Alcohol_Pic_EditedAfter nine months without drinking, you’re ready to kick back and celebrate the arrival of your little bundle of joy. Well, guess what? You can. Time to break out the bubbly!

At Ybreast, mothers are constantly asking us about drinking. Will a glass of wine hurt the baby? Can I drink sometimes? But when and how much? Well, here’s the deal. It’s true that alcohol enters your breastmilk: blood circles in and out of your milk ducts, and if there’s alcohol in your blood, it will pass into your milk. That said, the milk doesn’t stay there for long. If you wait about two hours after drinking, you can nurse without fear that you’re hurting your baby. Your milk will no longer register the alcohol you had every right to enjoy.

And even if you nurse right after drinking (or even while drinking), you have to realize that it takes a lot of alcohol to affect your baby; we’re talking multiple drinks a day every day of the week. If you have a single glass of wine in the evening, your baby will be totally fine. By the time that wine has made its way through your body and into the milk, the alcohol content is extremely watered down.

It’s all about moderation. Like everything you consume, alcohol changes the taste of your breastmilk. If you’ve over-imbibed, your baby is likely to nurse less enthusiastically and take in less milk. This is the source of that old myth about beer boosting your milk supply: if you drink a lot of beer, your baby won’t drink enough to empty out your breasts, and so, at the next feeding, your breasts will feel fuller. It’s not that some magical ingredients in the beer have increased your milk production; it’s that the beer’s unfamiliar taste has diminished your baby’s appetite.

So forget about some hypothetical harm you might be doing to your baby; focus more on how you feel. If you’re buzzed, will you be able to hop out of bed in an hour and feed the baby? If the answer is no, then stop with one glass. And just say no to pumping and dumping—it’s a total waste of time and precious resources! As long as you wait between 90 minutes and two hours, your milk will be perfectly fine (and perfectly palatable to your little one).

The American Academy of Pediatrics says moderate drinking while breastfeeding is okay, and so do we. I always had a glass of wine right after nursing in the evenings so that I could metabolize the alcohol in the two hours before the next feeding, and my kids have yet to sprout a third eye or second head.

One more thing: even though moderate drinking really is totally OK, we’re all (understandably!) a little neurotic about protecting our babies’ health. So instead of causing yourself unnecessary anxiety, you can always test your milk for complete certainty. At Ybreast, we love Milkscreen, an at-home test that detects alcohol in breastmilk and gives results in two minutes flat.

If you still have questions about drinking and nursing, please contact your Ybreast consultant. That’s what we’re here for.