Breast milk nutrition

Breast milk is a complex and dynamic fluid that provides all the essential nutrients a baby needs for optimal growth and development. Its composition varies not only between different stages of lactation but also from one feeding session to another. Here’s an in-depth look at the key components and nutritional value of breast milk:


- Proteins: Breast milk contains two primary types of proteins: whey and casein. Whey proteins, which are easier to digest, make up about 60-70% of the total protein content. Casein constitutes the remaining 30-40%. These proteins are crucial for the baby's growth and immune function.

- Fats: Fats are the most variable component of breast milk and provide the primary source of energy, comprising about 50% of the total calories. The fat content can range from 3-5 grams per 100 mL, depending on the time of day and how long since the last feeding or pump session. These fats include essential fatty acids, such as DHA and ARA, which are vital for brain development and vision.

- Carbohydrates: Lactose is the main carb in breast milk, providing about 40% of the total caloric content. It aids in the absorption of calcium and supports the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.


- Vitamins: Breast milk contains a range of vitamins necessary for the baby's development. These include fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K, as well as water-soluble vitamins such as C, riboflavin, niacin, and B12.

- Minerals: Key minerals found in breast milk include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and trace elements like zinc and iron. These are essential for bone development, cellular function, and overall growth.

Immune-Boosting Components

- Antibodies: Immunoglobulin A (IgA) is the most abundant antibody in breast milk, playing a crucial role in protecting the infant from infections by forming a protective barrier on mucous membranes.

- White Blood Cells: Breast milk is rich in leukocytes, which help fight infections and bolster the infant’s developing immune system.

- Enzymes and Hormones: Enzymes such as lipase and amylase aid in digestion, while hormones like leptin and ghrelin help regulate the baby’s appetite and metabolism.

Caloric Content

- Calories: The caloric content of breast milk can vary significantly. On average, breast milk provides about 20 calories per ounce (approximately 67 calories per 100 mL). However, the caloric density can range from 15 to 30 calories per ounce (50 to 100 calories per 100 mL) based on factors such as the stage of lactation and the time of feeding. Colostrum, the first milk produced, is lower in calories but higher in proteins and antibodies, while mature milk produced later is higher in fat and overall caloric content.

Variability and Adaptability

One of the remarkable features of breast milk is its ability to adapt to the baby's changing needs. For example:

- **Foremilk and Hindmilk**: At the beginning of a feeding session, the milk (foremilk) is typically more watery and lower in fat, quenching the baby's thirst. As the feeding progresses, the milk (hindmilk) becomes richer in fat and calories, satisfying the baby's hunger and providing sustained energy.

- **Circadian Rhythms**: The composition of breast milk can also change based on the time of day. For instance, evening and nighttime milk often contain higher levels of melatonin, which can help the baby sleep better.

Breast milk is a highly specialized and ever-changing nutritional source that supports infants' growth, development, and immune function. Its unique composition, tailored to meet the specific needs of human infants, underscores the benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child. The dynamic nature of breast milk, with its varying caloric content and nutrient composition, ensures that babies receive optimal nourishment during the critical early stages of life.

Cluster Feeding

Cluster feeding is a normal and common behavior in newborns, where they nurse frequently and irregularly over a period of several hours, often in the evening. This behavior helps stimulate milk supply and can also provide comfort to the baby, who may be going through a growth spurt or developmental leap. Despite its normalcy, cluster feeding can be particularly challenging and frustrating for new parents, especially if they are unprepared for its intensity and duration.

New parents may find cluster feeding overwhelming for several reasons. First, the frequent and seemingly incessant nursing sessions can lead to physical exhaustion and a sense of being constantly tethered to the baby. The lack of predictability in feeding patterns can also make it difficult for parents to find time for their own basic needs, such as eating, sleeping, and showering. This can contribute to feelings of frustration and stress, as the demands of cluster feeding can seem relentless.

Additionally, new parents might worry that their baby is not getting enough milk or that there is something wrong with their breastfeeding technique. This anxiety can be exacerbated if they are not aware that cluster feeding is a typical behavior that helps regulate and increase milk supply. The emotional toll of seeing their baby seemingly insatiable and unsettled can add to their frustration.

