Is It Safe? Caffeine & Alcohol While Breastfeeding

February 26, 2013

By the time your baby comes, you’ve likely spent about 9 months without enjoying your morning cup of coffee or a glass of wine at night. So, you’ll be happy to know that there is a way to enjoy caffeine and alcohol during your breastfeeding journey.

Caffeine While Breastfeeding
After a late night or an early morning, we don’t blame a mom for craving a little pick-me-up. Being a mom is understandably tiring, but we have good news. In moderation, a small amount of caffeine will not harm your breastfed baby.

When caffeine enters your bloodstream, a small amount can be passed along to your baby through breast milk. Most babies aren’t affected by this, but some sensitive little ones may be extra fussy or wakeful after drinking milk with trace amounts of caffeine. Keep in mind that the concentration of caffeine in your breast milk will peak about two hours after breastfeeding. We recommend limiting your daily caffeine intake to less than 300 milligrams. For comparison, 500 milligrams is about 3 (8 oz) cups of coffee. Also, be sure to check the caffeine levels in other drinks you consume regularly, and remember that some foods contain caffeine as well.

Alcohol While Breastfeeding
Whether it’s a quiet night after the baby is in bed, or a much-needed night out with friends, any mom has the right to unwind with a drink (responsibly), and the right to make an informed decision about breastfeeding with alcohol in your system.

Most professional sources advise limiting the amount of alcohol consumed to 8 ounces of wine or 2 beers, and waiting 2 hours before breastfeeding. It’s also recommended to limit alcohol intake to 1-2 drinks per week. In other words, occasional drinking and moderation are key. Be sure to keep in mind your fatigue and coordination levels, as dangerous mistakes can be made when handling a baby while impaired.

You may have also heard that a glass or beer or wine in the evening helps with letdown or supply. However, current research has shown that alcohol may inhibit oxytocin release, so we don’t recommend using it to try to increase breast milk supply.

“Moming” is hard work, and you should feel free to have a cup of coffee or a cold beer every once in a while. As long as you’re making safe, well-informed decisions, be empowered to do what’s best for you and your family!

20 thoughts on “Is It Safe? Caffeine & Alcohol While Breastfeeding

    • Hi Tiffany – We recommend that you always test your breast milk for alcohol after drinking if you plan on nursing. The safest way to have a drink while breastfeeding is to feed your baby with previously expressed breast milk for their next feeding. You can find more detailed information about nursing after consuming alcohol in the above blog post:

  1. I avoid caffeine at all costs for my little one but sometimes I wonder if my Dunkin Donuts barista is really giving me decaff when I order sometimes because they don’t always mark it on the cup. How long does the caffeine stay in the body? I’m not sure if my little one is affected or not because I always order decaff (if it is decaff). Do you know if there are any caffeine test strips?

    • Hi Brittany – We recommend limiting your daily caffeine intake to less than 300 milligrams. For comparison, 300 milligrams is about 2 (8 oz) cups of coffee. While there aren’t test strips for caffeine, if you feel you’ve consumed too much caffeine, you can “pump and dump” your next pumping session to empty your breasts. This will ensure your little one isn’t affected by too much caffeine.

  2. I drank a 1/2 oz Baileys would that affect my 2 week old baby right after feeding or should I feed her from my expressed supply.

  3. Pingback: How Long Do Alcohol And Caffeine Stay In Your Breastmilk?

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