Great news for new mothers who combine breastfeeding with the delight of an occasional alcoholic beverage. A scientific study in Australia showed that a few glasses of wine or beer are absolutely not harmful for the kids who receive their breast milk. The researchers even suggest that the opposite might be true, as the kids of drinking moms had ‘more favourable results for personal-social development’ once they were 12 months old. We have to add that most drinking moms imbibed their beverages at strategical times, to get as little alcohol as possible into their breast milk, so the benefits for mother and child came not as much on a physical but on a mental level. Simply put, both mother and child flourished when mommy could take the edge off with one or two glasses of wine from time to time.
These test results were part of a prospective Australian birth cohort study of pregnant women recuited between 2008 and 2013, funded by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) . All participants had to be at least 16 years old and both woman and and fetus had to be without major medical complications. The data were collected during each trimester and 8 weeks and 12 months after the kid was born. A total of 457 women in hospitales in New South Wales joined the study. 450 (98.5%) of them said they breastfed their child after birth. 410 (91.1%) did so for 8 weeks and 206 (45.9%) kept breastfeeding for the full 12 months. Based on their standard alcohol intake the new mothers were categorized in 5 groups: the abstinent (no alcohol), low intake (less than 14 drinks a week, less than 3 drinks per occasion), moderate intake (less than 14 a week, between 3 and 5 per occasion), risky intake (less than 14 a week, but more than 5 per occasion) and heavy intake (more than 14 drinks a week).
As most participants were categorized as abstinent or mothers with a low alcohol intake, the only hard conclusions in this study could be drawn from the differences between drinkers and non-drinkers. The fact that their mothers were or weren’t drinking did not seem to have a clear effect on the number of milk feeds a day or the sleep patterns of the infants. However there was difference in personal-social development, as the report stated: “the only significant finding was that infants whose mothers drank alcohol while breastfeeding at 8 weeks postpartum were less likely to score below the cut-off point or within the monitoring zone on the personal-social interactions scale at 12 months compared with infants of mothers who abstained.” So basically the kids who received breast milk from drinking moms at 8 weeks old were better developed once they were 1 year old.
The rapport also said: “There may be a threshold at which alcohol consumption while breastfeeding exerts adverse effects, which was not detected here.” So basically there were no test results that proved more than low alcohol intake by their mothers was harmful for infants, but this might just have been because the researchers only found very small groups of moderate, risky and heavy drinkers. They hope to continue their study, mainly focussing on these groups in the future. If you want to see all the facts from the study so far, please click here. For now, we are pretty satisfied with the results so far, as they prove once more that a little alcohol is far from harmful. To all the new mommies out there, bottoms up!
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