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Nonsense and Body Sense

line infant gazing over shoulder

There are a couple of products out that claim to help breastfeeding mothers. These are another example of ‘booby traps’. Avoid these subterfuges.

One product supposedly can measure the alcohol content in your breast milk. Then it will confirm whether you should pump and dump. First of all, if you are drinking a lot, you will feel it and probably even smell it. That’s a sign you’ve been drinking too much. Avoid getting drunk.

You can have a drink while you are nursing, and it won’t go right to your baby. Your liver processes alcohol and it dissipates in your blood. A very minimal amount (about 2%)* gets into your milk. Alcohol doesn’t collect in your breast milk fat and pumping doesn’t help move it out faster.

You can nurse your baby, have a drink and your alcohol level will be very low. Generally speaking, one or two drinks is fine. One drink will not cause fetal alcohol syndrome or fetal alcohol effect because your baby is not a fetus anymore.

Spend your money on a babysitter rather than this alcohol test kit.

There is another product that supposedly can detect levels of DHA in breast milk. There are some answers we should be clear about before putting money into this.

  1. Do we know exactly what level of DHA any particular infant needs at any given time?
  2. Do we know exactly how each mother and infant metabolizes DHA?
  3. What about other factors in the diet that might influence absorption or metabolism of DHA?

Breast milk will meet your child needs, your particular baby at that particular time. The fact is, even in a situation with suboptimal nutrition such as a refugee camp, children still thrive on breast milk. Babies in refugee camps who are breast fed are healthier, have lower rates of infection and gain weight better.

Remember this: Women throughout the world provide breast milk to their babies while eating widely varying diets. Filipino mothers eat something that Icelandic mothers don’t have and yet, both their babies thrive. That is good. Nourish the mother and nourish the child.

You are fine and good the way you are. Spend your money on something that truly satisfies your body and soul.

• Hale, Thomas. Medications and Mothers’ Milk, 2017 edition. Springer Publishing, 2017: 348-350.