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Breastfeeding and Alcohol

When breastfeeding, the safest choice is not to drink alcohol. Instead, choose an alcohol-free drink. This is because alcohol:

  • passes into breastmilk in the same concentration that is in your bloodstream. In other words, your baby drinks what you drink. Regular exposure to alcohol will lead to problems with baby's growth and development.

  • can decrease the amount of milk the baby drinks at a feed. Heavy drinking can decrease a mother's milk supply.

There is no reason to stop breastfeeding if a mother likes to enjoy an occasional drink. For special occasions when you would like to drink alcohol, there are things you can do to reduce the risk to your baby. Visit Best Start to learn more about mixing alcohol and breastfeeding or call Motherisk at 1-877-327-4636 for help.

Canada's Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines outline safe limits for drinking alcohol and Best Start offers a variety of "mocktails" for pregnant and nursing women.

To learn more, contact the Health Unit toll-free at 1-866-888-4577 and speak with a Family Health nurse.