Education and support are key in helping new parents navigate cluster feeding. Knowing that cluster feeding is a normal part of newborn development can alleviate some of the stress and help parents manage their expectations. Seeking support from lactation consultants, pediatricians, or breastfeeding support groups can provide reassurance and practical advice. Understanding that this phase is temporary and that it plays an important role in establishing a healthy milk supply can also help parents cope with the challenges of cluster feeding.

Homesick feeling while breastfeeding: DMER

Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex (D-MER) During Breastfeeding

Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex (D-MER) is a condition that affects some breastfeeding mothers, characterized by negative emotions that occur just before or during milk letdown. Unlike postpartum depression or anxiety, D-MER is specifically linked to the physiological process of milk release. Understanding D-MER is important for providing support and effective management for affected mothers.

What is D-MER?

D-MER is a sudden and brief wave of negative emotions, such as sadness, anxiety, irritability, or even a sense of dread, that occurs just before the milk ejection reflex. These feelings typically last only a few minutes and resolve once milk flow begins.

Symptoms of D-MER

Symptoms of D-MER vary in intensity and nature but are generally negative and unpleasant. They can include:
- **Sadness or Despair**: Feeling profoundly sad or hopeless.
- **Anxiety or Panic**: Experiencing a sense of anxiety, panic, or nervousness.
- **Irritability or Anger**: Sudden feelings of irritability or anger.
- **Dread or Guilt**: A sense of dread or guilt with no apparent cause.
- **Emotional Numbness**: Feeling emotionally detached or numb.

Causes of D-MER

The exact cause of D-MER is not fully understood, but it is believed to be related to the hormonal changes that occur during breastfeeding:
- **Dopamine Regulation**: D-MER is thought to involve a rapid drop in dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, which occurs to allow prolactin (the hormone responsible for milk production) to rise.
- **Hormonal Imbalance**: The sudden shift in hormone levels during milk letdown can trigger the dysphoric response.

Distinguishing D-MER from Other Conditions

D-MER is distinct from other emotional or psychological conditions like postpartum depression (PPD) or postpartum anxiety (PPA):
- **Timing**: D-MER is closely linked to the act of breastfeeding and the letdown reflex, whereas PPD and PPA are more constant and pervasive.
- **Duration**: The negative emotions in D-MER are short-lived, lasting only a few minutes during milk letdown.
- **Specificity**: D-MER symptoms are specifically triggered by breastfeeding, not by other activities or events.

Managing D-MER

While D-MER can be distressing, several strategies can help manage the condition:

1. **Education and Awareness**: Understanding that D-MER is a physiological response and not a reflection of your emotional state can provide reassurance. Knowing that it is a temporary and normal reaction can reduce anxiety about the condition.

2. **Support System**: Talk to a healthcare provider, lactation consultant, or support group about your experiences. Support from others who understand D-MER can be invaluable.

3. **Stress Reduction**: Engage in stress-reducing activities such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or gentle physical activities like walking or yoga to help manage overall stress levels.

4. **Hydration and Nutrition**: Maintain a healthy diet and stay well-hydrated to support overall well-being and potentially mitigate some of the symptoms.

5. **Monitor and Track**: Keep a journal to track when D-MER symptoms occur, their intensity, and any possible triggers. This information can be helpful for discussing with your healthcare provider.

6. **Medications**: In some cases, medications that help regulate dopamine levels may be considered. Always discuss with a healthcare provider before starting any medication.

When to Seek Help

If D-MER symptoms are severe, persistent, or interfere significantly with your ability to breastfeed or care for your baby, it is important to seek professional help. A healthcare provider or mental health professional can offer guidance and treatment options tailored to your needs.


D-MER is a challenging but manageable condition that affects some breastfeeding mothers. By recognizing the symptoms, understanding the causes, and implementing effective management strategies, mothers can continue to breastfeed while minimizing the impact of D-MER. Support from healthcare professionals, lactation consultants, and peer groups can make a significant difference in navigating this experience.

Do I need to fortify my preemie’s milk

In the delicate world of premature babies, every ounce of care and nutrition matters profoundly. For mothers of preemies who choose to breastfeed, human milk fortification emerges as a vital intervention that can significantly impact the health and development of their fragile infants.

