Breastfeeding mothers are often curious about what and how much they can consume while nursing their babies. One common question is, “How many drinks can I have while breastfeeding?” It’s important for mothers to understand the potential risks of alcohol consumption during breastfeeding, as well as the recommended guidelines for safe drinking. In this discussion, we will explore the topic of drinking while breastfeeding and provide insights on how much is considered safe.

Understanding the Impact of Alcohol on Breastfeeding

As a new mother, you may be wondering if it is safe to consume alcohol while breastfeeding. While alcohol does pass through breast milk, the amount that reaches your baby is relatively low. However, it is important to understand the impact of alcohol on breastfeeding and take steps to ensure the safety of your baby.

Alcohol Absorption and Metabolism

When you consume alcohol, it quickly enters your bloodstream and eventually makes its way into your breast milk. The amount of alcohol that passes through to your baby depends on various factors, such as the amount of alcohol consumed, the time elapsed since consumption, and the baby’s age and weight.

Once alcohol is in your bloodstream, your body’s metabolism works to break it down and eliminate it from your system. On average, it takes about two hours for a standard drink to be metabolized by your body. However, this can vary depending on individual factors such as weight, gender, and liver function.

Effects of Alcohol on Breastfeeding

Alcohol can have a range of effects on breastfeeding, including:

  • Decreased milk production: Alcohol can reduce the amount of milk that your body produces, which can lead to a decrease in supply over time.

  • Changes in milk composition: Alcohol can also affect the composition of your breast milk, altering its taste and smell.

  • Slowdown in baby’s development: Regular and excessive alcohol consumption can lead to slower infant growth and development.

  • Risk of intoxication: In rare cases, drinking too much alcohol while breastfeeding can lead to a baby becoming intoxicated.

Safe Alcohol Consumption While Breastfeeding

While it is generally recommended that breastfeeding mothers avoid alcohol altogether, moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages is considered safe in most cases. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is safe for breastfeeding mothers to consume up to one standard drink per day.

What Is a Standard Drink?

A standard drink is generally defined as:

  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits

It is important to note that these are guidelines, and individual factors such as weight, age, and liver function can affect how quickly your body metabolizes alcohol. Additionally, if you choose to drink alcohol while breastfeeding, it is recommended that you wait at least two hours per drink before nursing your baby.

Tips for Safe Alcohol Consumption

To ensure the safety of your baby, consider the following tips when consuming alcohol while breastfeeding:

  • Plan ahead: If you plan on drinking, consider pumping and storing breast milk beforehand to ensure that your baby’s needs are met while you are consuming alcohol.

  • Time your drinks: As mentioned, it is recommended that you wait at least two hours per drink before nursing your baby. Plan your drinks accordingly to ensure that you have enough time between drinks and nursing sessions.

  • Monitor your baby: Pay attention to your baby’s behavior and feeding patterns. If you notice any changes, consider reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption.

  • Choose low-alcohol beverages: Consider choosing low-alcohol beverages such as beer with a lower ABV or wine with a lower alcohol content.

FAQs: How many drinks can I have while breastfeeding?

Can I drink alcohol while breastfeeding?

Yes, you can drink alcohol in moderation while breastfeeding. It is recommended that you limit your alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day. It is also important to note that alcohol can pass through your breast milk to your baby, so it is best to plan accordingly and avoid breastfeeding immediately after drinking.

How long do I have to wait after drinking before I can breastfeed my baby?

If you do choose to drink alcohol while breastfeeding, it is recommended that you wait at least two hours after having a standard drink (one beer, one glass of wine, or one shot of hard liquor) before breastfeeding. This is because it takes your body about two hours to metabolize one drink, and the alcohol can still be present in your milk during that time.

How does alcohol affect breastfeeding?

Alcohol can temporarily decrease your milk production and can alter the taste and smell of your breast milk. It can also affect your letdown reflex and your baby’s sleep patterns. In addition, excessive alcohol consumption can be harmful to your baby’s developing brain. For these reasons, it is recommended to limit your alcohol intake while breastfeeding.

What should I do if I want to have more than one drink?

If you plan on having more than one drink, it is recommended that you pump and store enough breast milk for your baby for the duration of the time that you plan to drink. This will allow you to enjoy your night out while ensuring that your baby has enough milk to drink in your absence. Alternatively, you can consider formula feeding for that particular feeding.

Is it safe to breastfeed my baby after having more than one drink?

Breastfeeding after having more than one drink can be risky as there may be residual alcohol present in your milk. To ensure that your baby is safe, it is recommended that you wait until the alcohol has completely metabolized out of your system before breastfeeding again. This typically takes about two hours for each drink.


By Samantha

Samantha is a dedicated mother, passionate writer, and the inspiring force behind As a young mom herself, she understands firsthand the joys, challenges, and uncertainties that come with parenthood. Fueled by her own experiences and a deep desire to help others, she founded as a safe haven for young mothers to connect, learn, and grow together. While embarking on her own motherhood journey, Samantha discovered the transformative power of shared experiences and the importance of a supportive community. With a background in journalism and a heart full of empathy, she set out to create a platform that would empower young moms and provide them with the resources, encouragement, and camaraderie they needed to thrive. Samantha is committed to delivering content that is both practical and inspiring. She works closely with a team of fellow mommies, as well as healthcare, education, and psychology professionals to ensure the blog offers a wide range of insightful articles and valuable resources. From navigating the ups and downs of pregnancy to tackling the complexities of raising a child, Samantha is dedicated to providing her readers with the knowledge and support they need to make informed decisions and create a loving, nurturing environment for their families. When she's not managing or writing her next heartfelt post, Samantha enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, exploring the great outdoors, and indulging in her love for photography. She is a firm believer in the power of self-care and makes a conscious effort to practice mindfulness and embrace life's simple pleasures. Samantha's unwavering dedication to her fellow young mothers is evident in every aspect of Her warm, empathetic nature and relentless pursuit of knowledge make her the perfect guide for young moms navigating the beautiful, messy, and rewarding adventure that is motherhood. Join Samantha and her vibrant community of young moms at, and become part of a movement that celebrates, uplifts, and empowers women in their most important role—motherhood.