Can I drink on New Year’s Eve?

Lots of new breastfeeding moms have the burning question . . . can I drink (alcohol) even though I am breastfeeding?    Given that it’s New Year’s Eve, we thought it would be a fine time to give you the low-down on booze and boobs. 

Here’s the short answer:   Yes, absolutely!   And moderation is good for your mama mojo.

One of the reasons moms give up breastfeeding is because of the astounding myth that you can’t drink and breastfeed.  It’s obvious that this myth was set in motion to convince moms that breastfeeding was restrictive when clearly the opposite is true:   once you get the hang of it, breastfeeding is incredibly convenient and unrestrictive!  It boggles our minds that this myth really took hold and still lingers, considering that booze and breastfeeding have coexisted over the millenia.

So yes, you can have an occasional glass of wine, or a beer, or even a little nightcap and continue to nurse provided you don’t get drunk.  Here’s the shorthand for how to drink alcohol safely while breastfeeding:  

  • The rule of thumb is that if you feel drunk, your milk will be drunk too.  Remember, although some moms may be able to handle 2 ounces of liquor, or 8 ounces of wine, or 2 cans of beer, every one’s tolerance is different.  Since most of you haven’t had a drink in about 9 months, you should go slow!   
  • Ideally, breastfeed shortly before having a drink so you can give your blood alcohol level a chance to come down before nursing again.
  • If you get a little carried away, feed your baby some stored breastmilk instead.  Your blood alcohol level will be present in your breastmilk, so, if you really overdid it, it might be a good idea to have a stash of frozen pumped breastmilk on hand to feed your baby.  If your boobs start to get uncomfortably full, you should pump and dump.  Don’t have a stash of frozen breast milk?   Here’s some big news: you are still better off nursing your baby!  In the Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers, author and famed pediatrician Dr. Jack Newman is unequivocal: “the formula the baby would receive–while the mother is throwing away her milk because it has a tiny amount of alcohol in it–is known to put the baby at greater risk for a host of illnesses and problems.”  If you have further questions, talk to your breastfeeding-friendly pediatrician.  
  • You can resume breastfeeding once you no longer feel drunk; as the alcohol level in your blood decreases, it will decrease in your breastmilk.     

The bottomline is that the risks of not breastfeeding are so large, that even if you drink, or smoke, or even get stoned on occasion, you and your baby are still better off breastfeeding.   We are not advocating any of those things, we are simply trying to keep you from chucking breastfeeding because you are afraid it will interfere with your lifestyle, or from enjoying a glass of wine.   Chronic drinking or smoking or drug use is another matter, and we urge you to get help if that is the case.   You owe it to yourself and your baby.

Okay, now on to having some fun!   We came across Gabby Reece’s Holiday Partying Tips and think they are awesome.   Not only does she give smart advice on how to avoid putting on extra calories, she also makes you feel like she’s your fellow mom-girlfriend who’s got your back.   The most important thing, whether you have a drink or not, or whether you go out or not, is to connect with the people you love, get your groove on, and shake your booty!  

Happy New Year to you, Babe!

3 thoughts on “Can I drink on New Year’s Eve?

  1. According the Jack Newman MD, the biggest risk of drinking while breastfeeding is not the alcoholic content of the breastmilk, but the quality of parenting a drunk mother is able to provide. If it takes a couple drinks at 4% alcohol to get drunk, the mother’s breastmilk has .08% alcohol. That is 50x less than the drink the mother ingests. If a mom is drunk, she really is not safe around her baby (and definitely not safe enough for co-sleeping.)


    1. Thanks for the the link. You raise an important point. Best for Babes does not think that parenting and excessive drinking mix. However, the study you cite does not distinguish between SIDS deaths in formula-fed vs. breastfed babies; in fact, breastfeeding lowers the risk of SIDS by 30% to 50%. Our main point with this article is that too many expecting moms are being discouraged from breastfeeding because they think they can not enjoy an occasional glass of wine, and we’re trying to reassure them that breastfeeding does not have to interfere with their lifestyle.


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