Breastfeeding and Alcohol

There's a good chance that you avoided wine, beer, and other alcoholic beverages throughout your pregnancy. After all, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and other notable organizations advise women not to drink at all during pregnancy. Once the baby is born, however, the rules change. If you're looking to toast the arrival of your baby, here's what you need to know before you clink glasses.

Breastfeeding and Alcohol

    glass of white wine

    Imbibe Occasionally According to the AAP, breastfeeding moms can enjoy a once-in-a-while alcoholic beverage. "Having a glass of wine or beer one to two times a week should be fine," says Liz Pevytoe, a registered nurse, certified lactation consultant, and founder of

    Time it Right "As soon as you don't feel the effects of alcohol any more, it's safe to feed," Pevytoe says. "Because everyone metabolizes alcohol differently, it could be one hour or two after you drink, depending on your body."

    Pay Attention to Your Supply Studies have shown that alcohol consumption may decrease your milk production. If you notice a change, hold off imbibing.

    Don't Be Quick to Pump and Dump "Pumping and dumping is recommended far too often," Pevytoe says. "When I was breastfeeding my daughters, I'd nurse just prior to going out for the evening. We would go out, I'd have my glass of wine with dinner, and by the time my child needed to nurse again, I was able to feed her without pumping and dumping. As a mom, it's important to follow your own instincts. If you feel it would be safer to discard your milk, then by all means do so. But research shows that one alcoholic beverage consumed should pose no ill effects on your nursing baby."

    Plan Ahead Going to a party? If you know you'll be sipping more than the recommended maximum number of drinks, "plan on pumping and dumping until you become sober," Pevytoe advises.

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