Mariah Carey: Booby Trapped! #dembabies, CPS, Booze, & Breastfeeding

Have you heard the latest on Nick Canon & Mariah Carey?  The couple welcomed twins Monroe (girl) & Moroccan (boy) on April 30th.  Congrats!

While they were still in the hospital, Nick and Mariah had some unexpected company.  In-laws? Long-lost aunt?

Nope. CPS: Child Protective Services!

You’re probably wondering why CPS paid the new parents a visit before they’d even been discharged.  The details are fuzzy, but it seems to all have stemmed from some [uninformed!] advice given to Mariah: drink a beer to make your breast milk come in faster.

BOOBY TRAP!

Even celebs aren’t immune to them.  And hey, before we go any further: HUGE kudos to Mariah for breastfeeding her TWINS! You go, Babe!!

So, in an effort to bring her milk in faster, rumor has it that Mariah sipped on a Guinness. And from there, we don’t know what happened, but someone reported the new family to CPS because they thought the new mom was getting boozed with #dembabies.

The new parents tweet about #dembabies!

So what’s the truth when it comes to alcohol and breastfeeding? We asked Diana Cassar-Uhl, IBCLC to shed some light on the subject:

Can breastfeeding moms drink alcohol?

Brought to you by PumpEase Hands-Free Pumping Supports

A small amount of alcohol, generally defined as one or two drinks, is considered “acceptable” for a breastfeeding mother, by most sources. The amount of alcohol a breastfeeding baby might receive through his mother’s milk if she’s consuming one drink or less a day has not been proven to be harmful to the baby. Since the level of alcohol in a mother’s bloodstream peaks about 30-60 minutes after the drink is consumed (60-90 minutes if taken with food), a mother concerned about alcohol and breastfeeding might choose to have her glass of wine or beer immediately after nursing her baby, so that her body will metabolize any alcohol she consumes before the next feeding.

Should breastfeeding moms “pump & dump”? (Express milk while and pour it down the drain.)

Breast milk does not “store” alcohol; as a mother’s blood alcohol level decreases, so does the amount of alcohol in her milk, therefore, “pumping and dumping” will not influence how much alcohol gets to the baby … only time before breastfeeding again will. Milk expressed while a mom is inebriated shouldn’t be given to her baby, though.

Will having a drink help let-down?

Many moms have heard that an alcoholic beverage or two might help them relax, improving their milk-ejection reflex (“let down”). In a 2001 study, it was found that babies tend to breastfeed more frequently in the 4 hours immediately following ingestion of alcohol, however, in that time, the babies transferred less milk, then compensated for the calorie deficit by breastfeeding more in the following 8-16 hours (Mennella 2001).

This can be attributed to a significant decrease in oxytocin while the alcohol is in the mother’s body, actually inhibiting milk-ejection/let down (Mennella, Pepino, & Teff, 2005).

Is beer or alcohol a galactagogue? (galactagogue=a substance that increases milk production)

What you may have heard about beer being a galactagogue might be partially true, but the alcohol is not what influences the milk production – it’s a substance in the barley! Therefore, non-alcoholic beer may have a similar effect if your goal in drinking the beer is to improve your milk production (Koletzko & Lehner, 2000). Keep in mind that the best way to make more milk is to let baby breastfeed more … it’s what your body expects and reacts most readily to.

That’s the scoop on booze and breastfeeding.  Chances are, Mariah was advised to have a beer to “make more milk” or “maker her milk come in faster” – though we now know better: drinking beer won’t bring a new mom’s milk in faster (that’s a process driven by hormones) and the best way to boost supply is putting baby to breast.  Well-intentioned but misinformed? Just a ploy to sell a story to the tabloids? We may never know.

Let’s raise a glass to one less Booby Trap!

Special thanks to Diana Cassar-Uhl, IBCLC & La Leche League Leader, for giving us the scoop on this subject.  Diana hopes to work in public service as an advisor to policymakers in maternal/child health and nutrition. Mother to three breastfed children, Diana has served as a clarinetist on active Army duty in the West Point Band since 1995. She enjoys running, writing, skiing, and cross-stitching if there’s ever any spare time. You can find more of Diana’s work and read her blog, “Normal, like breathing,” at http://DianaIBCLC.com.

