Alcohol And Breastfeeding

Submitted by Nick on January 18, 2012

There has been plenty of research on the effects of alcohol and breastfeeding and whether it is safe for the nursing woman to consume alcohol. These studies have very clearly showed that alcohol is extremely harmful for the unborn baby as well as a newborn that is solely dependent on its mother’s milk. This is because a newborn baby generally has an immature liver that is still developing and becoming fully functional. Hence even a small amount of alcohol when consumed by the mother and passed through to the child who is on a breast feeding diet will add immense pressure on the liver of the baby.


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Another breastfeeding advice to keep in mind pertaining to alcohol and breast feeding is that alcohol once consumed doesn’t stay in the breast milk. In fact the alcohol will return to the bloodstream and hence pumping and then getting rid of the breast milk will not be useful in getting rid of the alcohol present in the breast milk. Hence mothers who plan on drinking more than a couple of units of alcohol should ideally plan ahead and pump their breast milk which should then be stored in bottles in the fridge which may then be fed to the child after the mother has consumed alcohol as her own breast milk will contain too much of alcohol which is harmful to the baby.

Women are known to get intoxicated with smaller amounts of alcohol when they are breastfeeding as they tend to get amenorrheic on account of breastfeeding and also because of the low estrogen levels. The breastfeeding diet should not include alcohol as it may cause drowsiness in the baby, weakness, deep sleep, retardation of motor and mental development and also abnormal weight gain. Some of the commonly faced breastfeeding problems are the production of low quantity or low quality of milk along with engorgement as well. Low quality of breast milk may be on account of a poor diet be followed by the mother or the consumption of medication while breastfeeding a baby. Engorgement is also another problem experienced while breastfeeding which is due to the milk excessively filling the breast along with fluid retention and blood collecting in the same area. Engorged breasts tend to feel very hard, tender, tight and painful and are even warm to the touch and some women may even develop a slight fever.

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