Audible Groans

I taught a breastfeeding class a couple of weeks ago. As usual, I got the same question I get every time I teach a breastfeeding class. “Can you drink alcohol and breastfeed at the same time?” Well, the answer is both YES and NO. My answer in class, “It’s recommended that alcohol should be avoided during the baby’s first 3 months”. An AUDIBLE GROAN was immediately heard throughout the room.

“Wine o’clock”

“Wine O’clock”

Yes, you can drink and breastfeed but… It takes 2-3 hours to metabolize alcohol out of the breastmilk – that’s 2oz. liquor, 8oz wine, or 2 beers. It is considered safe as long as the breastfeeding mother doesn’t feed her baby from the breast for a minimum of two hours. Though experts agree that drinking more than 1-2 drinks per week is considered excessive, many young moms (and not so young moms) use alcohol daily as a remedy to stress, and anxiety. 5 o’clock is now often referred to as “Wine o’clock”, since wine is usually the libation of choice among women.

What About Pump and Dump?

Pumping and dumping doesn’t accelerate the process of getting alcohol out of your breastmilk. Even if you pump and dump, offering the breast before those two hours are up ensures there’s still alcohol in your breastmilk. You can buy test strips to detect if there is alcohol in your breastmilk if you want to be extra sure.

Not Making Enough Breastmilk?

Alcohol actually decreases milk production.  One research study showed up to a 23% decrease in milk production drinking just one drink. (Mennella & Beauchamp 1991, 1993; Mennella 1997, 1999). Even though the alcohol makes you feel more relaxed, it can actually inhibit your milk let-down.

Alcohol is Dehydrating


If you’ve been breastfeeding for just a week or so, you know that making milk makes you very thirsty. Thirst is a good sign that you’re able to transfer milk from mom to baby, and you’re making plenty of milk. Since alcohol has a dehydrating effect on the body, it not only makes you thirsty but it can add to making less breastmilk. Make sure you drink 8oz. water per alcohol drink you consume. Enjoy that glass of wine/beer/liquor with a meal and savor it slowly.

Every Party Has a Pooper

I can hear you groaning from here! You have just learned you’re not actually “free to party” once your baby has arrived. Sorry to poop on your party! You can still indulge. You just have to be strategic about it. You can plan your imbibing around your baby’s feeding times. It’s hard to know if you’ll be able to wait 2-3 hours between feeds until your baby is about 3 months old. But if you can count on baby breastfeeding every 2-3 hours, you can indulge. Or choose a no-alcohol “Mocktail”.

What Do You Do When Everyone Around You is Drinking?

Well, it’s time to get creative, Mommies! There are so many yummy “Mocktail Recipes”.  A “Mocktail is a non-alcoholic yummy drink you can drink while pregnant and breastfeeding. It sometimes helps to have a special glass, straw, or maybe even an umbrella.

“Mocktail” Recipes for the Breastfeeder

If you feel left out, here are some recipes to help you relax and enjoy some social time.

This one may even be good for you. I call it the Topo Chico Ginger Brew

  • Fill a tall glass with ice
  • Pour Topo Chico with Grapefruit almost to half
  • Pour in the same amount of Ginger Brew (non-alcoholic Ginger Beer) Spicy Maine Root
  • Add 1 TBS of Bragg’s unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • Add juice of half a lemon
  • You can either add a tsp. or more of Ginger syrup
  • Or add ½ a pack of stevia to sweeten
  • Stir and enjoy

Vinegar can help lower blood sugar levels, and helps to reduce inflammation in the body. It boosts your immune system too.  Fresh lemon juice is a great source of vitamin C which helps your body better absorb iron from foods. This drink has a bit of spice to it, especially when you add the ginger syrup. Yum!

Coconut, Mint, and Lime Refresher

  • Muddle some fresh mint leaves in the bottom of a tall glass
  • Add ice
  • Pour in Bai antioxidant coco-fusion (coconut/lime)
  • Add a wedge of fresh lime or squeeze extra lime juice into the drink (I like to add 1 TBS of lime juice)

Blackberry Basil Kombucha Cocktail

  • Puree blackberries and basil in a blender
  • Fill 2 glass(es) with ice
  • Add 4-6oz. of Kombucha. There are so many brands on the market these days so choose your own favorite Kombucha – my current favorite is Health-Ade.
  • Add 2oz. of sparkling water, Topo Chico, or bubly, La Croix, or Sparkling ICE Black Raspberry or any flavor you prefer (it has sucralose in it which is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women according to the FDA)

Remember that Kombucha has caffeine in it. So if you’re sensitive to caffeine, it could interrupt your sleep.

Non-alcoholic Grapefruit Moscow Mule

  • Fill tall glass with ice.
  • Add ¼ cup grapefruit juice
  • ¼ cup ginger beer (make sure it’s non-alcoholic)
  • 2-3tsp. fresh lime juice
  • Top off with sparkling ICE ginger lime flavor.
  • Add a wedge of lime to the rim, add a straw. Make it festive.

Now I prefer not-so-sweet drinks but I LOVE coconut! So, here’s one for a special treat or for those who really prefer sweeter drinks. It’s more of a dessert to me and oh so tasty!.  This recipe comes from

  • Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth:
  • 1cup pineapple juice
  • 1cup canned coconut milk {I use full fat}
  • 1/4cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 vanilla extract
  • 8cups cubed ice
  • Add a wedge of pineapple to the rim of the glass

Since not drinking has lately become more popular you can find so many non-alcoholic drinks on the market like wine and beer and even distilled Seedlip and Kombuchas. Go ahead an indulge now and then, but stay healthy for both you and your baby.

If you’d like to read more, here are some recommended books: