Abstract Female rats receiving alcohol (20%) in drinking water during lactation (AL) were compared to pair-fed animals (PF) and normal controls (C) fed ad lib. All animals were killed on the 12th day of lactation. When compared to C rats, food intake decreased in both AL and PF groups, and this effect was followed by a lower body weight and mammary gland (MG), liver, and parametrial adipose tissue weights. Mammary glands triacylglyceride concentration (TG) was much lower in PF than in AL, although in the latter, values did not reach those of C, and had higher liver TG concentration than any of the other groups. Both PF and AL rats had lower plasma TG, glycerol, and free fatty acid concentrations and higher β;-hydroxybutyrate concentration than C rats. When compared to C rats, the rate of lipogenesis in MG was higher in both PF and AL rats, whereas in liver it was higher in PF and lower in AL rats, and in adipose tissue it was higher in PF and unchanged in AL rats. The appearance of 14C lipids 4 h after oral [ 14] triolein in both MG and liver was lower in AL and PF rats and only lower in adipose tissue of AL rats as compared to the C rats. Lipoprotein lipase and hormone-sensitive lipase activities were lower in MG in both PF and AL rats than in C, whereas in adipose tissue the activity of lipoprotein lipase did not differ between AL and C rats and the activity of HSL was lower in the former. These findings therefore show that in spite of reduced uptake of orally administered triglycerides due to decreased LPL activity, maternal alcohol feeding during lactation in the rat preserves the mammary gland triglyceride content thanks to enhanced lipogenetic activity. On the other hand, it causes liver triglycerides accumulation, probably as a result of the decreased rate of triglycerides released into circulation, and these changes are not caused by the reduced food intake of the animals.