Breast milk is undoubtedly the gold standard for infant nutrition, offering a unique blend of nutrients, antibodies, and growth factors that promote optimal growth and immunity. However, many families with preterm infants typically 31-33 weekers) may be told their breast milk isn’t nutritionally adequate and they either need to supplement baby with formula or a human milk fortifier. It’s not that your milk is inadequate, it’s that babies born early miss out on a surge of nutrient absorption that normally would have occurred during the third trimester. Preemies have higher nutrient requirements, especially for protein, minerals like calcium and phosphorus, and certain vitamins like vitamin D. They should have been getting these nutrients from your placenta which takes these nutrients from your blood and bones. A preemie’s gastrointestinal tract is also very immature, less efficient at processing nutrients and more prone to distress. Preemies who experience medical complications including infection, respiratory disorders, surgeries, and stress, experience an increase in metabolism and increased caloric demand. So babies born prematurely have multiple reasons for needing more nutrients than an otherwise healthy full-term baby. Human milk fortifiers are designed to supplement breast milk with these essential nutrients to match the specific needs of premature infants, supporting their growth and development, that they missed.

Currently there are two main types of human milk fortifier available. The first is made using cow-based protein. It comes as either a powder or liquid which get added to pumped breast milk. The second fortifier is actually made of donated human milk from other pumping mothers. The only manufacturer of human based fortifier in the US currently is Prolacta Bioscience, and is only available to hospitals. Donated milk is modified into a frozen liquid concentrate which is added to pumped milk in the NICU.

Premature infants often struggle with catching up to the growth milestones of full-term babies. Fortifying breast milk helps enhance calorie intake and nutrient absorption, aiding in weight gain and promoting more rapid growth without increasing the volume of milk intake.

Preterm infants are at increased risk of various health complications, including necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and developmental delays. Fortified breast milk has been shown to lower the incidence of NEC and other serious conditions by providing a more robust nutritional profile.

Adequate nutrition during the neonatal period is critical for preventing long-term health problems such as neurodevelopmental impairments and metabolic disorders. Fortifying breast milk ensures that preemies receive the essential nutrients necessary for optimal brain and organ development.

Human milk fortification enables mothers to continue breastfeeding while meeting their preemie's unique nutritional needs. This approach supports the emotional and physiological benefits of breastfeeding while addressing the challenges posed by premature birth.

How long after birth they need to be supplemented depends upon many factors, including baby’s gestational age at birth, medical condition, nutritional status, and the individual practices of the NICU team your baby worked with. It’s very common for NICU graduates to require special nutrients for weeks to months after going home. This might be as simple as adding small amounts of over-the-counter preemie formula to pumped milk, adding in a few bottles of preemie formula each day, or as complex as using specialized prescription formulas. 

Ultimately, human milk fortification represents a critical component of neonatal care for premature infants. It empowers mothers to provide the best nutrition possible for their preemies, supporting their babies' health and development during this vulnerable stage of life. Healthcare providers play a pivotal role in guiding mothers through the process of human milk fortification, offering education and support to optimize outcomes for these tiny fighters.

By recognizing the importance of fortifying breast milk for preemie babies, we can enhance the quality of care and improve the long-term health prospects of these resilient little ones. Every drop of fortified breast milk signifies a step forward in nurturing and protecting the smallest members of our communities.

The composition of breast milk undergoes significant changes to meet the evolving nutritional needs of infants as they grow. The differences between preterm (colostrum and transitional milk) and mature breast milk are particularly important for understanding how mothers can support the unique requirements of preterm babies. Here's a breakdown of these differences:

**1. Protein Content:**

   - Preterm Breast Milk: Higher in protein, specifically whey protein, which is easier for preterm infants to digest.

   - Mature Breast Milk: Lower in total protein compared to preterm milk, with a higher proportion of casein protein.

**2. Fat Composition:**

   - Preterm Breast Milk: Contains more medium-chain fatty acids and higher levels of essential fatty acids like DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ARA (arachidonic acid), which are crucial for brain and visual development.

   - Mature Breast Milk: Higher in long-chain fatty acids, reflecting the changing needs of the growing infant.

**3. Carbohydrates:**

   - Preterm Breast Milk: Contains higher levels of lactose and oligosaccharides, providing readily available energy for the developing preterm baby.

