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Alcohol in breast milk can have serious consequences for the child
The consumption of alcohol during pregnancy should of course generally be avoided. But what about drinking alcohol when mothers breastfeed their babies. Researchers have now found that consuming alcohol in nursing mothers causes their children to develop reduced thinking skills.
The researchers at Macquarie University in Sydney found that when breastfeeding mothers consume alcohol, it affects the thinking skills of children aged six to seven years. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Pediatrics".
Why is alcohol problematic while breastfeeding?
Experts believe that alcohol can damage baby's brain cells or make breast milk less nutritious, which researchers believe leads to deficiency symptoms. The safest way is to completely avoid alcohol during pregnancy and lactation, explains study author of Louisa Gibson from Macquarie University in Sydney. The current study suggests that there is no safe amount of alcohol for women who are breastfeeding because each additional drink does a little more harm.
How was the research carried out?
For their investigation, the researchers analyzed the data from more than 5,000 mothers and babies born in 2004. The health status of the adolescents was then assessed by the doctors every two years.
Alcohol affects breast milk
The results show that children's thinking skills are not affected if their mothers drink during childhood, but the children are not breastfed. This lack of association in babies who have never been breast-fed indicates that the reduction in thinking skills was a direct result of alcohol in breast milk and was not due to other social issues related to drinking, Gibson said.
Alcohol appears to affect brain cell communication
Alcohol affects the ability of babies to sleep and eat, which makes them less sensitive to environmental stimulants. According to the experts, this could influence communication between the brain cells of small children. The results also suggest that smoking while breastfeeding does not affect adolescent cognitive skills. However, experts and critics argue that the latter is unlikely since cigarettes are known to affect fetal health. (as)