The umbilical cord might be chopped off once the baby is born but the underlying bond between a mom and her child is irreplaceable and undetachable lifelong. Nutrition habits, exercise routines and stress levels of a pregnant mom affects the womb inside her as the fetus experiences her joys and sorrows, eats what the mum-to-be eats and grows accordingly. Even after childbirth, the nutrient quality of the food consumed by the new mum impacts the child strongly.
Alcohol & Breastfeeding
Anything that you drink or eat makes its way into your breastmilk and alcohol is no exception. One glass or two glasses, there is no recommended levels of alcohol that’s considered safe for a baby to drink. When you consume alcohol, it enters your breast milk at the same concentration as that found in your bloodstream. The infant could be exposed to only a small fraction of the alcohol his/her mom drinks, but one must also remember that a newborn eliminates alcohol from the body at only half the rate of an adult.
One might even hear of amazing folklore tales that insist that drinking alcohol improves breastmilk production, but research shows that drinking alcohol decreases breast milk production and further, presence of alcohol traces in breastmilk reduces milk consumption by as much as 20%.
A new study shows that children whose mothers consumed alcohol during lactation are likelier to experience dose-dependent reduction in cognitive skills at age 6 to 7 years, but the effect diminishes by 8 to 11 years. The study included 5107 infants who were assessed every two years. These infants were scored on three different streams and results showed that breast-fed infants whose moms consumed alcohol were likelier to have reduced scores at age 6 to 7 years. But there was no effect on babies who did not breast feed. Also, this association between alcohol consumption and cognitive decline was not present at ages 8 to 11 years owing to increased education in older children.
Alcohol concentrations in breast milk resemble those in the new mom’s blood immediately within 30 to 60 minutes of ingestion. The quantity of alcohol in breast milk is almost 5-6% of the maternal dose and newborns eliminate this at only about half the rate of adults.
One important element missing in the study is that, this study neither recorded the amount and frequency of milk consumed by the infant nor the timing of alcohol consumption. Also, smoking during breastfeeding affected the results in no way.
Balancing Feeding & Drinking
There is no need to drink during breastfeeding period but if you intend to have a social drink, try avoiding breastfeeding at least 2-3 hours after drinking. This gives enough time for the alcohol to leave your breast milk. Either feed before getting your drink or express some milk ahead of the function and feed the baby with this milk. Whatever it is, ensure to empty your breasts some way or the other, otherwise they may become overfull and start paining. Don’t be misled by false assumptions that pumping and dumping milk quickens the alcohol elimination process from your body. The only use of this process is that, it helps you to maintain your milk supply as well as prevent overfull breasts that can lead to extreme pain later on due to clogged milk.
Also, if you succumb to binge drinking, that is drinking more than five units of alcohol in one session, it makes you enter a different frame of mind and makes you less aware of your baby’s needs. If you drink alcohol, never share your bed or sofa with your little one as it can lead to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Prioritize your newborn’s health above everything else and you would be able to work out wonders. If you are looking for post-pregnancy weight loss programs that can take care of your nutrients as well as help you lose weight, get in touch with registered dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.