Overview of Lactation
Breast milk is produced by mammary glands located in the breast tissue. Several hormones regulate the development of the mammary glands as well as the initiation and maintenance of lactation. Drinking alcohol and breastfeeding is not safe to do as it affects these hormones.
After birth ( for example, parturition), the woman’s hormonal environment changes, and in this setting, prolactin can initiate milk secretion from the mammary glands.
Any conditions that interfere with effective suckling will result in lower levels of prolactin release, thereby compromising milk production.  This happens when a mother is drinking alcohol and breastfeeding.
Many moms ask how smoking, drugs, and alcohol affect breastfeeding. When breastfeeding, you should avoid or try to limit smoking, most drugs, and alcohol. That will ensure the best health for you and your baby.
Why Drinking Alcohol and Breastfeeding is Dangerous?
Not drinking alcohol is the safest option for breastfeeding mothers. Exposure to alcohol above moderate levels through breast milk could damage an infant’s development, growth, and sleep patterns.
Alcohol consumption above-average levels may also impair a mother’s judgment and ability to care for her child safely. 
Drinking alcoholic beverages is not an indication to stop breastfeeding; however, consuming more than one drink per day is not recommended.
It is better to stop drinking if possible, to avoid the inclination to binge drinking.
Alcohol decreases milk production, with five drinks or more decreasing milk letdown and disrupting nursing until maternal alcohol levels decrease.
Breastmilk alcohol levels closely parallel blood alcohol levels. The highest alcohol levels in milk occur 30 to 60 minutes after an alcoholic beverage, but food delays peak milk alcohol levels.
Nursing after 1 or 2 drinks (including beer) can decrease the infant’s milk intake by 20 to 23% and cause infant agitation and poor sleep patterns.
Nursing or pumping within 1 hour before ingesting alcohol may slightly reduce the subsequent amounts of alcohol in breastmilk. 
Trace of Alcohol in Breast Milk
Alcohol levels are usually highest in breast milk 30-60 minutes after an alcoholic beverage is consumed and can be generally detected in breast milk for about 2-3 hours per drink after it is finished.
However, the length of time alcohol can be seen in breast milk will increase the more alcohol a mother consumes.
For instance, alcohol from 1 drink can be detected in breast milk for about 2-3 hours, alcohol from 2 drinks can be detected for about 4-5 hours, and alcohol from 3 drinks can be detected for about 6-8 hours on.
However, blood alcohol levels and the length of time alcohol can be detected in breast milk after drinking will depend on several factors, including:
- The amount of alcohol consumed
- How fast the alcohol is consumed
- Whether it is finished with food
- How much a mother weighs
- How fast alcohol is broken down in a mother’s body 
Quit Drinking & Start Breastfeeding
Benefits for Infants if You Stop Blending Alcohol and Breastfeeding
Infants who are well-breastfed have reduced risks  of:
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Severe Lower Respiratory Disease
- Acute Otitis Media (ear infections)
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
- Gastrointestinal Disorders (diarrhea/vomiting)
- Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) for preterm infants
It’s a myth that alcohol can boost breastmilk production. Alcohol does not increase your milk production; it can decrease your milk production.
Alcohol can also change the taste of breast milk, so if there’s any alcohol in your breastmilk, the baby might not want it, which could cause feeding issues.
High levels of alcohol in breastmilk can also sedate the baby and potentially cause sedation respiratory distress.
Benefits for Mothers in Quitting Drinking Alcohol and Breastfeeding
Proper breastfeeding can help lower a mother’s risk of:
- High Blood Pressure
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Ovarian Cancer
- Breast Cancer
“Breastfeeding provides unmatched health benefits for babies and mothers. It is the clinical gold standard for infant feeding and nutrition, with breast milk uniquely tailored to meet the health needs of a growing baby.
We must do more to create supportive and safe environments for mothers who choose to breastfeed.”
– Dr. Ruth Petersen, director of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity
Why Alcohol Use is Common Among Women, including Mothers & Girls
Excessive alcohol use is associated with more than 27,000 deaths among women and girls each year. Excessive alcohol use poses unique health and safety risks to females. 
– Nearly half of the adult women report drinking alcohol in the past 30 days.
– Approximately 13% of adult women report binge drinking and, on average, do so 4 times a month, consuming 5 drinks per binge.
– About 18% of women of child-bearing age (i.e., ages 18–44 years) binge drink.
– In 2019, about 32% of female high school students consumed alcohol compared with 26% of male high school students. Binge drinking was also more common among female (15%) than male (13%) high school students.
– In 2019, 4% of women overall and 8% of women aged 18 to 25 years had an alcohol use disorder.
Why You Should Seek Help if You are Struggling with Alcohol and Breastfeeding
Most health care professionals agree that drinking small amounts of alcohol while breastfeeding won’t harm your baby. However, opinions differ over the amount of alcohol that is safe for a breastfeeding mother to drink.
Roughly 34-million women of childbearing age drink alcoholic beverages (approximately half of all lactating women in Western countries consume alcohol while breastfeeding), so, understandably, it has been the subject of a lot of research.
A critical issue to consider is the care of your baby if you are drinking alcohol. If you are under the influence of alcohol, you may make fewer safe decisions around the attention and care of your baby.
In addition, drinking alcohol lessens the ability of the mother to be aware of her baby’s needs, whether she is breastfeeding or not.
It is crucial to plan to arrange those safe sleeping arrangements that have been made and never sleep with your baby if you consume alcohol.
Mothers who have been drinking alcohol should never let themselves be in a situation where they might fall asleep with the baby; on a bed, chair, or settee (this applies to other carers too). Doing this has a strong association with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Treatment for Alcoholism Approach to Women
Drinking alcohol could impair your judgment as a mother and your ability to care for your baby safely. If you drink excessively, arrange for a sober adult to care for your baby during this time as drinking alcohol and breastfeeding is never safe.
Expressing or pumping milk after drinking alcohol and then discarding it (“pumping and dumping”) does NOT reduce the amount of alcohol present in your milk quicker.
As your alcohol blood level falls over time, the alcohol level in your breast milk will also decrease. However, breast milk continues to contain alcohol if alcohol is still in your bloodstream.
Drinking beer does not increase your milk supply, as an urban myth(s) suggests.
Now, recovery starts with getting sober and is a part of your life indefinitely. And then, after you stop drinking or using, you still have a lifelong challenge of staying clean and sober. So, you will need a solid commitment.
Providing therapy, education, and support for recovery after treatment is just as crucial for a treatment center, if not more so than helping you get sober. The major of programming at any rehab center focuses on building skills and habits that encourage long-term sobriety. 
Our Level Up, West Palm Beach Treatment Center team is passionate about providing a solid foundation for addiction recovery, including programs for families.
We help every client get a strong start at a sober life through our alcohol detox and drug detox programs, followed by inpatient treatment.
To emphasize, at every level of care, we incorporate medical and alternative therapies for a holistic experience. In addition, we support the transition from active addiction to recovery from the very start of the process.
If you or someone you love is struggling with drinking alcohol and breastfeeding, help is here. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with Level Up Palm Beach County inpatient alcohol rehab.
 Alcohol’s Effect on Lactation – National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
[2,4] Alcohol – Centers for Disease Control And Prevention
 Drugs and Lactation Database – National Center for Biotechnology Information
 Breastfeeding – Why It Matters – Centers for Disease Control And Prevention
 Excessive Alcohol Use is a Risk to Women’s Health – Centers for Disease Control And Prevention
 We Level Up NJ – Addiction » Inpatient Alcohol Rehab