An appropriate preparation is essential in order to make the safest choices for you and your baby. Alcohol can harm your baby's health. Most medications are safe while breastfeeding. It is important to understand how Alcohol and Medications enter into the breastmilk and to your baby before making the best decisions. To be sure always check with your Health Professional.


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a. Alcohol

Alcohol easily passes into the mother's breastmilk, with the level being close to what is in the mother's blood supply. There is no known safe amount of alcohol exposure for a baby from breastmilk! The safest choice is not to drink alcohol while you are breastfeeding.If you have an occasional glass of alcohol, it is recommended to consume it after feeding your baby and to wait about two to three hours before feeding.General guideline: it takes approximately 2-3 hours for one standard drink of alcohol to clear from the mother's breastmilk. Heavy alcohol consumption should be avoided. The effects of alcohol on baby are not well studied.

b. Medications

Most medications are safe while breastfeeding and most do enter into the breastmilk in small amounts. Very few medications the baby is exposed to in the breastmilk have caused side effects. Risks of not breastfeeding the baby are often higher than the risk of the mom taking the medication while breastfeeding. Important to ensure when a health care provider is prescribing medications to the breastfeeding mother, that they are aware she is breastfeeding.

Further information can be found at:

Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS): 1-866-626-6847 www.otispregnancy.org

Dr Jack Newman's website: www.nbci.ca