Image credit: MariahCarey.com



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7 Responses to Mariah Carey: Booby Trapped! #dembabies, CPS, Booze, & Breastfeeding

  1. WAY TO GO Mariah! Breastfeed those babies! Someone just wanted to get her in trouble.. I mean really, she was still in the hospital! Back off people, this new mummie is doing fantastic and I love how the new daddy is right next to her defending her! Looks like TONS of support!!!!!

  2. Kristin says:

    This is so ridicuolus. One beer to help mother relax is NOT going to harm baby. I have been having a beer or glass of wine since my son was born and I am still breastfeeding him at 9 months with no ill effect. Shame on CPS for sticking their noses where they weren’t needed and bringing a mother, who is doing the absolute best thing she can for her babies, bad publicity.

    http://www.ourgrowinggarden.com

  3. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was given the same advice by a waitress at an Irish pub/restaurant we frequented – I shrugged it off at the time but when you receive advice from a nurse or doctor, you’re much more likely to take it.

    I’m all for a new (nursing) mom having a beer or glass of wine now and then to relax but am so annoyed that a medical professional gave her this bogus bit of old wives’ tale-flavored advice. Though well-meaning, non-lactation experts should stick to their fields and leave the evidence-based breastfeeding tips to the IBCLCs and CLCs. This bad advice is downright irresponsible. Luckily the harm done by one beer is probably very minor but what if they had given really harmful advice?

  4. Karissa says:

    It’s actually the hops that increase milk production.
    She should have had an IPA instead of a stout ;)
    Truly nothing at all is needed to bring the milk.
    It’s so ridiculous that they hassled her about that though.
    Another reason to prefer homebirth I guess.

  5. Leah says:

    As a homebrewer and nursing mother, I have had an interest in both sides of this issue.

    The barley and hops would seem to have nothing to do with it. Particularly a “dark” beer – there is no difference between the ingredients in a dark beer and a light beer except that the malted barley is roasted for a longer time (like toasting bread to a dark color). The hops could potentially affect milk but as far as I know there are no studies on the different ingredients in beer and their effect on lactation.

    The only studies have been on a generic “beer.” There are so many different types of beer, though, that this is problematic when making health-related pronouncements. I mean, someone drinking a 2.5% Berliner Weisse is going to have a very different experience than someone drinking a 12% Imperial Stout. The above study regarding the effect of alcohol on MER is the only one I know of, though I’d be very interested in learning more about the differences between alcohol and stress with regard to their effect on breastfeeding success.

    My personal theory is that the “have a beer to bring your milk in” advice stems from situations where women were having stress-related difficulties with the newborn stage and newborn feeding. Getting advice to have a beer after 9 months of abstinence would have likely helped to both make the mom feel better and more normal about her situation and also given her that warm/calm feeling you can get after a small amount of alcohol. The reduction in stress/anxiety/tension at that point may well have helped her feel better about breastfeeding and mothering a newborn, and helped her trust her body by reducing anxiety.

    I doubt we’ll ever see a randomized controlled trial to look into that theory, but I think that is what happens to a lot of women who then go on to pass the advice on to others and so on. Generally couching their advice in something medical-sounding like “hops” or “dark beers only” or “barley” then helps them sound like they’re doing something medical, which in our culture is revered and trusted. Saying “a beer will help you relax and won’t hurt your baby” doesn’t have the same ring to it, but would be more honest and no more harmful to the nursing dyad.

  6. While it is true breastmilk does not store alcohol and it instead metabolized, pumping and dumping is beneficial to avoid plugged milk ducts, decreased milk supply and even mastitis.

  7. Annarella Prime says:

    When I gave birth in 2007, my well-meaning (but I’ll informed) parents turned up with a crate of Guinness for me – they told me that it helped my mum feed me when I was born! Apparently her doctor had recommended it for the iron or something… (maybe they hadn’t heard of leafy greens!) To keep the peace i graciously accepted and my hubby enjoyed them!! Maybe it all stems from when Brits drank beer because the water was contaminated – after all, alcohol has cleansing properties.
    My view now, breastfeeding a fourth (each time for over a year) that if you want to enjoy a social glass of alcohol, the best time is while you’re actually feeding – that way it’ll be through you by the next 3 hour feed! And a fortnight of wine drinking in France recently was really enjoyed!

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