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Alcohol And Breastfeeding

Q: Do you know of any research on the impact of alcohol consumption on a breastfed baby? I am wondering if light consumption (1/2 glass of wine 2-3 times per week) is okay. I did drink small amounts infrequently when breastfeeding my first two children but am feeling guilty about it this time.


Dr. Donnica:
The advice on this topic varies widely from old wives tales that say that drinking beer (especially dark beer) can increase your milk supply to La Leche League who say it can dry up your milk supply.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding alcohol because it does enter the milk supply and does affect the baby.  However, they go on to say that drinking in moderation (less than 2 drinks daily) is better, of course, than drinking more than moderately and that IF you are going to have a glass of wine, just do it AFTER you nurse (nurse, put the baby to bed, then drink) rather than before.

In my humble opinion, one half glass of wine 2-3 times per week is nothing to worry about.

I also double-checked this answer on my favorite pediatric site, DrGreene.com. Dr. Greene discusses this in terms of debunking the myth that having a glass of wine might be related to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).  Smoking near an infant, however, DOES increase the risk of SIDS.  To read Dr. Greene's discussion of this, click here.

Best regards,
Donnica Moore, MD

Created: 5/25/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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