Doctors unanimously assert that alcohol and breastfeeding are not compatible. Even small doses of alcohol inhibit the normal development of the baby and contribute to the occurrence of diseases and abnormalities. But what about beer and breastfeeding?
For most nursing mothers, alcohol is a forbidden product. However, many young parents think that beer has a fabulous effect on lactation. In addition, there are many brands of non-alcoholic beer on sale now. But can beer help increase the amount of milk? Let’s find out together.
Are Beer and Breastfeeding Compatible?
Some researchers say that beer and breastfeeding are compatible. But a mother must follow some rules of drinking beer while breastfeeding. This opinion has developed due to the fact that the composition of the drink includes brewer’s yeast. This component has useful properties.
Yeast contains vitamins B1, B2, and D2, which favorably affect the body:
- B1 improves metabolism, restores strength, relieves depression;
- B2 stabilizes the skin, improves its structure and appearance;
- D2 strengthens the teeth and promotes hair growth.
If you feel the urgent need to drink beer, then your body needs these vitamins.
There is no need to drink beer to make up for these supplies. These useful elements can be received from other products. Increase the dose of bran, whole grain bread, vegetables, and sour-milk products.
If you still want to drink beer, then it is better to choose non-alcoholic one. The presence of hops and barley in the beer will improve the mood of the mother and the production of hormones. Carbohydrates and minerals will become a source of nutrients. What’s more, there is a minimum amount of alcohol in non-alcoholic beer.
Drinking Beer and Breastfeeding: the Pros and Cons of Beer
It’s not a secret that beer has both pros and cons.
Good beer contains, as a rule, hops and barley malt. These are natural ingredients that cannot directly harm your health and the health of your baby.
On the other hand, yeasts which are also included in its composition can cause increased gas formation, bloating, and colic in the baby.
But the main disadvantage of beer is alcohol content which affects you and your baby in every way.
- There are no researches that prove the benefits of beer for lactation. It contains various substances that can affect the production of milk but this effect can be harmful instead of beneficial.
- All useful substances beer contains can be received from other products. Harmful elements (such as fusel oils) practically kill all the “benefits” of this drink.
- A nursing mother can drink no more than 0.5 pt of low-alcoholic beer or a maximum of a pint of non-alcoholic beer per day without harm to the baby’s health. It is also important to wait until the baby is at least 3 months old. Before drinking, make sure that your child is healthy.
Beer Improves Lactation: Is It a Myth or not?
On the Internet, you can often find a lot of stories when beer has increased the amount of some mothers’ milk. Indeed, it may seem that with the help of this alcoholic drink there has become more milk. However, it is self-deception. Beer does not help to improve lactation.
It is proved that beer accumulates in the tissues. As a result, they swell and stretch. That’s why a mother can feel a rush of milk after drinking beer. In this case, breastfeeding is difficult. Alcohol detains breast milk, and it becomes hard for the child to suck.
It is better to drink more liquid to increase lactation. There are natural juices, drinking water, tea, and dairy products.
Remember that a large amount of alcohol will do irreparable harm to the baby!
Does Beer Increase the Amount of Breast Milk?
Beer has no magic properties. The milk rush may happen because of drinking something hot, massage of the neck-collar zone, the sauna, and even at the moment when a loving mother looks at the picture of her baby while at work!
It happens due to the hormone oxytocin which is most actively produced in the body in response to suckling by the baby, and also under the influence of heat, relaxing massage, stroking, and just pleasant emotions.
The sensation of a rush of milk after drinking beer can be connected with the expansion of the vessels and the relaxation of the milk ducts. Another option – this feeling is simply an indication of the pleasure experienced by the nursing mother, having allowed herself a tasty but “forbidden” drink.
Only the first glass of beer while breastfeeding causes a reaction like this because it only slightly increases the alcohol content in the blood. Once the level of alcohol becomes higher, the beer will cause the opposite effect.
Ethyl alcohol has the property of blocking the secretion of milk because it reduces the level of oxytocin in the blood. So, the breast seems to be full but the baby starts to apply more often to the breast and sucks less milk.
A nursing mom can misinterpret such a state for a rush of a lot of milk. But the baby gets less of it because it becomes harder to suck. The mammary gland doesn’t help the child in this process because alcohol blocks the secretion of milk.
Beer and Breastfeeding: Harmful Effects on the Child
- Delay in the motor development of the baby. Alcohol-free beer is not an exception. Despite the name, the drink still contains a small dose of alcohol;
- Sleep disturbance, apathy, and weakness;
- The risk of hypoglycaemia;
- The drink detains fluid in the body and disrupts the outflow of breast milk;
- Increase of heart rate and lower blood pressure;
- Occurrence of colic, gassing, inflammation of the esophagus, stomach, or intestines;
- Frequent consumption of beer subsequently leads to alcohol addiction in the baby in future.
Rules for Drinking Beer and Breastfeeding
Episodic consumption of alcoholic beverages will not affect breastfeeding and will not harm the baby. Therefore, if you really want a beer you can drink a little. However, during lactation you should strictly follow these rules:
- Non-alcoholic beer contains 0.5-1.5% alcohol. You can drink no more than a pint of the drink;
- Weak beer (no more than 6% alcohol content) can be drunk occasionally (no more than 0.5 pt);
- Before drinking any beer, make sure that your child doesn’t have an allergic reaction to hops, barley, and other beer components;
- Any alcoholic beverages, including non-alcoholic beer, cannot be drunk for at least three months after delivery;
- Do not drink canned beer since it contains a lot of preservatives;
- Before drinking alcohol, feed the baby. After drinking, wait until alcohol is completely withdrawn from your body. The withdrawal time depends on the weight of the mother and the type of drink. For a woman weighing 120 pounds after an intake of 0.5 pt of beer it will take an average of two hours;
- If even after a sip of beer a strong intoxication comes, then alcoholic beverages should be urgently excluded. This indicates a lack of enzymes for the absorption of alcohol in your body;
- If after drinking beer you notice deterioration in the child’s well-being, then it is not recommended to drink anymore while breastfeeding;
- Do not drink on an empty stomach! This will increase the time of alcohol removal from the body.
Additional Information About Drinking Beer and Breastfeeding
The alcohol enters the digestive tract and stays there for about 20 minutes. Then it moves to the intestines where the absorption takes place. Alcohol is released into the blood and processed for 10 minutes. The maximum concentration of alcohol in the blood stays for an hour and then it gradually withdraws.
The baby will receive the largest dose of alcohol if you breastfeed 30-60 minutes after drinking beer. Therefore, it is important to wait for the complete withdrawal of alcohol from your body. As it’s been mentioned earlier, a mother weighing 120 lb. will need at least two hours.
The longer the time interval between alcohol intake and breastfeeding is, the better. If you are afraid of negative consequences, then you can express milk before drinking.
Thus, occasionally you can drink non-alcoholic or low-alcoholic beer in small doses. A one-time thing will not cause serious damage.