Alcohol and Breastfeeding

It’s always refreshing to have a small glass of wine after the day’s hard work, isn’t it? However, if you’re a breastfeeding mum, you may find yourself in a dilemma about whether to take that glass up or not. Though, It is always advisable not to consume alcohol during the entire nursing period, the least you must do is avoid it for at least the first three months. 

During your breastfeeding period, as you step from one stage to another, the level of precaution changes and your breastfeeding journey becomes more comfortable. Let us get a clear understanding by discussing it in detail, so that you can savour your favourite wine or beer without jeopardising your or the little munchkin’s health.  

It is in the best interest of both you and your baby that you avoid drinking alcohol until your child turns one month old. The first month after your baby is born is absolutely significant, as during this period of time, usually breastfeeding is established, when both you and your baby get habituated to breastfeeding. Furthermore, if careless, you may pass on alcohol to your baby through your milk, which may cause health issues for both of you in the long run. But, if you still can’t refrain yourself from the craving, you need to take a few steps to avoid passing alcohol to your little one through breast milk. 


Step 1) Remember to feed your baby before you take the glass up and gulp down the liquid.

Step 2) It is suggested that you express breast milk beforehand, if there are more than one standard drink on the cards. (One Standard Drink = A Half Pint of Beer or Single Measure of any Spirit or Small Glass of Wine)

Step 3) If you’ve consumed one standard drink, wait for two hours for your body to get rid of the alcohol.


Albeit, by taking the above steps, you can enjoy your favourite drink without much bother. Nevertheless, it is beneficial if you can just park this habit of yours for a month. You can drain out the alcohol from your system if you wait for two hours after one standard drink, but you never know when your baby needs a feeding, as during the first month the newborn needs frequent feeding.

After breastfeeding is established, i.e. after approximately one month of birth, you can resume drinking, although keeping in mind a certain measures that you need to follow. It doesn’t establish the fact that since your baby is one month or older, you can indulge yourself into heavy drinking sessions. Restrain yourself to no more than 11 standard drinks in a week’s time. Also, ensure to maintain at least 2 alcohol-free days a week. It is highly advisable that you spread your drinks over the week. Never ever drink up all your weekly allowance of drinks in a day or two, as this may lead to several unfortunate situations and most importantly, it would enhance your urge to drink more every day. So, always stick to the limit, preferably maximum 2 – 3 standard drinks a day, and experience a joyous breastfeeding journey without bidding goodbye to your favourite beverage. If you need more information on alcohol and breastfeeding, it is suggested that you approach a lactation consultant and have your doubts cleared. Companies like Medela provide expert lactation consultation and you can find them at just a click. 

Go ahead, make your breastfeeding journey an enjoyable one with that little drink you always cherish. Cheers!