Alcohol consumption can reduce a mother's milk supply.
For centuries, doctors and midwives around the world have claimed that alcohol, especially beer, helps improve the quality and amount of milk a nursing mother produces. A new study, however, shows that alcohol consumption by lactating women reduces, rather than increases, milk supply.
The study setup was simple: Subjects consumed a moderate amount of orange juice and alcohol in one session and straight orange juice in the next. Researchers monitored factors such as amounts of specific hormones during and after nursing and the amount of milk produced. They found that the alcohol resulted in a decrease of oxytocin, which decreased milk production. Alcohol might relax a new mother who is nervous about breast feeding, but it may result in less milk for the infant.
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