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Disclaimer: The information in this post is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider.

Can you drink alcohol while breastfeeding?

Can You Drink Alcohol While BreastfeedingCan you drink alcohol while breastfeeding? Let’s take a look.

From the time we start preparing for pregnancy, we are bombarded with rules.


Strong suggestions.

The dreaded Mommy Guilt.

When I first found out I was pregnant with my oldest, I started reading everything I could get my hands on. I wanted to do everything right. I wanted the best for my little guy. I wanted to be the best house for him that I could. I avoided lunch meat and hot dogs (despite crazy cravings). I added in more healthy food. I worked to increase exercise and lower my stress. (Though this was the hardest as in the first 4 months: I lost my job, waited for Hubby to graduate and get a job, and moved across the country after a storm caused our house that was on the market to be unlivable. But I digress…)

Obviously, no alcohol crossed my lips.

Once baby was born, my mindset didn’t change much. I had this perfect little preemie guy in my arms and was trying my hardest to nurse him (you can read some of our struggles on my author page). I continued to follow all the rules.



Feeling overwhelmed.

Feeling excluded.

I felt pushed away from friends and family because of breastfeeding. I was leaving gatherings to nurse discretely and not offend anyone. I avoided large parties with friends. I declined every adult beverage offered. The looks I received while holding my husband’s drink made me feel like a horrible mother for even considering taking a sip.

Honestly, I was beginning to resent my little guy. The pressure to be perfect by the book standards was overwhelming.

Even though I had never been much of a drinker, I finally asked the big question:

Can you drink alcohol while breastfeeding image


Can you drink alcohol while breastfeeding?

According to other moms in online mommy forums, the general consensus was no.

Absolutely not.

Unless you pump and dump for hours on end afterwards.

How dare you put your child at risk?

Good mommies abstain or use the expensive alcohol test strips before feeding their child.

Were they right?

Absolutely not.

In my next post I’ll delve into all the details—math and percentages and science and such—about why it is perfectly fine to drink alcohol and breastfeed.

For now, I want to reassure you…

  • You do not need to pump and dump.
  • You do not need to use those expensive alcohol test strips.
  • You do not need to abstain.
  • You can have alcohol while breastfeeding.
  • The percentage of alcohol that makes its way into your milk is minuscule—often less than what naturally occurs in juice.


A Myth About Alcohol and Breastfeeding

A good rule of thumb tossed about how much is safe is “Sober enough to drive, sober enough to breastfeed!”

While this sentiment is nice, it is not entirely accurate. Yes, if you have a drink or two and would be sober enough to legally drive, you do not need to be worried about the amount of alcohol in your milk. However, even if you have much more, you still do not need to be concerned about the amount of alcohol in your milk.

To be clear: the amount of alcohol in your milk is not the issue. The biggest issue is if you are sober enough to safely care for your baby. If you are not, be sure to have a sober care provider available for baby’s safety. Please do not co-sleep when impaired by alcohol for any reason.

Take a deep breath. Relax. Have a drink or two. Who knows—it may even help boost low milk supply!

Be sure to come back next time to learn about why it is safe to drink alcohol and breastfeed.

Audra Michelle has been pregnant and/or breastfeeding for more than 6 years straight. Her first nursed for 15 months, her second for 14 months, and her third weaned at 27 months! Her first baby girl is thriving on breastmilk and will wean when she chooses.  Audra Michelle is a wife, mother, daughter, girlfriend, Jesus lover, and musician. You can find Audra Michelle blogging at UP and at Naturally Well.


  1. I have a glass of wine here and there and have never noticed any impact of either of my kiddos in the four years I’ve been breastfeeding! Great info! Thanks for sharing with the Tuesday Baby Link Up Community!

  2. Interesting how there’s a link ONLY to the alcohol one on the list, u can have alcohol, but none of the others. LOL, ppl will always be selfish…u have a baby now, what is wrong with no alcohol until you stop bfing?? WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO YOU???

    • None of what others? The studies done on how much of what a mother eats makes it into her milk include everything from caffeine to tomatoes. Usually a mother has to eliminate something from her diet like caffeine or alcohol not because it’s making their child drunk or keeping them up, but because it’s giving the kid gas. A lot of the do’s and don’ts of breastfeeding are pretty unnecessary except in very specific cases. Making up a bunch of mostly arbitrary rules makes breastfeeding harder than necessary- leading to more women not trying or giving up early. Breastfeeding is much less costly than formula, and formula increases the likelihood of many chronic illnesses later in life. Why is it selfish for a mother to want to know if a little alcohol will actually hurt their baby? Why is it selfish to want a single beer after having spent nine months as the home for the child and probably spending a year or more giving their child food that only they can give? Mother hood is hard work- denying a mother a small luxury that isn’t going to have the slightest effect on her child is needlessly cruel.

    • For some people, avoiding all alcohol during breastfeeding is right for them. For others, it isn’t. The research shows that some alcohol while breastfeeding is fine. Let’s let each mom decide what is best for her and not shame or call names. Relaxing with a drink is not selfish. If you choose otherwise, that’s fine. Let’s all play nicely in the sandbox here.

      • Shaming?? no one should be ashamed if they’re confident in whatever decision they make to or not to drink regardless of others opinion on the matter. If you’re ashmed, then maybe you shouldn’t drink it then…and yes it’s my opinion…an article was written, I give my opinion, u can delete it if u don’t like this particular opinion because it’s not in line with what you believe.


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