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Alcohol during breastfeeding: can champagne, wine or beer be given to a nursing mother?

Nursing mothers often ask what they can or cannot eat. But the question of drinks arises much less frequently. Especially when it comes to alcohol.

About this awkward start a conversation. Some consider inadmissible even such thoughts. But, as in many other questions about lactation, there is a “golden mean”.

In reality, this is not at all so categorical: alcohol during breastfeeding may be present in the mother’s life, but with the observance of caution, dosages and feeding schemes.

Breastfeeding women do not have to drastically change their lives after the birth of a baby. Of course, it is desirable that a healthy diet, proper rest and a comfortable day regimen be a priority. But also completely to abandon small weaknesses is also not worth it.

If alcohol during breastfeeding appears in the mom’s menu only on holidays and in modest amounts, the woman can easily afford to relax in this way.

Is alcohol in breast milk? Yes, it does. But in this matter it is not so much the fact of its discharge into mother’s milk that is important, but its concentration in it.

Nevertheless, nursing mothers do not need to categorically exclude alcoholic beverages for the entire period of lactation. Both physicians and experienced breastfeeding counselors have come to this opinion.

According to an American doctor and professor, Thomas Hale, from Medications and Mothers ’Milk, alcohol is metabolized in an adult’s body to about 30 ml in three hours. This suggests that after a moderate dose of alcohol a woman can resume breast attachment at the moment when she feels neurologically normal.

Well-known doctor Jack Newman also believes that the categorical restriction of nursing mothers in the use of alcohol is unnecessary. This is mentioned in the materials titled “Myths about breastfeeding.”

One of his books expressed a clear position on lactation and alcohol: if a mother drank lightly and offers the baby a mixture instead of her milk, she puts his health at greater risk than if he continued to breastfeed.

In the popular book La Leche League about the art of breastfeeding noted: if the mother occasionally drinks a little alcohol, as a rule, this dosage can not be associated with a serious threat to the child.

The American Academy of Pediatrics Medicines Committee recognizes the compatibility of alcohol and breastfeeding. The international site-guide E-lactancia assigns the status of “high risk” to alcohol (the penultimate step in the safety gradation of substances according to this resource).

However, this source indicates that during breastfeeding it is permissible to drink it moderately and from time to time.

The effect of alcohol is due to the percentage of ethanol or ethyl alcohol in it. It is rapidly absorbed into the blood, and this process starts when it comes into contact with the oral mucosa.

Ethanol does not accumulate in the blood or breast milk. Therefore, the expression of the secret does not affect the rate of its removal from the body.

What effect alcohol has on adults is known to all. But there is not much information about its impact on women and their babies in the context of breastfeeding.

If it is not about one glass of wine during lactation, but about the systematic consumption of impressive volumes of alcohol, this may entail the following consequences for an infant:

  • reduced weight gain;
  • psychomotor retardation;
  • drowsiness;
  • weakness;
  • sedative effect.

Such results were obtained in the course of research by scientists from different countries, including R. Little (1989), Moretti (2000), and others with a more current date.

How to avoid the negative effects of alcohol during breastfeeding

It happens that mom wants to relax and allow herself to indulge in a glass of red wine while breastfeeding. But very worried about the health of the crumbs.

In this case, she can perform some simple actions to keep the baby safe.

  • Feed the child before taking alcohol. The baby will receive healthy food and will be fed for some time while mom is resting.
  • Prepare a few servings in advance. It is convenient to pre-freeze or cool the expressed milk in order to feed the baby several times during mom’s rest. In this case, it is important to follow the rules for collecting and storing liquids.
  • Slide off chest until relief. When the mother has not “coped” with the influence of alcohol, but is experiencing an unpleasant heaviness and discomfort in her chest, it is worth a little to slip her hands. Once these feelings disappear, you can complete the procedure. Strained liquid should be poured.
  • Attach the baby to the chest. As soon as the action of alcohol ends and the woman returns to her normal state, she can continue breastfeeding.

Well, if in the life of a nursing mother there are many worthy reasons to raise a glass. But in addition to the pre-planned changes in the scheme of feeding you should pay attention to a few more points.

The age of the child. In infants younger than three months, the liver is not mature enough. Therefore, in comparison with an adult, it takes twice as long to remove alcohol from their bodies.

With age, this ability increases. And the effect of alcohol can be more devastating for a newborn than for an older child.

  • Weight nursing mom. The higher the body weight, the faster the sobering up occurs. And vice versa. This fact should be taken into account when choosing a serving of alcohol.
  • The amount of alcohol. The effect of ethanol on an infant increases in proportion to the increase in volume drunk by his mother. And the more alcohol got into her body, the slower he gets rid of traces of “fun.”
  • The amount eaten. Alcohol “disappears” faster if it is used together with food. After all, food impairs the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream.
  • Safety during sleep. If a woman is accustomed to sleeping together with a baby, but intoxication has not yet disappeared, it will be reasonable to either wait until full sobering up, or abandon this ritual for one night.

The topic of alcohol during breastfeeding is rather delicate and ambiguous. Around her hovers many myths that need explanation.

As noted above, scientific studies involving lactating women and their babies have shown that alcohol can reduce milk secretion by 10–25%. It was found that in the first three to four hours after the ingress of alcohol into the bloodstream of the mother, children are applied to the breast more often, but they suck less milk.

Wine, champagne, beer or other alcohol-containing drinks when breastfeeding does not improve the sleep of infants. In the course of research by D. Menell and Gerrish, a shortening of the period of falling asleep and a decrease in the duration of sleep for three and a half hours in infants who received milk with an admixture of alcohol were noted.

Comparison occurred with the usual duration of sleep, when these same children drank normal breast milk.

Drinking non-alcoholic wine and beer while breastfeeding, you need to understand that they still contain a small percentage of ethanol. Usually – about 0.5%, but in some types of drinks, even 1-2%.

In 2017, a group of scientists (Schneider, Tirauf, Kemf and Auwater) studied this issue and came to the following conclusion: even after large doses of non-alcoholic beer and wine, the ethanol content in breast milk will not be dangerous. However, it is worth remembering about the individual characteristics of each organism and the situation as a whole.

Therefore, the result may have deviations for a particular pair of “mother-child”. But the question of whether a nursing mother can drink non-alcoholic beer can be reasonably answered positively.

There are still many interesting opinions on the topic of alcohol and lactation. But behind each of them should be sought rational justification. After all, the question of the well-being of the little man is always in the first place for his mother.

And reliable scientific facts help a woman to calm down and make the right decision whether she should drink a glass of red wine while breastfeeding.

Thus, breastfeeding is not a reason to deny yourself small weaknesses. Can nursing mother wine, beer, champagne and other alcoholic beverages?

Yes you can. It is proved that moderate doses of alcohol are not dangerous for the health of the infant.

Especially if a woman approaches the organization of her holiday with full responsibility: she thinks out in advance of an alternative to attachment, keeps track of the amount she has drunk and calculates the time to resume feeding.

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