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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1998 Oct;22(7):1389-92.

Short-term effects of maternal alcohol consumption on lactational performance.

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Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-3308, USA.


Previous research demonstrated that breast-feeding infants consumed significantly less milk during the immediate hours after their mothers consumed an acute dose of alcohol when compared with a nonalcoholic beverage. The present study tested the hypothesis that maternal alcohol consumption decreases the amount of milk available to the infant and alters milk composition in the short term. To this aim, 22 lactating women were tested on 2 days separated by 1 week; the women reported that they drank very little during pregnancy, but significantly increased alcohol intake during lactation. Each woman drank a 0.3 g/kg dose of alcohol in orange juice on one testing day and orange juice alone on the other; the order was counterbalanced. Immediately before drinking the beverage (baseline) and 2 hr after (postconsumption), women expressed their milk by using an electric breast pump until no milk had been secreted from either breast for 5 min. Although there was no difference in the energy content of the milk, maternal alcohol consumption slightly, but significantly, reduced the amount of milk produced by the lactating mother. These findings underscore the importance of determining whether and when infants compensate for the reductions in intake experienced at the breast following maternal alcohol consumption and how such changes impact on mother-infant interaction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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