   - Mature Breast Milk: Still rich in lactose but with a slightly lower concentration compared to preterm milk.

**4. Minerals and Vitamins:**

   - Preterm Breast Milk: Generally higher concentrations of certain minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and zinc to support bone and overall growth.

   - Mature Breast Milk: Adequate levels of minerals and vitamins tailored to the needs of a growing infant.

**5. Immunological Factors:**

   - Preterm Breast Milk: Richer in immunoglobulins (especially secretory IgA) and other immune factors to bolster the preterm baby's immature immune system and protect against infections.

   - Mature Breast Milk: Continues to provide valuable immunological support but at levels adjusted for the older infant's immune needs.

**6. Growth Factors:**

   - Preterm Breast Milk: Higher levels of growth factors like insulin-like growth factor (IGF) to support rapid growth and development.

   - Mature Breast Milk: Contains growth factors in appropriate proportions to sustain healthy growth without promoting excessive weight gain.

**7. Micronutrients:**

   - Preterm Breast Milk: Often supplemented with higher levels of vitamins and minerals to meet the increased requirements of preterm infants.

   - Mature Breast Milk: Provides sufficient micronutrients for the needs of older infants, although additional supplementation may be necessary depending on the infant's diet.

Understanding these differences underscores the importance of tailored nutrition for preterm infants. While human milk is always beneficial, preterm breast milk offers a specialized blend of nutrients and bioactive components uniquely suited to support the growth and development of premature babies during the critical early stages of life. As preterm infants transition to mature breast milk, the composition adjusts to meet their changing nutritional demands, ensuring optimal health and development as they continue to thrive on mother's milk.


Baby wearing and Tummy Time


I love babywearing!! Humans are carry mammals and there are so many benefits to baby wearing! Baby wearing is great for bonding and convenience. Being held close to a caregiver’s body can help regulate a baby’s physiological systems, such as heart rate, temperature, and breathing. This can contribute to overall health and well-being. It also provides opportunities for baby to lift their head and neck and rotate them from side to side. It’s also one of the first tummy time activities we can do starting at birth! Laying flat on your back and having your newborn on their tummy is baby wearing at its most basic and a great place to start promoting tummy time. BUT babywearing (in a carrier or with a wrap or sling) is not a substitute for tummy time. It should be used to COMPLIMENT it. Both activities offer distinct benefits for your baby’s development. Tummy time helps strengthen the muscles in a baby’s neck, shoulders, arms, and back. This is crucial for achieving milestones such as lifting the head, rolling over, crawling, and eventually walking. It allows free movement of all of the major muscle groups as well as opportunities to move against gravity. While baby wearing, the trunk and shoulders are relatively supported and doesn’t allow baby to engage those muscles for strengthening. Being on their tummy allows babies to explore their surroundings from a different perspective. They can practice reaching and grasping objects, which enhances their visual and sensory development. On the other hand, baby wearing provides comfort and closeness, promoting emotional security and allowing caregivers to multitask while keeping baby content. It’s also a great way to help baby sleep longer in a contact nap!!

While baby wearing and tummy time offer unique benefits, they are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they complement each other in promoting a well-rounded approach to infant development.

#tummytime #tummytimeactivities #babywearing #babywrap #babywrapping #babywraps #babysling #skintoskinbaby

Let's delve into the distinct benefits of baby wearing and tummy time for infants:

**Benefits of Baby Wearing:**

1. **Bonding and Attachment:** Baby wearing fosters a strong bond between the caregiver and the baby. The close physical contact promotes feelings of security and comfort, which are crucial for emotional development.

2. **Convenience:** Carrying a baby in a carrier or wrap allows caregivers to have their hands free for other tasks while keeping the baby close. This can be especially helpful for parents who need to move around or engage in activities throughout the day.

3. **Regulation of Body Systems:**

4. **Observational Learning:** Babies in carriers are often at adult eye level, which can enhance their cognitive development through observing and interacting with the world around them.

**Benefits of Tummy Time:**

1. **Development of Motor Skills:** Tummy time helps strengthen the muscles in a baby's neck, shoulders, arms, and back. This is crucial for achieving milestones such as lifting the head, rolling over, crawling, and eventually walking.

