Breastfeeding and Alcohol

My mother in law has to ask me at least twice after every baby if I’m sure it’s okay to drink that glass of wine while I’m breastfeeding. The first time she asked, I thoroughly explained to her what the research shows, but each time thereafter I’ve held my tongue, let the judgement roll off my back, and responded with a cheery Yep!

Oh, family.

For the sake of the new mama furiously googling “breastfeeding and alcohol” in the bathroom of her in-law’s house, you don’t have to make it through the next 5 hours without a margarita. Here’s the research you’re looking for:

>From Dr. Jack Newman 

>A helpful blog on the subject

>BAC Calculator

There are tons of other articles that basically come to the same consensus: the amount of alcohol that enters into breast milk is minimal. It’s so minimal, in fact, that the risk of drinking alcoholic beverages while nursing has more to do with the potential for reduced cognitive and motor skills than the breast milk itself. Obviously, excessive drinking is irresponsible for a multitude of reasons – including but not limited to the risk of accidentally dropping the baby, driving with him in the car, or making any number of other questionable parenting decisions while drunk. But the (albeit somewhat limited) studies show that even excessive drinking does not lead to a harmful quantity of alcohol in the breast milk.

This means that mothers who breastfeed and mothers who formula feed are subject to the same advice in regards to imbibing: don’t overdo it.



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