Effects of Alcohol Drinking by Breastfeeding Mothers on Child Development

Drinking, Breastfeeding & Child Development

Researchers studied the the effects of drinking by breastfeeding mothers on the later development of their children.

drinking by breastfeeding mothersThe scientists recorded women’s drinking during pregnancy. And they also recorded the same data at eight weeks and one year after the women gave birth.

Sixty-one percent of the breastfeeding women were drinking alcohol eight weeks after birth. Seventy percent were consuming alcoholic beverages 12 months postpartum.

Most women had 14 or fewer drinks per week and had fewer than three drinks per occasion. They also used ways to minimize alcohol in their milk. For example, by the timing of their drinking.


The researchers collected data on breastfeeding duration as well as infant sleeping and development. They adjusted for confounders and found alcohol consumption to be unrelated to infant sleeping behavior. The same was true of most infant developmental measures at eight weeks and 12 months.

drinking by breastfeeding mothersThere was only one exception. Mothers who drank at eight weeks had infants with better personal-social development at 12 months. That’s in comparison to mothers who abstained from alcohol at eight weeks.

Therefore, women who were light drinkers during breastfeeding did not have infants with adverse outcomes at age one.

Source for Drinking by Breastfeeding Mothers

Wilson, J., et al. Alcohol consumption by breastfeeding mothers. Frequency, correlates and infant outcomes. Drug Alco Rev, pub early online March 13, 2017.


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Note: This website makes no suggestions about drinking by breastfeeding mothers.