Alcohol and Breast Milk | Fit Pregnancy

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Alcohol and Breast Milk

I'm nursing my 6-week-old. Can I have a glass of wine at night?

A: 

Yes—as long as it's in moderation. Since anything you eat or drink can be transferred to your baby through your breast milk, you do need to watch what you put in your body.

When it comes to alcohol consumption, when you drink is as important as how much. "The best time to have a drink is right after you've nursed your baby," says Cathy Carothers, an international board-certified lactation consultant in Greenville, Miss. This gives your body time to metabolize the alcohol and move it out of your bloodstream before the next feeding. It's safe to breastfeed again when you no longer feel the alcohol's effects, she says; the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting at least two hours.

Depending on your weight, whether or not you've eaten (drinking with a meal slows alcohol absorption), and how often the baby nurses, having even two drinks between feedings may be OK. However, if you feel the tiniest bit tipsy and your baby is ready to nurse, give her stored breast milk or formula instead. (You don't need to "pump and dump" your milk, as experts used to recommend; doing so does not speed elimination of the alcohol from your body.)
 

Expert name: 

Pediatrician Michel Cohen, M.D., answers questions about your baby.

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