Presentation Information

Ted Greiner

Alcohol Consumption During Lactation

  • Speaker: Ted Greiner , PhD (International Nutrition)
  • Presentation Type:
  • Duration: 60 Mins
  • Credits: 1 CERP, 1 Nursing CEU, 1 CME, 0.1 Midwifery CEU, 1 Dietetic CEU

Moderate alcohol use by breastfeeding women appears to be relatively common. Alcohol concentrates in breast milk at levels similar to maternal blood, peaking at 30-60. Most studies find no link with the duration of breastfeeding. However, seven studies have found a link with a shorter duration of exclusive breastfeeding. Alcohol affects oxytocin release, leading to reductions in breast milk consumption in the following hours and reduces infant sleep, both temporary if the mother does not continue to drink. These effects on the infant and the breastfeeding process could be interpreted by mothers as signs of infant dissatisfaction with their breast milk, “insufficient milk,” or other causes for premature supplementation. Chronic alcohol consumption may have a number of more serious effects, including on infant development, but research is limited. Younger infants tolerate alcohol worse, so abstention or avoidance of infant exposure for the first months of breastfeeding may be wise. Messages to mothers on this issue are conflicting, confusing and often outdated. Too little is done to teach mothers how to reduce infant exposure. Research is needed in different cultures into whether various forms of cautionary messages are likely to discourage breastfeeding.