Breastfeeding and Alcohol - Truths and Myths


Breastfeeding and alcohol - is this really that bad idea? That’s probably the question most moms and pregnant women ask themselves at some point, especially when the big occasions are coming.

As I mentioned in my How to make breastfeeding pleasant and easy guide - alcohol is absorbed into the milk. But let’s take a look at a few popular statements on the topic.

You can have a drink between feedings - TRUTH

If we’re talking about occasional drink - it is acceptable. If you have a good and repetitive sleep schedule or you dropped the night feedings, you may plan your glass so that your baby won't be nursing for a few hours afterward.

Pump and dump - MYTH

The same amount of alcohol that makes it into your bloodstream makes it into your breast milk. As alcohol leaves your blood, it leaves your breastmilk. It’s a constant flow. Pumping and dumping, drinking a lot of water, resting, or drinking coffee will not speed up the rate of the elimination of alcohol from your body. You need to wait.

Alcohol will affect baby’s development - TRUTH

There is a number of studies showing that alcohol has a bad influence on an organism in general. Just think that your baby is still growing, and it’s tiny organs don’t work exactly like yours. Compare your weight to your little ones.

Alcohol can stimulate milk production - MYTH

There is no proven connection between alcohol intake and milk production. If you’re struggling with low milk production, you better see your doctor.

So what should you do about breastfeeding and alcohol if you’re willing to have the occasional drink?

- Plan it when you’re baby is sleeping

- Pump before and store the milk (I’ve said how in my book if you need it)

- Use the formula milk instead.

Also remember, breastfeeding and alcohol is not the only problem with having drinks when you’re a mom! You also should not bed-share when even a little bit drunk. It is not safe, since your reflexes may be affected.

Susan Urban