Breastfeeding Series: Can I Drink Alcohol if I'm Breastfeeding?

Even though the recommendation for Australian women

is no drinking during pregnancy or breastfeeding

we recognize that once women have had the baby

they'd really like to have a glass of wine on a special occasion or a night out

so there is a way to do it as long as they are timing their alcohol intake with regard to their breastfeeding.

If a mum is going out and she'd like to have a drink or

maybe she's got a special occasion coming up so she'd like to have more than one drink

then she should express in advance

so she's got breast milk to feed the baby while she's drinking alcohol

but she'll have to express the milk off that she's not able to give to the baby

otherwise her supply will be affected.

If she's just having one or two drinks

then she should time her alcohol intake so that she's not going

to be giving breastmilk containing alcohol to the baby.

So for every standard drink she has, she needs to wait two hours before she breastfeeds.

So she needs to know when her baby is going to feed.

When babies are smaller they're not as regular with their feeding

so mums need to be a bit more careful about their alcohol intake and their timing

but two hours for every standard drink is the minimum.

If you've got alcohol in your bloodstream then there'll be alcohol in your breastmilk.

No amount of pumping or dumping will clear the alcohol from the breastmilk.

It's really time and metabolism, so when the bloodstream has cleared of alcohol

then the breastmilk will be clear of alcohol.

So if a mum is having a big night, she still needs to express

but that milk has to go down the drain because it contains alcohol.