I breastfeed and I’m planning on having a few glasses of wine tonight. How should I go about it?

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Pump your milk before your first glass of wine. This way, you have it on hand in case your baby needs to feed during or right after your alcohol consumption. Avoid breastfeeding within two hours following alcohol consumption.

Alcohol is present in your breast milk within the first few minutes of drinking it, as it is in your blood.  It reaches its maximum concentration 30 to 45 minutes after consumption begins.  However, it seems that its concentration is slightly lowered when alcohol is consumed with food.

It is preferable to wait at least two hours after having finished drinking before breastfeeding.

If the baby is hungry during this period of time, offer the breast milk you pumped prior to your alcohol consumption. Although less preferable, an alternative is to use a commercial infant formula.

Note: There is no use in pumping breast milk during or after alcohol consumption.  Alcohol in breast milk will not decrease as a result of milk being pumped from the breast.  It will only decrease once alcohol consumption stops.

If the breasts become engorged because of delayed breastfeeding, use a breast pump to remove excess milk and be sure to discard it.


Eidelman, A. I., Schanler, R. J., Johnston, M., Landers, S., Noble, L., Szucs, K., & Viehmann, L. (2012). Breastfeeding and the use of human milk. Pediatrics, 129(3), e827-e841.

Giglia, R., & Binns, C. (2006). Alcohol and lactation: A systematic review. Nutrition & Dietetics, 63(2), 103-116. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-0080.2006.00056.

Ketan, G., & Ketan, S. (2005). AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS: Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk. Pediatrics, 115(2), 496-506.

Koren, G. (2002). Drinking alcohol while breastfeeding. Will it harm my baby? Can Fam Physician, 48, 39-41

Mennella, J. A., & Pepino, M. Y. (2010). Breast pumping and lactational state exert differential effects on ethanol pharmacokinetics. Alcohol, 44(2), 141-148.


Baby center, B. Alcohol and nursing mom.


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