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Article Alerts Nurses That Alcohol and Breastfeeding May Not Mix

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An upcoming article in a women’s health nursing magazine attempts to dispel the notion that postpartum women should drink beer to stimulate the production and release of breast milk.

The article, in the December/January edition of Nursing for Women’s Health, mentions eight common myths about the consumption of alcohol while breastfeeding and guides nurses in providing care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies.

The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, which publishes the journal, hopes the article will spur discussions between nurses and mothers about drinking alcohol while breastfeeding. Nurses should note that drinking alcohol while breastfeeding provides no health benefits to the mother or baby, and may have long-term effects on the baby’s physical and mental development, according to an AWHONN news release.

“The message about not consuming alcohol during pregnancy is very clear, but unfortunately after the baby is born, many mothers do not receive specific advice about drinking alcohol while breastfeeding,” Karen Peddicord, RNC, PhD, the CEO of AWHONN, said in the release. “This is why it is essential for nurses to be knowledgeable of the facts about alcohol consumption and breastfeeding. That way, they can provide patients with the most accurate information for making healthy decisions.”

The article specifically addresses the following myths that may previously have been presented as facts:

• Alcohol is a nutritious supplement for lactating mothers.
• Alcohol increases milk production.
• Alcohol promotes infant sleep.
• Alcohol is metabolized by the mother before it passes to the baby.
• If the mother drinks alcohol, there is no effect on the baby.
• Drinking improves the duration of breastfeeding.
• The size and amount of alcohol in drinks does not matter.
• There is zero tolerance for breastfeeding mothers drinking alcohol.

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