Drinking Alcohol While Breastfeeding: Do's and Don'ts

Can you drink alcohol while breastfeeding? Is it okay?

Planning on going for a night out or indulging in an alcoholic beverage? Here's what you should know to keep you and your baby safe.

Is It okay to drink while breastfeeding?
e.g. image by Mykel B Davis

Drinking Alcohol While Breastfeeding

Avoiding alcohol is safest for breastfeeding moms, but if you plan on indulging in an adult only (or alcoholic) beverage, drinking in moderation is advised.

The CDC recommends these protocols to ensure baby's safety:

Time To Wait Before Pumping or Latching
1 shot or drink Wait 2-3 hours
2 or 3 drinks Wait 4-5 hours
4 or more Pump and Pour

It's important to note that alcohol detection in breastmilk is measured the same way as alcohol detection in the mother's bloodstream. This means that overtime, the alcohol level in both breastmilk and mother's bloodstream would fall and decrease as time passes.

Due to alcohol levels being the highest in breastmilk 30 to 60 minutes after a woman consumes an alcoholic beverage, it's recommended to wait 2 to 3 hours for every drink consumed.

When consuming alcohol, be sure to label your breastmilk bags with the day and time you pumped your milk. This method will allow you to keep track of expiration dates, when your milk was expressed, and helps monitor when and if this milk is safe to consume or if it should be discarded.

How To Protect Your Milk Supply While Drinking

If you plan on participating in drinking alcohol, whether it's for brunch, a date night, travel, etc. the best way to protect your milk supply is by continuing to pump on schedule. 

The type of pump you have can directly impact your ability to balance important moments in your life and your breastfeeding journey. 

Muscle Up Mommy J35 Wearable Breast Pumps are designed for pumping on the go.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Hands-free pumping experience
  • Free of cords and clunky parts
  • 7 ounces of catch capability
  • Can charge in the car by USB

This pump can effectively remove milk in under 30 minutes and has 12 suction levels and 4 modes to choose from.

It's great to carry with you and pump while on the go or directly before alcohol consumption.

Do You Have To Pump And Dump?

Pumping and dumping, also known as pouring your freshly expressed breastmilk down the drain, isn't always mandatory, but should not be consumed if alcohol can be detected.

Instead of completely discarding your breastmilk after drinking alcohol, you could consider using your breastmilk for:

  • breastmilk baths
  • skincare remedies
  • using to heal sores, dry, or cracking skin
  • making breastmilk soap

Keep in mind that exposure to alcohol above moderate levels through breastmilk could be harmful to an infant's development , sleeping patterns and overall growth/milestones. Over consumption could also impair a mother's ability to use her judgment and/or safely care for her child.

This does not mean you can't have fun or should stop breastfeeding if you want to consume alcohol. However, this is important to note that drinking in excess is not recommended.

Pumping and storing milk while on the go
e.g. image from Mykel B Davis

Proper Storing techniques for breastmilk

When pumping, you'll also have to navigate storing breastmilk while on the go. 

Some items you should consider for storing your milk are:

  • Muscle Up Mommy breastmilk storage bags. 
  • Empty baby bottles or containers
  • Mason Jars

It is important to consider each method and store your milk based on your uses if you have consumed alcohol. 

For example, if traveling and your baby is not with you, storing milk into an empty baby bottle may not be the best option. 

It may be more difficult to label your bottles and transport around, whereas breastmilk storage bags can be:

  • labeled
  • laid flat for transport 
  • later dumped into a bottle (if safe to consume)
  • used for breastmilk bath, skincare needs
  • frozen for later

You may want to learn more about the pitcher method if drinking and storing milk at home.

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