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Reprod Toxicol. 2016 Aug;63:13-21. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2016.05.002. Epub 2016 May 10.

Breastfeeding and maternal alcohol use: Prevalence and effects on child outcomes and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

Author information

1
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Nutrition Research Institute, United States; The University of New Mexico, Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Addictions, United States; Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, South Africa. Electronic address: philip_may@unc.edu.
2
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Nutrition Research Institute, United States.
3
The University of New Mexico, Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Addictions, United States.
4
Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, South Africa.
5
State University of New York, Buffalo, Department of Pediatrics, United States.
6
University of Cape Town, Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, South Africa.
7
Stanford University School of Medicine, Departments of Pathology and Pediatrics, United States.
8
Stellenbosch University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, South Africa; Medical Research Council of South Africa, Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drug Research Unit, South Africa.
9
Sanford Research, University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, United States.
10
California State University, Northridge, United States.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Determine any effects that maternal alcohol consumption during the breastfeeding period has on child outcomes.

METHODS:

Population-based samples of children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), normally-developing children, and their mothers were analyzed for differences in child outcomes.

RESULTS:

Ninety percent (90%) of mothers breastfed for an average of 19.9 months. Of mothers who drank postpartum and breastfed (MDPB), 47% breastfed for 12 months or more. In case control analyses, children of MDPB were significantly lighter, had lower verbal IQ scores, and more anomalies in comparisons controlling for prenatal alcohol exposure and final FASD diagnosis. Utilizing a stepwise logistic regression model adjusting for nine confounders of prenatal drinking and other maternal risks, MDPB were 6.4 times more likely to have a child with FASD than breastfeeding mothers who abstained from alcohol while breastfeeding.

CONCLUSIONS:

Alcohol use during the period of breastfeeding was found to significantly compromise a child's development.

KEYWORDS:

Alcohol; Breastfeeding; Child health and development; Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD); Pregnancy

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