Shopping cart

There are currently no items in your shopping cart.

    Home ›› Breastfeeding and alcohol: your questions answered 

    Home ›› Breastfeeding and alcohol: your questions answered 

    Breastfeeding and alcohol – your questions answered


    Reading time:4 mins.


    Breastfeeding and alcohol is a sensitive topic. Of course, it’s understandable that after abstaining from alcohol during pregnancy, many mothers would like to enjoy a glass of wine, G&T, or beer from time to time after giving birth. But can you drink alcohol while breastfeeding? 

    Dauer: 5 Min.

    Can you drink while breastfeeding?


    Alcohol enters breast milk after about 30-60 minutes via the bloodstream. The amount of alcohol in breast milk depends on which alcoholic beverage it is, how much was consumed and your body weight.

    According to the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, it’s safest to entirely abstain from drinking while breastfeeding, as regularly drinking alcohol and breastfeeding may affect your baby’s development. However, if you do choose to drink every now and then, it’s safest to drink less than 14 units per week and to spread alcoholic drinks evenly throughout the week.1

    When considering drinking alcohol and breastfeeding, it’s worth waiting until breastfeeding is properly established (which could take months). That’s because if you’ve just started breastfeeding, your baby probably has to be breastfed more often, and you’re still working out your breastfeeding schedule.

    Can you drink alcohol when breastfeeding? Drinking and breastfeeding rules


    Unlike during pregnancy, when drinking alcohol is not allowed as this can harm the development of the child, an occasional drink while breastfeeding is unlikely to harm your baby. However, it’s advisable to adhere to the following rules: 

    1. Don’t consume more than 20g of alcohol (one to two small glasses of wine).
    2. Breastfeed your baby before drinking alcohol.
    3. Eat a meal before and while drinking something alcoholic.
    4. Consume non-alcoholic beverages too (ideally water).

    Breastfeeding and alcohol: important safety considerations


    Although we’ve established an answer to ‘can you drink alcohol when breastfeeding?’ in terms of your baby’s development, there are important drinking and breastfeeding rules to do with your baby’s safety to consider. 

    You should never care for your child under the influence of alcohol – provide suitable childcare instead. The NHS states that if you’ve drunk any alcohol you should never share a bed or sofa with your baby, as this has a strong association with sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

    What you need

    Should you pump before drinking while breastfeeding?


    Generally, it’s recommended to breastfeed your child and/or use a pump before drinking any alcohol. Breastfeeding mothers often find a pump useful in many situations. The Philips Avent breast pump range is designed for comfortable upright pumping and has an array of settings.

    You can then leave the milk in the fridge, ready for your baby’s next feed, bridging the time until your milk’s alcohol level drops. The Philips Avent Natural baby bottle has a soft teat that mimics the feel of a breast, so it makes the switch between breast and bottle as smooth as possible for your baby.

    Drinking alcohol: breastfeeding myths


    Some believe expressing will help clear the alcohol from your breast milk quicker, but that isn’t the case. That level will fall as the level of alcohol in your body falls. Expressing milk can, however, help with your comfort level. 

    If you have to skip a feeding session because you have recently been drinking alcohol, and breastfeeding is off the cards but your breasts are starting to get uncomfortably full, you can express milk to relieve the discomfort. You must then pour it away.

    How long to wait to breastfeed after drinking


    To avoid exposing your baby to alcohol in breast milk, the NHS advises avoiding breastfeeding for 2 to 3 hours for every drink you consume. This allows time for the alcohol to leave your breast milk.2 But the answer to how long does alcohol stay in breast milk isn’t entirely straightforward, as it depends on variables such as the type of alcohol and how much you weigh.

    How long does alcohol stay in breast milk?


    Generally speaking, it takes about 2 hours for the body to break down 10g of alcohol. A small glass of wine contains about 9g of alcohol, while a bottle of beer has about 13g of alcohol content. So while this guideline offers a ballpark figure for how long to wait to breastfeed after drinking, there’s more to it.

    Alcohol levels depend not only on the amount consumed, but also on body weight. A woman who weighs 60kg must wait about 2 hours until 10g of alcohol has broken down. At 70kg, 10g can degrade in 1h 45min. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t drink more than two alcoholic beverages and also not with great frequency.


    When it comes down to the question, ‘can you drink while breastfeeding?’, it’s ultimately your decision. However, it’s important to use alcohol responsibly and to arrange for someone else to take care of your child if you do. Just as you should avoid certain foods during breastfeeding, it’s best to abstain from alcohol too.



    1. RCOG: Alcohol and pregnancy
    2. NHS: Breastfeeding and drinking alcohol

    Meet the Baby+ App

    Meet the Baby+ App

    Get the app that supports you in tracking your baby’s development and allows you to save those special moments forever.

    Download now:

    You are about to visit a Philips global content page


    Our site can best be viewed with the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome or Firefox.