The August 2013 issue of Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine features an article about common breastfeeding myths and was written by OLS owner Danielle Downs Spradlin. Some of the myths the article explores include myths about maternal diet, medications for nursing mothers, and alcohol consumption while nursing.
Our favorite excerpt is on beer and milk supply:
Myth: Drinking a beer daily improves milk supply.
Where it comes from: Fermented nutrition beers for pregnant and lactating women are described throughout historic documents from ancient Egypt to more recent times. Drinks called “small beers” were regularly recommended for women and children as well and had low alcohol content. These fermented drinks were low in foodborne illness (because of alcohol fermentation) and high in nutrients because of the grains they were made from. Brewing wines and beers has been of great cultural significance for all of written history.
What science says: Alcohol inhibits milk production. Alcohol may impact the flavor of human milk and cause babies to nurse less, leaving mom with fuller breasts and thus believing she is making more milk. Alcohol also slows the milk ejection reflex. However, animal studies have shown that some of the compounds in certain grains may improve the blood level of prolactin, the hormone responsible for milk production. If these compounds have the same effect on human milk production, eating nutritiously prepared whole grains is probably more ideal.