2. **Prevention of Flat Head Syndrome:** Regular tummy time reduces the risk of flat spots developing on a baby's head, which can occur when they spend too much time on their backs.

3. **Visual and Sensory Stimulation:** Being on their tummy allows babies to explore their surroundings from a different perspective. They can practice reaching and grasping objects, which enhances their visual and sensory development.

4. **Encouragement of Independence:** Tummy time encourages babies to start exploring their own body movements and space, which is essential for developing independence and confidence.

**Complementary Relationship:**

While baby wearing and tummy time offer unique benefits, they are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they complement each other in promoting a well-rounded approach to infant development:

Muscle Development: Tummy time strengthens specific muscle groups needed for crawling and overall physical development. Baby wearing, meanwhile, supports muscle tone and posture by providing a secure and ergonomic position.

Emotional Bonding: Both activities promote emotional bonding and security, albeit in different ways. Baby wearing satisfies a baby's need for closeness and comfort, while tummy time encourages independence and exploration within a safe environment.

Variety of Stimulation: Alternating between baby wearing and tummy time exposes infants to diverse sensory and motor experiences, which are essential for holistic development.

In summary, incorporating both baby wearing and tummy time into a baby's routine ensures comprehensive support for their physical, emotional, and cognitive development. Each activity offers unique advantages that contribute to a well-rounded and enriched infancy.

Having a baby means you are a targeted market.

Where did 10,000 steps a day to better health come from? The 10,000 steps concept was initially formulated in Japan in the lead-up to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Because the Japanese character for “10,000” looks like a person walking, the company called its device the 10,000-step meter. Thus the 10,000 steps a day was not based on science, but a marketing strategy to sell step counters. Modern research has actually shown that 4,00-7,500 steps a day can be just as beneficial to health and a more realistic goal without discouraging people from walking fewer steps than the elite 10,000.

So what does this have to do with breastfeeding? You are being marketed to. Almost everything related to infant sleep and feeding (bottle AND breast) is a pitch to get you to buy something in your sleep deprived state at 2am from Amazon. Don’t fall for the marketing. Is the bottle marketed to look like a breast? Yes!! But in my experience the ones that look like a boob often don’t promote a breast-like latch at all. A cookie guaranteed to make milk? A cookie is just a cookie if you’re not actively moving that milk. A crib guaranteed to help baby sleep longer? It may work for some, but at what cost to development and the breast milk supply…

Yes, it is a fantastic time to be alive. We have more gadgets and gizmos than any other time in history. Some are amazing miracles of science and some are just downright times money suckers that will end up in the back of the closet to gather dust. If a products works for you, awesome!! Not every item will work for every family or every baby. Because we are all unique individuals

Nipple piercings and breastfeeding

Will nipple piercings impact breastfeeding? In my experience, the majority of people who’ve had a piercing will have absolutely ZERO issues with breastfeeding. But every body is different in how it reacts to taking out the jewelry out prior to breastfeeding. Just like with pierced ears,  occasionally the hole left by jewelry will scar closed, or partially closed, which can inhibit milk from coming out certain nipple pores. Often, the longer the time since the piercings were initially placed the better the outcome as the nipple has had time to properly heal. Other concerns may include nerve damage (the piercing happened to go through right at the nerve and damages it) that impacts milk let down or extra holes created by the piercings that lead to milk coming out of unexpected places! I have (rarely) seen mastitis and abscesses from previous nipple piercings, but that is NOT common.

Breastfeeding with the nipple jewelry in place is never recommended as it can make it difficult for the infant to latch-on correctly, increases the risk of choking on loose or dislodged jewelry, and can damage the inside of the baby’s mouth. If you are going to take your jewelry in and out every feeding, make sure you are being extremely careful with hand washing and jewelry sanitizing to reduce the risk of infection. Best practice says take the piercings out for the entirety of your breastfeeding journey. Laid back breastfeeding positions and extra nursing pads to catch the excess milk can help. You may also need to find which direction your baby needs to face if you notice leaking milk from additional holes created by the piercing if they are not in baby’s mouth. Many women go on to breastfeed successfully with a history of pierced nipples, but if you’re having any problems or have concerns, see an IBCLC lactation consultant.


