Alcoholism is obviously a crippling addiction and we all know that it can do tremendous damage to babies in utero. But additional research is showing that new moms need to avoid the bottle too. Just because the baby is born, doesn’t mean you have free reign to continue bad habits; particularly when you look at the serious risks associated with drinking and breastfeeding.
According to a new article in The Daily Mail, alcohol in breast milk can severely impact developing babies’ brain cells. It also reduces their thinking and reasoning abilities, potentially causing permanent damage that can live with these children for the rest of their lives.
There is also the deficiency component, as breast milk tainted with alcohol does not provide the vital nutrients needed for babies to grow and mature. And let’s not forget that being inebriated around an infant creates tremendous risks as well. Not only is your judgment impaired, your cognitive functions are severely impacted; raising the risk for an accident while holding a baby.
The common misconception is that drinking is ok after a baby comes to term. While we will all agree that expectant mothers should NEVER touch harmful substances, often times addicted parents feel that it is ok to resume their destructive behavior after a healthy newborn is delivered. Nothing could be further from the truth.
As the research showed, no alcohol should be consumed during the breastfeeding phase. Even a casual glass of wine could lead to a harmful transfer of alcoholic substances. And sadly, this is a fact that many new parents don’t realize.
“The safest option is to abstain from alcohol completely during both pregnancy and breastfeeding,” study author Louisa Gibson explained to The Mail. “This study suggests that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption, with every extra drink causing a little bit more harm.”
And this research was not conducted lightly. Over 5,000 mothers and babies were analyzed over a course of 10 years. Throughout that time, the development of children exposed to alcoholic breast milk was measured and significant issues were uncovered, from babyhood through middle school age. Further data showed that alcohol affected the daily functions of each of these babies, making it harder for them to focus and fall asleep.
Clearly if you have the urge to drink while nursing a young child, there is a serious problem afoot. If you sense this is happening to you or a new mom that you are close with, please reach out and get in touch with someone who can help.