Infant Health: Breastfeeding and Alcohol

According to the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol intake is not the safest option for breastfeeding mothers. Similarly, Mayo Clinic also advises against alcohol consumption, the health body said there’s no level of alcohol in breast milk that’s considered safe for a baby to drink.

Alcohol passes from the bloodstream into breast milk and this can affect an infant’s sleeping patterns.

Meanwhile, some healthcare providers advise total refrain, while others say moderation should be the watchword for breastfeeding mothers who take alcohol.

Also, many advised that lactating mothers are to drink enough fluid according to her thirst or if she notices that her output is low or concentrated.

CDC recommends one drink of alcohol  beverages at most per day and at least two hours before nursing. The health body warns that exposure to alcohol above moderate levels may also impair a mother’s judgement and ability to safely care for her child.

Related Post: 10 Myths About Breastfeeding


The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends that alcohol intake by a breastfeeding mom who chooses to drink should only be occasional. It also recommends drinking no more than a moderate amount of alcohol at one time, which for a 130-lb. woman is equivalent to 2 ounces of liquor, 8 ounces of wine, or two beers. They also recommend that you wait 2 hours or more after drinking alcohol before you breastfeed your baby.

However, abuse of alcohol can interfere with the milk reflex. It’s could also shorten breastfeeding duration to decreased milk production. And could affect the infant’s sleep pattern and early development.

The Motherisk program in Toronto, Canada has issued more conservative guidelines stating that “At this time, there are no known benefits of exposing nursing infants to alcohol. Although occasional drinking while nursing has not been ruled out.

Occasional drinking, however, does not warrant discontinuing breastfeeding, as the benefits of breastfeeding are extensive and recognised. Until a safe level of alcohol in breast milk is established, no alcohol in breast milk is safest for nursing babies. It is, therefore, prudent for mothers to delay breastfeeding their babies until the alcohol is completely cleared from their breast milk.”