How Long Does Alcohol Stay In Breast Milk?

Every mother who is dedicated to raising their child deserves a day off on occasion where they can let their hair down and have a drink or two with friends. If this is you and you are someone who breastfeeds their child, you need to learn how long does alcohol stay in breast milk. Another important thing to learn are the consequences of feeding your child when alcohol is in your bloodstream and the things you can do to diminish threats to your baby.

Should You Consume Alcohol While Breastfeeding?

Pretty much any well-educated person knows that drinking can be detrimental to your health and the health of your unborn child. When your baby is born and you breastfeed him or her, the risk of having a drink now and again is still unknown. If the mother drinks heavily, however, the side effects of large amounts of alcohol in breast milk can be deadly.

If you drink once in awhile to let off some steam, it may not be dangerous but you should always understand and be aware that it is still risky. Until further research is conducted, the general opinion of the population seems to be that one or two drinks daily is the limit. When you do choose to drink, try to make it a few hours before it is time to breastfeed your child again. This is pretty solid advice but the best thing to do is to stop drinking altogether until you stop breastfeeding your child. You should consider using an alcohol in breast milk calculator to find out the exact numbers before making decisions.

Tips To Reduce Risk Of Alcohol in Your Breast Milk

Timing is key when it comes to drinking while breastfeeding because the effects of alcohol in breast milk can be fatal if you don’t educate yourself.. Make sure to schedule exactly when it is time to breastfeed so you can know when it is the safest possible moment to have a drink without putting your baby at risk. The following are steps you can take to lower the health vulnerability of your child.

  • Cap your alcohol absorption to one to two drinks a day. If possible, you should drink less than that.
  • Do not have a drink if you haven’t eaten yet.
  • Consume alcohol after you have finished breastfeeding your child.
  • After you have had your last drink, wait at least a few hours until the alcohol is out of your system to breastfeed.
  • If you think you’re going to have more than a few drinks, it is best to plan wisely and store your freshly pumped breast milk in the fridge. Make sure it is enough to feed your child for the entire day.
  • Consider using alcohol breast milk strips to reduce alcohol levels in your body.

Consequences of Drinking While Breastfeeding

Once in awhile, a mother who is nursing can have a drink or two on occasion. Consuming bounteous amounts of alcohol can be highly risky for a nursing mother. Health issues may include deferred muscular and motor development, belated learning and gradual gaining of weight.

When a mother drinks doses of alcohol that are larger than what’s considered normal, the alcohol can behave like a depressant on the central nervous system of their baby. The side effects of this attack are feeling less energetic, feeling exhausted, deep sleep, and the inability to breathe normally.

One last risk that a mother takes when over drinking is the inability to keep her own child safe because she might be intoxicated. Be sure not to sleep with your baby when you are drunk and to give them to someone else while you are in this state.


  1. Alcohol Helps women increase breast milk volume

Incorrect: This has been an untrue assumption for ages. Many cultures around the world have suggested that mothers drink alcohol before feeding their child to help soothe their bodies. According to the people in these cultures, they believe that a relaxed boy produces more milk. The truth is that it is quite the opposite because drinking alcoholic beverages such as beer impedes the reflexes that allow a woman to eject milk. The result is that the baby who so badly needs a certain amount of milk daily will not be able to get the valuable nutrients that he or she needs to develop.

  1. A Mother Who Drinks alcohol can cause her baby to die of SIDS

Correct and Incorrect: While it is a valid statement to say that the use of alcohol can multiply the risk of SID, a mother can still be safe if she modest about how much she consumes. Drinking more than is advised can make the child’s central nervous system weaken.

  1. Alcohol relieves restless babies

Incorrect: Mothers are often given incorrigible advice. They are told that dipping your finger in whiskey and allowing your child to suck your finger for a short period of time can help them relax. This is hazardous advice because research has been conducted that shows direct exposure to alcohol can harm the baby’s health in more ways than one.

The ‘Pump and Dump’ Method to Breast Milk – Does it Work?

Draining the milk out of your breast with the hopes that the alcohol will leave your system is the wrong way to think. No matter how much milk you pump out of your body, it will not eliminate the contamination. The only successful to to deal with this situation is to wait it out for a few hours.

The same amount of alcohol that is in your blood will also be inside your milk. As the hours pass and alcohol levels drop, your breast milk will be much safer to drink. The only advantage that the ‘pump and dump method provides you with is relief because your breasts will become swollen if you don’t get rid of the milk inside them. The scientific term for this problem is called engorgement which can be extremely uncomfortable.

Your baby may be hungry when there is still alcohol in your milk. The best thing to do if this happens is to buy them store bought milk for a day until your body cleanses. It is the safest method although it may cost you a little money because you have to head to the supermarket.

The Way Your Body Gets Rid of Alcohol in Breast Milk

The moment alcohol enters your body through your mouth it goes from your stomach and is then absorbed into your bloodstream. Upon reaching your bloodstream, it then spreads out into other areas of your body such as your organs and fluids. This is exactly how it gets into your breast milk. The positive thing is that it only stay there for a short period of time. That exact period depends on the level of alcohol in your system.

Your body uses a very important organ called the liver to get rid of close to 95% of the alcohol in your blood. The remaining 5% gets eliminated via urine, saliva and sweat. Your liver gets rid of alcohol by using enzymes it has to break down alcohol. This process can take a few hours because your liver is able to metabolize only a certain level of alcohol per hour no matter how many drinks you had. Basically, the more you drink, the longer it will take for your breast milk to stop being contaminated.

The point of explaining this to you is to teach you that you need to control the amounts of alcohol you drink do it doesn’t build up in your body. If you go overboard, worst case scenario could be permanent damage to your organs. This would be very unwise if you love your child dearly and understand that they are depending on you to be a good parent.

One last step you need to take is to stop believing in the silly advice that mainstream society gives to get rid of of blood alcohol concentration. For example, getting fresh air, drinking water, taking a cold shower , pump and dumping and taking a nap will not help you in anyway.




The alcohol level of a mother’s breast milk usually matches her blood alcohol level to a tee. The good thing is that the alcohol won’t stay in her breast milk forever. It will enter and exit in a few hours if you stop drinking.


Timing is the key to keeping your baby safe and minimizing your child’s health risk. If you wait long enough for the alcohol to leave your bloodstream she clean out. Most people don’t know that even if a mother is intoxicated, the amount of alcohol that the baby will take in is nothing to compared to how much the mother has consumed. For example, drinking your average alcoholic beverage will contaminate your breast milk with about 0.03% alcohol which is pretty much nothing.


The body of your child is almost the same as yours when it comes to getting rid of alcohol. Depending on how mature it is, his/her body’s willingness to detoxify alcohol will be different.  If your baby is only a week old for instance, it’s body will be able to break down alcohol at 50% efficiency when compared to that of an adult. The younger they are, the weaker their system tends to be but this will change with time.


Now you know everything you need to know about drinking when you are breast feeding. We are still sticking to the advice we gave in the beginning. If you can help it the best thing for you to do is to stop drinking completely while breast feeding and they will be 0% at risk of alcohol contamination.