Q+A: Can I Drink Alcohol If I'm Nursing?

Find out whether or not it's safe to have a drink.

Q. Can I drink alcohol if I'm nursing?

A. You can, which is probably a relief! But take these precautions:

  • Avoid hard liquor. The alcohol in one shot takes up to 13 hours to leave your body, whereas the alcohol in a glass of wine or beer is usually gone in just three hours.
  • Limit yourself to one drink. "If you have more than that, give the baby formula or stored breast milk," says Roy Heyne, MD, a pediatrician at Children's Medical Center, in Dallas. "But make sure that doesn't happen often, because you could disrupt your breastfeeding schedule."
  • Hold off nursing. Too many feedings too soon after you consume alcohol can impair your baby's mental development.

Originally published in the October 2008 issue of American Baby magazine.

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