Q: After what seemed like a long pregnancy, I was looking forward to enjoying a beer or glass of wine with my husband. But now that I am breastfeeding, I’m not sure if there are risks involved?
A: An occasional drink, one a day, has not been shown to have harmful effects on the nursing baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on drugs considers alcohol consumption compatible with breastfeeding, if taken in small amounts.
Remember that alcohol passes into your milk and is at the highest peak level about 30 to 60 minutes after the alcohol consumption, or 60 to 90 minutes when taken with food.
Many mothers breastfeed just before consuming the alcohol so that it is less likely that the baby will be hungry when the alcohol level is at the peak in her milk. Remember that while alcohol does pass freely into your milk, it also passes freely out of your milk. Drinking larger amounts of alcohol is not recommended, however, because it can affect the baby as well as the mother adversely.
By Ann Calandro
BSN, RNC, IBCLC Lactation Consultant