Alcohol and Breastfeeding

There's a general rule of thumb that alcohol is safe enough during breastfeeding as long as it's not consumed frequently or in large amounts. About 2% of the alcohol you consume will enter your blood stream and breast milk.

Consider the Age of Your Baby
Alcohol will affect a child differently depending on her age.

  • Newborn: a newborn's immature liver makes it very difficult to process even small amounts of alcohol.
  • Three months: a three-month-old baby can metabolize alcohol at about half the rate an adult can.
  • Toddler: an older baby or toddler can more easily metabolize alcohol.

General Tips
Don't drink and feed. Refrain from breastfeeding two to three hours after your last drink; alcohol peaks in your blood stream at about 30-60 minutes, so definitely avoid breastfeeding within that period. Limit yourself to one or two drinks. Having more than two drinks will inhibit your let-down reflex, and make it harder for the baby to get the milk flowing.

The Effects of Alcohol on Baby
Naturally, the more frequently you drink, the more pronounced the effects will be. It's been found that babies sleep less after consumption of breast milk. Daily consumption of one or more drinks is found to harm a baby's motor development. Remember, better safe than sorry.

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