Can I drink alcohol if I'm breastfeeding?

Q: Can I drink alcohol if I'm breastfeeding?

A: Go ahead and enjoy that glass of Pinot with your pasta. Most experts (including the American Academy of Pediatrics and La Leche League International) agree that it's probably safe to have one or two drinks a week without your baby being affected. Just be sure to wait two to three hours to let your cocktail clear your system before you nurse. If you're especially concerned, pump and stock some extra milk in the fridge before you imbibe.

While you wait, you may need to express a little milk to keep from becoming engorged, but there's no need to pump and dump the whole batch. Milk doesn't hang around in your breasts waiting for a hungry baby to come calling; it's only produced on demand. This means once the alcohol has left your system, your breast milk will be free of it as well.

Copyright 2009 Meredith Corporation.

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