We frequently receive questions regarding the safety of drinking alcohol while breastfeeding.  While the harmful effects of alcohol use during pregnancy are well known, we have much less information regarding the consequences of alcohol use in breastfeeding women and their infants.   Some healthcare providers urge abstinence, yet others believe that alcohol consumption by the breastfeeding mother poses little risk to the infant.  

A review article on this topic published in Contemporary OB/GYN provides evidence-based information on the consumption of alcohol by breastfeeding women and discusses the impact of alcohol consumed by the mother on the nursing infant.  The article answers the following questions: 

  • Is alcohol passed into the breast milk? How long does it stay there?
  • Does alcohol affect milk production?
  • Are there any risks for the nursing infant?
  • Is there any amount of alcohol which is safe for the nursing infant?

Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD

Nonacs RM.  Alcohol and breastfeeding: What are the risks? Contemp OB/GYN 2020; Dec 2018.  Free article.