Experts disagree on exactly how much alcohol is OK to consume while breastfeeding. According to the La Leche League, it can take up to 13 hours for a 120-pound woman to clear one alcoholic drink from her system.
“If you’re feeling completely sober, it can be a long time that you will still have a positive milk screen,” says Paula Fitt, a lactation consultant at Newton Medical Center in New Jersey.
But others say feeling sober is the key.
“A good rule of thumb is if you’re sober enough to drive, you’re sober enough to breastfeed,” said Susan Rothenberg, associate director of obstetrics at Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan.
In general, a number of factors should be weighed when deciding to drink while breastfeeding. These include how old the baby is – newborns have immature livers and will process alcohol differently than older babies – how much you weigh, whether you’ve eaten, and how much you drink as a gauge of how long it will remain in your body (i.e., the more you drink, the longer it remains in your body).