Breastfeeding and Alcohol

Now, I’m no alchy, but I enjoy the occasional night out or glass of wine with dinner. Drinking is out during pregnancy so I wondered what the “rules” were for breastfeeding because I do plan on doing that exclusively. (I even WON a $280 Medela pump last week 😉 sorry to brag!)

Anyway, I started by asking on twitter, as usual. Apparently some believe in “pump and dump,” which I had never heard of. The idea behind this is that after drinking alcohol, you pump your breastmilk and dump it down the drain… like it’s supposed to clean you out? and your next pump will be good to go? Doesn’t make much sense to me… and most people on twitter agreed–no need to pump n’ dump.

The general idea:

If you’re okay to drive, you’re okay to pump. Your blood alcohol content = your milk alcohol content. So if you’re at BAC 0.08 (legal limit to drive), your baby will get 0.08% alcohol (less than the amount in a can of non-alcoholic beer). Not that you’d feed your baby non-alcoholic beer, haha, but it’s not going to harm him. One person even said a glass of wine with dinner may help increase milk supply.

Also… if I feed baby and then have a drink with dinner, all should be just fine by the time of the next feeding. Someone sent me a website of some guidelines:

“Current research says the occasional use of alcohol (1-2 drinks) is not harmful to the nursing baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Drugs classifies alcohol as a ‘maternal medication usually compatible with breastfeeding.'”

The website agrees that pumping and dumping doesn’t do anything and that if you’re okay to drive, you’re okay to feed. “Less than 2% of the alcohol consumed by the mother reaches her blood and milk.” Newborns are more affected by alcohol, but by 3 months of age they’re able to detoxify alcohol at half the rate of an adult. It does NOT agree with the idea that alcohol may increase milk supply.

However, let’s not forget about the recent case where a woman was arrested for breastfeeding her 6 week old baby while drunk. Ridic, right?! Although I don’t know the whole story… and I never plan on feeding while DRUNK.

Anyway, all sounds good to me! We even stocked up our wine rack last weekend with 8 bottles 😉 Now I won’t have to cry when walking past the wine aisle at the grocery store, haha. I said I’m no alchy, but I didn’t say I wasn’t a wino. (But no worries, people, baby always comes first! We’d never do anything to put him in harm and I’d never have a glass if it wasn’t okay–I’ve done it for 9 months already.)

Any other tips or guidelines to share??

8 comments to Breastfeeding and Alcohol

  • they also sell these strips that can test your milk after you have had alcohol to determine if it is drinkable for baby….and they work too because i did some experimenting:) basically, if you can drive and don’t feel buzzed, then your milk is okay for baby.


  • Kim

    interesting read! I was wondering about this.
    I plan on exclusively BF’ing too and I very rarely have a drink but sometimes I like to have a mudslide or some sort of dessert drink after a nice dinner. Sounds like I should be ok if I just have one light drink.


  • I do not pump and dump because breast milk is liquid gold and I can’t throw it out! Just drink in moderation and you will be fine. I think that not getting wasted is a good idea when you have a newborn.


  • “and I never plan on feeding while DRUNK.” Right, but you’d also never CARE for a baby while drunk, right?

    You don’t need to pump and dump. As Lauren says breastmilk is liquid gold. The certified lactation and registered nurse who taught the breastfeeding class I took (highly recommend finding one as the classes easily become playgroups later) said that breastmilk is cleansed the way your blood is cleansed, so the amount of alcohol dissipates as time goes by.

    Personally I stayed away from anything other than wine or beer until my son was not waking up in the middle of the night, so it would be hours before a feeding. Even so, I don’t drink more than one or two, and that was only one time. Knowing that you’ll be responsible for a little person should he need you changes your opinion of drinking. … but man, it’s such a wonderful thing to be able to have the glass of wine or beer without worrying. 🙂

    Good luck!


  • Haha, absolutely, I’d never care for my son while drunk or even tipsy!!! I don’t want to give the wrong idea with this post–I’d be surprised if I ever had more than 4 drinks in a month (1 drink a week) and we’re talking a glass of wine with dinner. I just wanted to be educated on the issue if it came up and to know if that glass of wine was ok. Plus, I figured posting about it would help others who want to know. No worries, people!! 🙂

    And thanks for all the tips! One woman on twitter said she would pump n dump, only because she was drunk (not going to feed) and her breasts were going to explode, so she needed to empty them. So makes sense there!


  • I’ve been following your blog for a little while – nice job! I hope he’s gonna show up soon… come on little man!

    On the breastfeeding & alcohol, I really found the Pregtastic podcast episodes on breastfeeding very informative. Haha, I’m only 10 weeks along, but they covered the ‘wine will increase milk supply’ myth (so unfortunately it’s not true) and that indeed, ump & pump is not necessary. It’s also the case that it takes 1.5-2 hrs to get one serving of alcohol completely out of your system, so the best strategy is to breastfeed and then have a drink. By the time he wants/needs to feed again, it should all be gone!


  • Internet Banking

    Just wasting some time on Digg and I found your entry. Not normally what I prefer to learn about, but it was certainly worth my time. Thanks.


  • Breastfeeding and Alcohol « Baby Dickey | Alcohol abuse,addiction and how to

    […] See more here: Breastfeeding and Alcohol « Baby Dickey […]

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