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Breastfeeding and Alcohol: Is it OK to drink?


Often, we heard questions from mothers, ‘can I consume alcohol after my delivery?’ Is it really safe to consume alcohol while lactating? No. Not drinking alcohol is the safest option for lactating mothers. However, if a mother would like to consume for several purposes (Chinese would usually use Chinese wine to get the body warm and increase the vitality), it is advised not to consume more than one standard drink per day.

One “standard” drink (or one alcoholic drink equivalent) contains roughly 14 grams of pure alcohol, which is found in: 

12 ounces (350ml) of regular beer, which is usually about 5% alcohol. 

5 ounces of wine (150ml), which is typically about 12% alcohol. 

1.5 ounces (44ml) of distilled spirits, which is about 40% alcohol.


Why is it not advisable to consume alcohol during lactating period?

Alcohol can pass through breast milk, and the levels are usually highest 30-60 minutes after consumption. It can stay in the breast milk for around 2-3 hours if mothers consume one standard drink, and it stays even longer when the mothers consume more. 

Although one standard drink per day is not known to be harmful to the baby, especially if the mothers waits at least 2 hours before breastfeeding, over time, excessive alcohol intake will still impair the baby’s health. It can also reduce the milk production, instead of increasing the quantity!  



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2021). Alcohol. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-special-circumstances/vaccinations-medications-drugs/alcohol.html#:~:text=have%20consumed%20alcohol%3F-,Not%20drinking%20alcohol%20is%20the%20safest%20option%20for%20breastfeeding%20mothers,a%20single%20drink%20before%20nursing

Mayo Clinic (2019). Infant and Toddler Health. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/expert-answers/breast-feeding-and-alcohol/faq-20057985 

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