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Breast Feeding

Alcohol and breastmilk

03/27/2007

Question:

How long do you have to wait to breastfeed your baby after drinking alochol, or should you not drink at all?

Answer:

Not drinking alcohol at all while breast feeding is best.

An occasional single celebratory glass of wine with a meal is ok. Just wait 2 to 3 hours before breastfeeding again. There is usually no need to pump and dump.

With chronic, moderate to heavy alcohol intake it is best not to breastfeed.

The reasons for avoiding alcohol while breastfeeding are that it not only crosses into the milk , but may make the baby irritable and unable to sleep well. When taken in large amounts, the baby may exhibit weakness, a poor suck and decreased linear growth. For the mom there may be deceased milk production and a decreased milk letdown reflex.

For more information:

Go to the Breast Feeding health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Jeanne L Ballard, MD, FAAP, FABM Jeanne L Ballard, MD, FAAP, FABM
Professor Emeritus, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati