New CDC Guidelines on Alcohol Consumption While Breastfeeding

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released new guidelines for alcohol consumption while breastfeeding. These guidelines indicate that while not drinking at all is the safest option, moderate alcohol consumption (1 standard drink per day) is not known to be harmful to infants.

They do recommend allowing 2 hours after alcohol consumption before breastfeeding, but go on to state that moderate consumption of alcohol is not an indication to stop breastfeeding. This 2 hour break allows the alcohol to be processed, lessening the amount present in the bloodstream, and therefore the milk.

“Exposure to alcohol above moderate levels through breast milk could be damaging to an infant’s development, growth, and sleep patterns. Alcohol consumption above moderate levels may also impair a mother’s judgment and ability to safely care for her child.”

These guidelines also address the common practice of “Pumping and Dumping” that some mothers use while drinking during the breastfeeding period. They recommend pumping and dumping only to ease discomfort or to keep a specific schedule, and not to try to lower the level of alcohol present in the breast milk. Many people mistakenly believe that alcohol is present in the milk itself and that by removing milk, new milk will be produced without alcohol in it. In fact, while there is alcohol in the bloodstream, there is alcohol in any milk produced.

To read the complete guidelines, visit

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