Alcohol consumption during lactation alters the cognitive development of the child

The lactation It has a very important role in the development of every child. Not only because thanks to it ensures proper nutrition during the first months of life in babies, but also because it helps prevent numerous health problems in children and also helps to promote a strong bond between mother and child.

For this reason, precautions must be taken to ensure that this process reports the greatest possible amount of benefits to the youngest children. This also means paying attention to what the mother eats, drinks or her lifestyle while breastfeeding her children. An example is the intake of alcohol during lactation, which can cause an alteration in the cognitive development of children.


Alcohol in breast milk

This warning comes from the study published in the journal Pediatrics where it is indicated that the exposure to alcohol through breast milk has remarkable consequences in the development of the smallest. Proof of this is that in the group of babies analyzed, when 6-7 years they had a lower cognitive capacity.

Another proof of how alcohol was responsible for this reduction in cognitive abilities was the fact that in those mothers who did not breastfeed their children, the aforementioned problems were not detected. That is to say, in the absence of transmission of breast milk, alcohol does not reach the smallest and therefore does not produce this disturbance in this field.


This study is not the first to warn of the risks of alcohol consumption during the period of lactation. From the Association for the Promotion and Scientific and Cultural Research of Breastfeeding the ethyl substances are qualified as "unsafe"and they assign a" somewhat risk "to breastfeeding.

From this entity it is ensured that the consumption of alcohol can cause sedation, detriment, irritability and psychomotor retardation in the infant. In the event that the intake of these substances occurs, it is advisable to allow a minimum time of 2-3 hours to ensure that these drinks have disappeared from the bloodstream of the mothers and do not reach the baby's body.

Recommendations during lactation

The aforementioned study warns of the consequences of alcohol consumption while breastfeeding. A way to know what is not to do in this period, but what is recommended? From the Breastfeeding Committee of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics The following tips are offered:


- Breastfeeding from the first moment. Unless the doctors indicate another criterion, the best thing is that after the birth and the first encounter between baby and mother, the little one is placed on the woman's breast so that her instinct makes her start on her own to breastfeed.

- Chest on demand. It will be the child who decides when he wants to take the breast. The mission of the mother will be to be attentive to these claims in order to feed her son. It will also be necessary to take note of the hours that must pass between intake and intake to ensure that the child is well nourished.

- Exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months. AEP recommends exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months and with adequate complementary feeding, up to two years of life or more. Up to half a year of age, breast milk provides all the necessary nutrients and the earlier introduction of other foods can cause problems.

Damián Montero

Video: Drinking alcohol while breastfeeding could affect child's development study finds


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