Alcohol gets into your breastmilk from your blood and can move freely from your blood to your breastmilk. Alcohol will be present in breastmilk 30 – 60 minutes after having an alcoholic drink.
The following will affect how much alcohol gets into your breastmilk:
* the strength and amount of alcohol that you consume
* what and how much you have had to eat
* your weight
* how quickly you consume your drinks
The amount of alcohol in your blood is the same as the amount of alcohol in your breastmilk.
Once you stop drinking alcohol, the amount of alcohol present in your blood drops and the amount of alcohol in your breastmilk will also drop.
Expressing and discarding the expressed breastmilk (known as pumping and dumping), will not reduce the amount of alcohol still in your breastmilk, only time will reduce the amount present.
There is no safe level of alcohol during pregnancy, so you need to stop drinking when pregnant and it’s also best to not drink when breastfeeding. You could enjoy an occasional drink if you have just finished a breastfeed and would then be very unlikely to have to feed again within the next couple of hours. Maybe you could express during the day and give expressed breast milk whilst enjoying the occasional drink.
It usually takes two hours for a woman to rid the alcohol from one standard drink.
For more information call Breastfeeding Helpline on 1800 686 2 686
Source: Alcohol and breastfeeding: a guide for mothers. Australian Breastfeeding Association. www.breastfeeding.asn.au