Breastfeeding and the use of recreational drugs--alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and marijuana

Breastfeed Rev. 1998 Aug;6(2):27-30.


This paper both reviews the current literature and explores anecdotal information as reported by Nursing Mothers' Breastfeeding Counsellors relating to breastfeeding and the use of alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and marijuana. All of these drugs do enter breastmilk to some extent and can have a detrimental effect on the production, volume, composition and ejection of breastmilk, as well as a direct adverse effect on the infant. Breastfeeding mothers should be encouraged to restrict their intake of these so-called recreational drugs. It is acknowledged that this is a particularly stressful period in a mother's life and that she may need additional support and practical suggestions to limit the exposure of these drugs to the infant.

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Caffeine / adverse effects*
  • Caffeine / analysis
  • Cannabis / adverse effects*
  • Ethanol / adverse effects*
  • Ethanol / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactation / drug effects
  • Marijuana Smoking / adverse effects
  • Milk, Human / chemistry
  • Milk, Human / drug effects*
  • Nicotine / adverse effects*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Caffeine
  • Ethanol
  • Nicotine