High Lipase: My breast milk tastes soapy

Have you heard of high lipase in breast milk? Lipase is an enzyme that helps break down fat in breast milk. The breakdown of the fat in breastmilk by lipase is normal but not noticeable when the baby is feeding directly at the breast. When lipase occurs in excess, this process happens much more rapidly and can make the milk taste off or soapy after a period of time. Milk with excess lipase is safe to drink, but some babies dislike the taste and refuse it.


How do you know if you have high lipase?

  • Test prior to freezing – Before freezing large amounts of breast milk, you can test it for odor and taste changes due to lipase. Collect and freeze 1-2 bags or small containers of breast milk for at least 5 days and then evaluate the odor to see if your baby will drink it.

What can you do if you have high lipase?

  • Freeze milk as soon as you pump it whenever possible
  • Reduce intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Scald you’re milk prior to freezing 
  • To scald fresh milk: Heat it in a pot until tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan (approximately 180° F) but don’t boil it. Remove the milk from the stove and allow it to cool before freezing.

Scalding fresh milk will stop the enzymes from breaking down the fat, preventing that soapy smell and taste. Scalding milk does reduce some of the beneficial components in breast milk, however, so give your infant fresh breast milk whenever possible.

To scald milk:

  • Heat milk to about 180 F (82 C), or until you see little bubbles around the edge of the pan (not to a full, rolling boil with bubbles in the middle of the milk).
  • Quickly cool and store the milk.

Scalding the milk will destroy some of the immune properties of the milk and may lower some nutrient levels, but this is not likely to be an issue unless all of the milk that baby is receiving has been heat-treated.

Per Lawrence & Lawrence, bile salt-stimulated lipase can also be destroyed by heating the milk at 144.5 F (62.5 C) for one minute (p. 205), or at 163 F (72 C) for up to 15 seconds (p. 771).

Lawrence R, Lawrence R. Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession, 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Mosby, 2005: 156-158, 203-205, 771, 781.

Lawrence RA. Storage of human milk and the influence of procedures on immunological components of human milk. Acta Paediatr Suppl. 1999 Aug;88(430):14-8.

Have a ton of freezer milk with high lipase? Some babies don’t mind the flavor and will drink it anyway. If you’re won’t, Before pitching it, consider trying the following:

  • Mix frozen milk with fresh milk to make it more appetizing to baby
  • Some moms find adding a few drops of alcohol free vanilla extract can mask the lipase flavor. 
  • Use it for a milk bath which can help with dry skin

Milk taste rancid or metallic? That's not lipase, the cause may be chemical oxidation (Mohrbacher, p. 461). Reducing intake of polyunsaturated fats may help. Certain minerals or metals in drinking water may also be to blame like copper or iron ions. When this happens, Mohrbacher has a few suggestions to try:

  • Avoid your usual drinking water (either drinking it or having milk come into contact with it) by using bottled or reverse osmosis filtered water instead
  • Avoid fish-oil and flaxseed supplements, and foods like anchovies that contain rancid fats
  • Increase antioxidant intake (including beta carotene and vitamin E like berries, spinach, beets, and beans).

Mohrbacher N. Breastfeeding Answers Made Simple. Amarillo, Texas: Hale Publishing, 2010: 460-461.


What medicine can I take while being sick and still breastfeeding?

There is nothing worse than being sick. It’s even harder when you still need to breastfeed when all you want to do is sleep and there’s nothing that sounds good to eat or drink. So what can you take get help feel better fast? There are still safe medications and herbs/supplements. Thomas Hale wrote the textbook on medications and breast milk and categorized medications as follows:
L1 Safest
L2 Safer
L3 Probably safe
L4 Possibly hazardous
L5 Hazardous

🤒Pain and fever
👍🏼Ibuprofen (Motrin/advil), acetaminophen (Tylenol), and paracetamol (L1) are safe to take while breastfeeding.
👎🏻Aspirin (L2) can pass into human milk and cause a serious condition called Reye’s syndrome in baby. Reye’s syndrome is associated with brain and liver damage.
👎🏻Use of codeine is not recommended while breastfeeding. If essential, and only where there is no alternative, it should be at the lowest effective dose, for the shortest possible duration and you should stop taking it and seek medical advice, if you notices side effects in baby such as:

