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can i breastfeed if i plan to drink alcohol? via lactation link

Can I breastfeed if I drink alcohol?

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips, Can I breastfeed if?

A common question we get in our community of moms begins with “Can I breastfeed if….” And it’s no wonder! We are told to avoid everything from roller coasters to alcohol to X-rays while pregnant, and  the conflicting recommendations can carry over after birth when our body is still nourishing our little ones. So today we are launching a new series, “Can I breastfeed if…” and we will discuss some commonly asked questions about the safety of various activities and substances while pregnant.  If you have a question share it on instagram with the hashtag #canibreastfeedif and we will repost and answer our favorites!

A common question we get in our community of moms begins with “Can I breastfeed if….” And it’s no wonder! We are told to avoid everything…

Can I breastfeed if I plan to drink alcohol?

The short answer is yes when done with a few guidelines in mind.  The American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding recommends that mothers limit their alcohol intake while breastfeeding, and ingest no more than 2 oz. liquor, 8 oz. wine, or 2 beers, as well as abstain from breastfeeding for about 2 hours after drinking to further minimize any alcohol in breastmilk. (1)

can i breastfeed if i plan to drink alcohol? via lactation link

Pumping and dumping shouldn’t be necessary when following the above guidelines as it does not reduce the alcohol in milk any faster. Just be sure to feed baby right before leaving home and consuming your alcohol fairly soon after arriving.  This gives the alcohol time to work its way out before becoming reunited with baby.  Since milk is made from your blood, once your own blood alcohol level has gone down, so has your milk’s alcohol level.

can i drink alcohol if i plan to drink alcohol? via lactation link

So feel safe to enjoy that holiday eggnog and return to breastfeeding a few hours later. Do you have any questions for us in this series? Let us know in the comments and on social. Lots more info about how substances and food interact with breastmilk in my video classes.

Get more breastfeeding wisdom with my Top 10 Breastfeeding Tips. Click below to get started.


Thanks for stopping by,


Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC


  1. Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk. (2012, March). Pediatrics, 129(3), 842-856. Retrieved from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/3/e827

What supplement can I take to increase milk supply?

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips, Classes, Home/Hospital Visits

Increase supply with hand expression.

Many times on my Instagram forum and on other online mother forums, I see moms who ask how to increase supply and many other moms suggest breastfeeding supplements. This is what I want to address today. I’ve had a post about milk supply before and you might have noticed that I did not mention any breastfeeding supplements.

What are these breastfeeding supplements?

Let’s talk a little bit about these breastfeeding supplements. In the research literature, they are known as galactagogues or a substance that increases milk supply. Some breastfeeding supplements that I have seen suggested are fenugreek, fennel, blessed thistle, Gatorade, brewers yeast, beer and water (in copious amounts). For most breastfeeding or pumping moms, galactagogues are not necessary to keep up a normal or necessary milk supply. I try to base my classes and advice on evidence-based information and there is simply not enough research on galactagogues (breastfeeding supplements) for me to give a solid recommendation.

What I do suggest to moms who need to increase their milk supply is to encourage...What does help increase milk supply?

What I do suggest to moms who need to increase their milk supply is to encourage baby to feed frequently and increase frequency of breast stimulation. If the mom is pumping, I also suggest using hands-on pumping and hand expression to help increase supply. Remember that milk is made by asking for milk. And we ask for milk by breastfeeding or expressing through pumping or hand expression.

Final notes

In most cases galactogogues will not hurt you, but make sure to consult with your healthcare provider when introducing any herbs or supplements in conjunction with any medications you are already on.

I know that there are many women who have had success with galactagogues and I think that’s great! But without frequent breast stimulation, milk supply will not increase in most cases. If you feel like your supply needs a boost and frequent breast stimulation has not helped, you would probably benefit from a one-on-one consult with an IBCLC. I love helping moms with in-person consults and eConsults. In my video classes I discuss various ways to encourage a healthy supply like hand expression and hands-on pumping, in-depth. What helped encourage a healthy milk supply for you? Share in the comments.

I’ve created a free e-mail course to help you get breastfeeding started on the right foot! Click the image below for more info.


Thanks for stopping by,

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Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC