those (here) with experience. HTH - GL!

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answers from Atlanta on

I didn't breastfeed for very long with either of mine, but with the first I did for 4 months (although I supplemented the whole time). I "pumped and dumped" if I had more than two drinks -for that night I would pump twice and dump it. Your body is an amazing filter, and unless you're drinking a good bit and often, your breast milk will be filtered! It certainly didn't hurt my kids, and some moms even swear that having a glass of wine before breastfeeding relaxes the baby, but all the alchohol would be filtered out with just one glass. I think it relaxes MOM a lot, so the baby picks up on that! When I say I pumped and dumped -this was after 4 -6 beers or glasses of wine. Like I said -anything two or less I didn't worry about. I also don't drink every day, so this would be about once a week.

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answers from San Diego on

I will occasionally have a glass of wine at Christmas or a margarita at a huge family dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant and will every once in a bit have a bit of sake with a Japanese meal for a special occasion. I have 3 kids and I have breastfed every one of them. First for 3 years, second one for 5 years and my third is 14 months. I have now been nursing almost constantly for 9 years. I have never seen an adverse effect from my one occasional drink here and there, ever. I would have noticed it if they had, trust me. A pump has never once touched my breasts so they always got it straight from the source so if it was there they got it so it would have been obvious if they had had problems.

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answers from Fort Wayne on

I nursed for a year and a half combined and I drank. Not heavily or often, but I did. I enjoy a glass of wine or two on Saturday night after a hectic week. My children never had any adverse affects from it. I would try to space my drinks out to one an hour. I would always wait until my baby was down for the night since it was longer between nursing sessions. There is absolutely no need to pump and dump. The alcohol will leave your breastmilk when it leaves your blood stream. Pumping and dumping is strictly for the comfort of the mother. If you think that you're going to be drinking heavily,have either back up milk or formula for the baby.

kellymom.com is a wonderful resource for all your breastfeeding questions

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answers from Boston on

if I had a drink I would give a bottle and then pump & dump but thats just me.



answers from Atlanta on

I breastfed my son until he self weaned around his first birthday. I had a few drinks (never more than one per day) during the year I was breastfeeding. The pediatrician told me it was perfectly safe to have an occasional drink. I never pumped and dumped or worried about timing my drink. Once I had a drink and nursed the baby an hour later. It had absolutely no noticeable affect on him. He is now a healthy, thriving 18 month old.



answers from Augusta on

With my daughter my dr advised me to have a glass of wine while I was nursing her b/c she was a High needs colicky baby and it helped me relax which helped her relax while she was eating.


answers from Dallas on

When I knew that I was going to drink more than I "should" I made sure to have pumped breastmilk in the freezer. 2% of the alcohol you consume goes into your bm, but is gone within an hour. So, a drink an hour and you should be fine, but I always tended to er on the side of caution and have a back up. I had NO alcohol until she was about 5-6 months old but I was a little paranoid...



answers from Chicago on

I am currently breastfeeding and I have the occasional beer (or two).

I never drank when I breastfeed my daughter, but my son is a good sleeper, so when I put him to bed, I will occasionally have a beer or two since I have 9 hours before I have to nurse. It doesn't' effect my son at all, and he is super advanced with his motor skills (the thing booze is most likely to effect).



answers from New York on

I drank while breastfeeding, but if I was going out to drink enough to feel intoxicated I would pump and dump. I always had a supply of frozen milk. They also sell milk screening kits to test for the level of alcohol in your milk.



answers from Tulsa on

My daughter was recently breastfeeding. You can have a drink, but you will need to throw away the next feeding. Alcohol will affect your baby.



answers from San Francisco on

If you are drinking alcohol, you should pump and dump your breast milk before feeding your baby. Alcohol does pass through breastmilk and it will affect your baby and make him/her sleepy etc. Do not bf until 3 hours after drinking- If you are going to drink, I wouldn't have more than 1 each day.

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