Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Beer, Babes and Boobs

As I was writing a post about beer on another site, I realized that folks may question a breastfeeding mother who openly admits she consumes alcohol.

The La Leche League is very clear about its stance on alcohol consumption for a breastfeeding mother.

The effects of alcohol on the breastfeeding baby are directly related to the amount the mother ingests. When the breastfeeding mother drinks occasionally or limits her consumption to one drink or less per day, the amount of alcohol her baby receives has not been proven to be harmful.

Dr. Jack Newman, member of the LLLI Health Advisory Council, says this in his handout "More Breastfeeding Myths":

Reasonable alcohol intake should not be discouraged at all. As is the case with most drugs, very little alcohol comes out in the milk. The mother can take some alcohol and continue breastfeeding as she normally does. Prohibiting alcohol is another way we make life unnecessarily restrictive for nursing mothers.

Also, the ole "Pump n' Dump" maneuver is not needed. Your body produces milk in a quasi-JIT environment - pumping n' dumping does not get rid of the alcohol any faster:

As alcohol leaves the bloodstream, it leaves the breastmilk. Since alcohol is not "trapped" in breastmilk (it returns to the bloodstream as mother's blood alcohol level declines), pumping and dumping will not remove it. Pumping and dumping, drinking a lot of water, resting, or drinking coffee will not speed up the rate of the elimination of alcohol from your body.

Obviously, the message is not that a breastfeeding mother should go tie one on at her local pub. However, it seems clear to me that she should be able to enjoy an alcoholic beverage of her choice while relaxing and watching the latest episode of her favorite polygamists. Say, a pint of Boulevard Lunar, perhaps?


Leah said...

This is a pet issue for me as I'm a homebrewer. I get so angry when people get all up in my grill about having a beer. So, I researched the crap out of it, and decided that there is no reason not to have the occasional beer. And everyone else can go to hell.

Colleen said...

Lol Leah! Amen to that! Thanks for posting this. It is important that people know the facts before they judge.

Jenn said...

huh, that's nice to know......