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.
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.
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?
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