All Blogs | Unveiling the Truth: Alcohol and Breastfeeding - What Every Mom Should Know

All Blogs | Unveiling the Truth: Alcohol and Breastfeeding - What Every Mom Should Know

Unveiling the Truth: Alcohol and Breastfeeding - What Every Mom Should Know

Motherhood is a beautiful journey filled with countless moments of joy and love. It's also a time of immense responsibility, particularly when it comes to ensuring your baby's health and well-being. One of the most common questions new mothers have is regarding alcohol consumption while breastfeeding. Can you enjoy a glass of wine or beer while nursing your little one?

The answer, like many things in parenthood, isn't a simple yes or no. This blog post by UpSpring aims to unveil the truth about alcohol in breast milk, empowering you to make informed decisions for yourself and your baby.

Decode the Mystery: When to Pump and When to Pause?

Let's address the most pressing concern: can you drink alcohol if you're breastfeeding? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that it's best to cut off alcohol completely while breastfeeding. However, they also acknowledge that some mothers may choose to have an occasional drink. 

If you decide to consume alcohol while nursing, it's crucial to understand how it affects your breast milk and how to minimize the risks to your baby. Here's what you need to know:

  • Alcohol enters your breast milk:  After consuming alcohol, it passes into your bloodstream and subsequently into your breast milk. The alcohol concentration in your breast milk is usually similar to that in your blood at any given time.
  • The effects on your baby: Alcohol can cause drowsiness, sleepiness, and impaired coordination in your baby. It can also interfere with their feeding patterns and weight gain. In severe cases, excessive drinking can lead to fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).

So, when can you safely breastfeed after drinking alcohol?

There's no one-size-fits-all answer. The amount of time it takes for alcohol to clear your breast milk depends on several factors, including:

  • The amount of alcohol you consume: The more alcohol you drink, the longer it will take for your body to process and eliminate it. A single standard drink (remember, a standard drink is 12 oz beer, 5 oz wine, or 1.5 oz liquor) will take a different amount of time to clear your system compared to several drinks.
  • Your weight:  People with a higher body mass index (BMI) tend to store more alcohol, which can take longer to clear from their breast milk.
  • Your feeding schedule:  Alcohol is eliminated from your breast milk over time. Waiting longer between drinks and feedings allows more time for your body to process the alcohol.
  • Your breastfeeding experience:  If you've been breastfeeding for a longer period, your body may become more efficient at processing alcohol, potentially reducing the time it takes for it to leave your breast milk.

A General Guideline: While there's no standard answer, as a general safety measure, it's recommended to wait at least 2-3 hours after consuming a standard drink before breastfeeding again. This allows your body sufficient time to metabolize the alcohol and reduce its concentration in your breast milk. However, it's important to remember that this is just a guideline, and the actual time may vary depending on the individual factors mentioned above.

Benefits of Testing Your Breast Milk for Alcohol

While waiting for the alcohol to clear your system is an important option, an additional option is to test your breast milk for alcohol content. UpSpring offers Milkscreen® Alcohol Test Strips for Breast Milk, which provide a quick and convenient way to determine if your breast milk is safe for consumption after drinking alcohol.

At UpSpring, we understand that no two women metabolize alcohol at the same rate. Factors such as body weight, the type and amount of alcohol consumed, and when you last ate can all affect how your body processes alcohol. With UpSpring MilkScreen test strips, you can have peace of mind knowing that your breast milk is at or below 13.1mg/dl of alcohol and safe for your baby. Our test strips are easy to use, giving you results in just minutes so you can worry less and enjoy more. 

How To Use

Using UpSpring MilkScreen test strips is quick and easy. Simply saturate the test pad with breast milk, wait two minutes, and check for a color change according to the test instructions. Within minutes, you'll have peace of mind knowing that your breast milk is  ready for your baby.

