Breastfeeding And Alcohol

While researching this topic, I found many different opinions on if it is acceptable to drink while nursing or not. However, in what seemed like 90% of articles I read listed some possible defects of drinking while breastfeeding. This certainly swayed my conclusion to mothers should not breastfeed while consuming alcohol. I saw a definite flaw in the logic of the sources stating drinking while breastfeeding would be an alright choice. In these articles, 9 times out of 10 they had listed some possible risks and side effects.  So it would make sense to assume drink and breastfeeding is taking a chance, it is not 100% safe.

Some medical opinion is that mothers who are breastfeeding shouldn’t consume more than 1 or 2 units of alcohol weekly and if they do consume alcohol they should abstain from breastfeeding for 2-3 hours. In theory, if you are sufficiently sober to drive your car than you should be able to breastfeed your infant. Yet, in the same articles there are several rick factors listed for doing so. Such as, infants who are exposed to even minimal amounts of alcohol tend to be light sleepers or sleep less, as well as, daily drinking while breastfeeding can heighten the chance of slow weight gain as well as decrease some motor development. Some studies state, this slowing of motor development has been thought to cause sluggish learning of crawling and walking.

Newborns have very immature livers so even small amounts of alcohol are difficult for a baby to pass through its system. Infants do not metabolize alcohol as quickly as adults. In my opinion, nursing mothers should stay away from drinking until their child is fully weaned. Although findings are few and far between and not completely proven in some cases, to me it does not seem like it is worth the risk.

Katie Hasiak



~ by knhasiak on September 6, 2009.

2 Responses to “Breastfeeding And Alcohol”

  1. I think it is okay for mothers to drink lightly after pregnancy. Alcohol only remains in the breast milk during the short period of time that the mother is feeling the effects of the alcohol. As long as you breastfeed before having a drink, and not after, the milk will not contain any alcohol.

  2. With Willow, my sister had trouble with her milk supply. She was unable to produce enough milk for her to breastfeed alone. (which is somewhat common when dealing with primigravida births) The nurses at both her birthing center and the U of U hospital NICU suggested drinking beer (possibly 1 beer in a day) to increase her supply…

    A source quotes:
    “There are clear indications that beer can stimulate prolactin secretion which may enhance lactogenesis both in non-lactating humans and in experimental animals. The component in beer responsible for the effect on prolactin secretion..”–Breastfeeding-and-beer

    The theory has in no way been proven, it’s just something to consider..

    Kellie Gibson

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