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Julie Mennella <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Lactation Information and Discussion <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 21 Feb 1999 14:01:54 -0500
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This topic has been discussed several times during the past few
years (see archives).  Just to clarify some of the science that has
been done.  The only epidemiological study on alcohol and
breastfeeding that has been done was published in the New England
Journal of Medicine 1989;321:425-30.  The study was on 400 infants.
They found that infants of nursing mothers who drank at least 1-2
drinks PER DAY (whether it was with pizza or not) were at risk for a
slight motor impairment at 1 year.  Infants of women who drank less
than one drink daily were not different (in terms of mental and motor
development) than infants of nursing moms who did not drink at all.
They controlled for more than 100 variables including smoking,
drinking during pregnancy, etc.

If you look at the Feb 1990 issue of The Journal, you can find the
answer to the question, perhaps the effects on motor development were
due to changes in parenting?  It appears not.  The infants of
women who drank one drink or more per day had significantly lower
psychomotor scores than infants of women who were heavy drinkers
(1-2 drinks per day or binge drinkers) but stopped breastfeeding
earlier or did not nurse.  "Thus, it appears to be not the behavior
of the drinking mother, but the ethanol in her breast milk that is
associated with decreased motor development."

Julie Mennella, Ph.D.
Monell Chemical Senses Center
3500 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3308

Tel: 215.898.9230
Fax: 215.898.2084
Email: [log in to unmask]