  • Breathing Problems
  • Lethargy
  • Poor Feeding
  • Drowsiness
  • Bradycardia (slow heart beat)

🤧Sinus congestion
👍🏼Saline rinse L1
👍🏼Afrin and Nasacort L3 Because these medicines are not absorbed well from the nasal passages, they don’t have the same effect on milk supply that decongestants taken by mouth can have.
👎🏻Pseudoephedrine L3
Medications containing pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Zyrtec D) — use with caution because they can decrease milk supply

😮‍💨Cough/chest congestion
👍🏼Guaifenesin (Robitussin/Mucinex) L2
👍🏼Dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM/Delsym) L3 The amounts of dextromethorphan and its active metabolite in breastmilk are very low and are not expected to affect the nursing infant. It is best to avoid the use of products with a high alcohol content while nursing.

Not sure if the medications you want to take is safe? Call Infant Risk at 806-352-2519 also is a phenomenal resource for safe things you can take and do while sick and breastfeeding

Drinking and Breastfeeding

Milk is made from your blood, so what you drink can impact your milk supply. 

💦 How much water should you be drinking? There are some ridiculous answers out there. If your breast milk production has decreased, helpful people may suggest that you chug tons of water. Your lack of water intake may contribute to but is not completely responsible for your supply drop. Drinking too much water can inadvertently harm your milk supply

💦 When you drink too much water, your body tries to restore the electrolyte balance in your body by dumping the excess water into your urine. This results in water being diverted away from your breasts, which in turn decreases your milk supply. Water dense foods can also be just as hydrating as plain water from the tap. 

💦 You will lose up to 30oz of water through your breast milk to your baby; so do try to drink 8-12 glasses of water a day

☕️ Coffee is safe to drink: 300-500mg of caffeine per day max

☕️ Younger babies (< 6 months), preterm and medically fragile babies process caffeine slower and they may be sensitive to it. 

☕️ If you consistently drank coffee during pregnancy you baby is already used to caffeine

☕️ It takes 15-20 minutes for coffee to hit your bloodstream and is usually completely gone by 4-7 hours. So if you’re concerned or having it for the first time after birth, either breastfeed baby first and then have your coffee or have it while breastfeeding

🍷 According to the CDC, moderate alcohol (up to 1 standard drink per day) is not known to be harmful to baby

🥂 Less than 2% of alcohol reaches breastmilk and typically peaks within 1/2-1 hour after consumption *however* factors such as food, weight & body fat need to be considered

🥂 Alcohol does not accumulate but leaves breastmilk as it leaves the bloodstream. There is no need to pump and dump when consuming limited amounts of alcohol

🥂 If you are feeling like you NEED to consume large amounts of alcohol regularly, speaking to a qualified professional is admirable and a very good option


Is it ok to have alcohol and breastfeed? The short answer is yes, in moderation. No, you don’t need to pump and dump for 1 standard drink. Yes, those alcohol testing milk strips are kinda dumb. 

Alcohol passes freely into breast milk and peaks around 30-60 minutes after consumption (60-90 minutes if you drink with food) so what you would breathalyze you would “breastalyze”. This does not mean your milk has an much alcohol as you consumed or as a straight up alcoholic beverage. It means you milk has the same amount of alcohol as your blood. For instance, if your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is 0.10 (or 0.10%, 1/10 of 1 percent) from drinking, you breast milk has 0.10% alcohol in it. In comparison, a typical beer has 4.5% alcohol, a glass of wine has 15% alcohol, and a shot of vodka has 40% alcohol. 

Let’s interpret that: if you breastfeed while you’re having your first drink, your baby will most likely be finished feeding before the alcohol hits your system. There’s no need to pump and dump your milk. Only time clears the alcohol from your system. If you’re breastfeeding a newborn, premature or medically compromised infant, you’ll want to be more cautious of the alcohol you consume and may want to consider waiting longer to breastfeed than an older baby. Such a small portion of alcohol gets into your milk, if you have an older baby and have only had one drink there’s really no need to wait to pump or feed. 

If you want to have an occasional drink, I will never judge you!!! Go for it!! If you need alcohol, large quantities or alcohol or are struggling with alcohol, please find a qualified counselor to work with ❤️ 🍻