5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Drink While Breastfeeding

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Drink While Breastfeeding

There are some women who don’t see an issue with a glass of wine here or there and there are some women who drink and then pump their breast milk only to dump it down the drain. Is either woman doing making the right choice? Honestly, the only right choice would be to not drink at all while you’re breastfeeding. There are many reasons why a woman should not drink alcohol while they are breastfeeding and here are five of the most important ones.

Decreased Milk Production

Research has shown that if alcohol is consumed while breastfeeding, it can inhibit letdown. This is what happens when the baby is latched and the breast milk is released from the glands to the breast. In order for this to happen, the nerves that connect the nipples to the hypothalamus need to be intact because oxytocin allows the letdown to happen. Since alcohol can have an effect on the hypothalamus, alcohol consumption can stop the cycle of the baby eating and the milk being released to produce more. This can temporarily decrease milk production.


If you find yourself drinking alcohol and having a decrease in milk production, it’s best that you avoid all alcohol consumption until after you are done breastfeeding.  It’s also been shown that babies who ingest the small amounts of alcohol that enter the milk have more trouble sleeping. However, it was a small study and it was only done on two dozen infants in the 1900’s and early 2000’s.

Unsafe Practices

It’s no secret that taking you can make some pretty bad decisions when you’re drunk. Before having kids, it could have been picking fights, driving drunk, or calling an ex from years ago. However, when you are caring for a child, the consequences can be more severe. One of the most serious things that a person can do while intoxicated is driving with a baby in the car. Statistics show that alcohol is found to be in use for one in every five motor vehicle accidents that involve a child. If you’re still breastfeeding your baby and you find yourself too intoxicated to drive a car, you’re probably too intoxicated to allow your child to feed from you.


SIDS stands for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. This means that your baby can die at any time for no apparent reason. It also happens when a baby rolls over on their side and can’t breathe. When a mother drinks alcohol and passes that small amount through to the baby, it makes the baby drowsy. This can increase the overall risk of your baby dying from SIDS. 90% of all SIDS deaths occur within the first six months of age. However, it can happen at any time within the first year.


There are more health issues in babies whose mothers drank while pregnant rather than from breastfeeding. However, there are some risks that have been gathered from research:

  • Brain & Nervous System Issues: When a mother drinks large doses of alcohol while breastfeeding, it can cause Pseudo Cushing Syndrome in babies. This is a pattern of abnormal growth, appearance, and weight gain. It can make the child have a red, round face with supraclavicular fat pads.
  • Delayed Motor Development: Even just one drink per day can cause a child to have a lower motor development than babies who have never been exposed to alcohol. Not only that, but babies exposed to alcohol can have poor memory and concentration.
  • Mental Function: Prenatal exposure to alcohol can lead to severe mental functioning. Less is known about exposure through breastfeeding, but the baby’s brain is still developing through infancy.
  • Hinders Growth: As soon as there are significant amounts of alcohol in the mother’s breast milk, the baby may find it difficult to consume. This will make them breastfeed less and it can hinder their growth.

Slowing Metabolism

Newborns have an immature liver, making it impossible for them to process alcohol. Infants up to three months of age can only metabolism alcohol at half the rate compared to an adult. The more alcohol that is consumed, the longer it will take to metabolize for both baby and mother.

Just Don’t Drink It

It’s much easier just to say no to the alcohol rather than to risk the development and health of your baby. If you think that you may have a drinking problem, consider checking into a luxury alcohol rehab center where you can properly learn to control your consumption.

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