Here's how Milkscreen® can help:

  • Peace of mind: Knowing your breast milk is ready allows you to make informed decisions about nursing your baby. Furthermore, you can feel reassured knowing that your breast milk is ready for your baby. 
  • Discreet and convenient: Milkscreen® strips are easy to use at home, providing results in minutes.
  • Accurate and reliable:  These strips offer a dependable way to test the presence of  alcohol in breast milk.

Some other perks of using UpSpring's Milkscreen® Alcohol Test Strips for Breast Milk include,

Trusted by Moms for Over 10 Years

UpSpring MilkScreen test strips have been trusted by moms for over ten years. Our reputation for quality and reliability has made us a favorite among breastfeeding mothers, and we have a feeling you'll love it, too!

Popular Baby Shower Gift

Our test strips make a thoughtful and practical baby shower gift, helping new moms navigate the joys and challenges of breastfeeding with confidence.

Helps Moms Celebrate Responsibly

At UpSpring, we're here to support your breastfeeding journey, no matter the occasion. Whether you're celebrating a special milestone or enjoying a night out with friends, our MilkScreen test strips help ensure that you can celebrate responsibly while continuing to provide your baby with the best nutrition possible.

Unveiling the Differences: Drinking While Breastfeeding vs. Pregnancy

It's important to understand the distinction between drinking while breastfeeding and drinking during pregnancy. During pregnancy, alcohol consumption can directly affect your developing baby. The placenta, which filters substances between you and your baby, cannot completely block alcohol. Alcohol exposure during pregnancy can lead to a range of congenital disabilities and developmental problems.

On the other hand, breastfeeding provides a more indirect route for alcohol to reach your baby. The amount of alcohol that transfers into your breast milk is typically lower than the amount in your bloodstream.  So while alcohol should not be consumed during pregnancy, an occasional celebratory single drink is not prohibited during lactation. 

Tips for Minimizing Alcohol Transfer to Breast Milk

If you do choose to have an occasional drink while breastfeeding, here are some tips to minimize the amount of alcohol that reaches your baby:

  • Feed your baby before you drink: A full stomach can help slow down the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream, giving your body more time to process it before it reaches your breast milk.
  • Limit your intake: Stick to one standard drink and avoid heavy drinking during the nursing period and anytime during lactation 
  • Space out your drinks if you choose to have more than One: Allow at least 2-3 hours between drinks to ensure your body has sufficient time to eliminate the alcohol from your system. Again, recommended to stick with one standard drink.
  • Consider expressing milk before drinking:  Pumping and storing milk beforehand allows you to offer your baby a pre-made, alcohol-free feed while you wait for the alcohol to clear your system. 
  • Choose food wisely: Eating a meal or healthy snacks while you drink can help  slow  alcohol absorption. Opt for protein and fat-rich foods, as they take longer to digest.
  • Test your breast milk: Utilize UpSpring's Breast Milk Alcohol Test Strips for peace of mind. These strips offer a quick and reliable way to confirm if your breast milk is ready before feeding your baby.
  • Focus on hydration: Drink plenty of water throughout the evening to help your body stay hydrated and ready for nursing. .

Final Takeaway

Balancing motherhood and social life can be challenging. While it's generally recommended to avoid alcohol entirely while breastfeeding, there may be occasions when you choose to have a drink. By following the tips mentioned above and utilizing resources like UpSpring's Milkscreen® test strips, you can minimize the amount of alcohol transferred to your baby and make informed decisions about feeding. Remember, your baby's health and well-being are paramount. 

Our Milkscreen® Alcohol Test Strips for Breast Milk offers a quick and convenient way to ensure that your breast milk is free from alcohol before feeding your baby. Trusted by moms for over a decade, these efficient test strips provide accurate results in just minutes, giving you the peace of mind you need to breastfeed confidently.

UpSpring is here to support you on your breastfeeding journey with a range of products and resources to help you navigate this special time. Explore our website to discover breastfeeding essentials, expert advice, and helpful tools to empower you to provide the best possible nourishment for your little one.

For professional assistance, feel free to email our team at or call our dedicated customer service team at 1-877-449-4647.