Side Effects of Alcohol on Breastfeeding & The Breastfed Baby
Alcohol and Breastfeeding Side Effects: Overview
Pregnancy is a joy for expectant mothers but they certainly can’t wait to get back to doing the things they used to do before pregnancy, such as alcohol consumption. But when the baby comes out, breastfeeding is another issue.
Mothers want to have a taste of their good old liquor and spirits but the question that lingers in their heads: are these things safe for the baby? To address this concern, the American Academy of Pediatrics highly advises mothers to breastfeed their babies exclusively for the first 6 months. They encourage the mothers to continue the breastfeeding until the 12th month and beyond.
The reason for this is the antibodies that the mother passes on to the baby is coursed through the milk. It strengthens the immune system of the baby and nurture brain development. A good look at alcohol and breastfeeding side effects, if there are any, will inform the mother of the right thing to do with alcohol when breastfeeding.
Alcohol and Breastfeeding Side Effects: The Risks
Infants that have been found to consume alcohol through their mother’s milk suffer sleepiness, improperly developed liver, extreme weight gain, pseudo-cushing syndrome (facial distortion), underdeveloped motor skills, and an overall weakening of the immune system. There is also a risk of reducing the mothe’rs milk production, courtesy of the alcohol.
Binge drinking on the part of the mother is dangerous for the baby and the reason is very simple. If an adult can run the risk of alcohol poisoning, can you just imagine the effects on a small and delicate baby? Since the baby’s parts are not fully developed yet, there’s a risk that alcohol can curtail this development. Some experts have even linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, although no concrete evidence has been produced.
Alcohol and Breastfeeding Side Effects: Is there a Bright Side?
Women think that drinking alcohol is okay because some women are encouraged to drink beer to stimulate milk production. However, it’s not the alcohol in the beer that does the job. It’s the polysaccharide in the beer that stimulates the production of prolactin. Therefore, beer consumption is fine because of the barley, not the alcohol.
Alcohol and Breastfeeding Side Effects: Compromise in Mixing Breastfeeding and Alcohol
An occasional drink won’t harm the baby, as long as consumption is strictly controlled. Alcohol, if not taken in excess, is expelled by the body. The amount of alcohol consumed, the length of time it is consumed, and the strength of the alcohol affect the breast milk. It usually takes 2-3 hours before the alcohol in the system is expelled but for safety reasons, you can buy an “at-home milkscreen test” to detect the presence of alcohol in your milk.