Breastfeeding and Alcohol

Recently, a question emerged about the impacts of alcohol on a nursing baby.  This is definitely in the ballpark of the prevention conversation, but has a different quality.  Since breastfeeding is enjoying somewhat of a resurgence in North America (after years of some definite banner waving for human-made formulae), this is an important conversation to have in the context of preventing FASD.  A quick Google of the topic points to a recent article related to the topic.  Unlike the conversation around the potential harms that toxins can have on development in utero, the conversation around breastfeeding infants is much more fractured.  There is a full range of “advice” online for interested parents from total abstinence to “pumping and dumping” for a certain amount of time after consuming alcohol.  The main conclusion is that, if a nursing mother were to imbibe, that she ought to do so very moderately so as to diminish the potential for negative neurological impact for the baby.  Of course, the most certain thing to do would be to abstain completely at this important developmental time.

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