Alchohol and breast feeding

I don’t get what’s wrong with people. Here in Sweden, there’s this medical recommendation that it’s really not a good idea to drink alchohol when being pregnant or breast feeding (wonder why, it seems to be really good for us otherwise…). Apparently, yesterday there was this program on Swedish television, trying to expose that it’s not as bad as people think to have a couple of glasses of wine when breast feeding, not overly much alcohol will get into the baby. So what?

Are people so fucking egoistic that they just have to drink, even if it means risking their child’s health? If you can’t stay away from alcohol for 1-1½ years, don’t have a baby. Just go on living your destructive life.

Another thing that’s really annoying is that all expertice agree that, for those who can do it, breast feeding is extremely good for your baby and it keeps him/her healthy. But in many cultures, and we’re talking western societys here, it’s looked down upon as something filthy and bad. What the fuck! Stop being so damn egocentric and focus on what’s best for your baby’s development. What’s most important to you: your image and if people will frown their foreheads, or what’s best for what should be the most precious and important thing in your life?

27 Comments

  • Jere says:

    A few days ago, I read in a newspaper that breast feeding is, according to various studies, the most healthy option for your baby. Well, isn't that obvious! That's why breasts start producing milk god damnit. I don't understand people who deliberately opt to use a milk formula instead (well, unless the mother's breasts really don't produce enough milk, which can happen).

  • Chris says:

    It's amazing how emotional parents of young children can get if they fear that anything bad happens to children.

    I also think that the idea of raising early-alcoholics is not a very bright idea, but I can't understand why you get so furious.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Jere,

    I completely agree with you.

    Chris,

    It’s amazing how emotional parents of young children can get if they fear that anything bad happens to children.

    Absolutely, no argument here (me included, of course).

    …but I can’t understand why you get so furious

    In my opinion, it's really a terrible thing when people do things just out of egoistical reasons and for their own selfish pleasures and kicks, with the risk of their innocent children getting permanent damage for life. If you can't avoid putting yourself in the first room all the time, then you're not ready to have a baby. Simple as that.

  • Chris says:

    Okay, I completly agree with you. But I don't think these people are selfish, but dumb. Because even if you're selfish you don't want a disabled kid. I think these people just don't think enough – and imho this insensibility is even worse than egoism.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Chris,

    Agreed. Such dumbness/ignorance is even worse.

  • Kalle Wibeck says:

    Hi Robert, I saw the show last night and I don't agree that this has something to do with egoism at all.

    What they did in the show was that they took breast milk to a labotory after the mother had drank 2 glasses of wine. What they found out was that there where less alcohol in the breast milk (0.05%) than there where in Sprite Light (0.06%) not to mention the "alcohol free" light beer that contains about 2.25% alcohol.

    The show took the test results to the <a title="Visit http://www.slv.se&quot; href="http://www.slv.se/templates/SLV_EnglishStartpage.aspx?id=5059&quot; rel="nofollow">Swedish National Food Administration and tried to get an answer to why breast feeding mothers are recommended to not touch alcohol and if there where any scientific grounds for that recommendation.

    I don't think that the government should tell the masses that something is harmful unless it truly is!!

    Besides, the Finnish and Danish National Food Administration has already removed the non-alcohol recommendations as will the Swedish one during next year.

    Of course there's something completely different with pregnant mothers, and the TV show did make that very clear!

  • Cultural differences play a large part in what is/isn't recommended when pregnant I believe.

    Soft cheese, nuts, alcohol and of course smoking are regularly mentioned in the UK, but friends from Spain had never heard of not eating soft cheese when pregnant…

    I too am far more sensitive to childrens suffering since becoming a father – I even found watching Spielberg's AI really disturbing, and that was a robot kid?!

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Kalle,

    I've met a lot of women, call them dumb, egoistic or some other word that suits them, that have been drinking or smoking while pregnant and/or while breast feeding, and that has been purely out of just thinking about themselves and not about how it might affect their baby.

    When it comes to that test specifically, I can't really question the results from a technical point of view (although it makes me question the substances of Sprite Light and light beer). Since it's pretty clear that alcohol isn't that good for people in general, why take the risk just because one investigation says so?

    Also, what I mostly question is the message such a show conveys: just finding flaws in the recommendations and basically saying that it's ok for them do drink and breast feed, which will most likely give women an excuse to start drinking and then eventually some of them will most likely drink more and more than what's regarded "safe".

    I don’t think that the government should tell the masses that something is harmful unless it truly is!

    Well, this one can be discussed for a long time. 🙂

    Generally I agree with you, but when it comes to such a sensitive field as babies, I say better safe than sorry (which is probably how they reason too).

    Steve,

    Yes, cultural differences and different countries' standpoints do indeed play a major role in what's accepted or what is not.

    And the sensitivity part is really overwhelming, isn't it? 🙂

  • Kasper B says:

    Being a dad myself – living in a somewhat large city (Copenhagen)- I really think its not the glass of redwine when breastfeeding which is the problem, but instead the airpollution, the "not being able to sleep outside", the general stress.

    I know that it's important for the mother to be able to relax and refill the depots in order to produce enough fat milk. For some it's doing yoga, getting massages which does the trick to relaxation, for others it's a glass of redwine.

    If my "wife" (not really wed, but who cares anyways) – asks for a sip of wine when the next one pops out (april next year ;)) – then I open the bottle – and I'll open it fast, since my main priority is to support her as much as I can – it's the best way for us (male subjects) to ensure that the baby is getting along.

    */Kasper B

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Kasper,

    First, congratulations to the upcoming baby! 🙂

    When it comes to the environmental problems and stress in general for a new mom, it's absolutely true. As their partner we need to do whatever it takes to make them feel easy and calm so they're in the best condition for such a tough task.

    In the end, of course, it's the mother's call if she wants that sip of wine, but for me personally I'd really confirm that that's what she really wants, and suggest her not to drink it.

    It is people's call in the end to do what they feel is appropriate, but as I said above, I'd rather go for the "better safe than sorry"-stance. 🙂

  • Andrew Grimmer says:

    To be frank, your take on alcohol baffles me. I'm not quite sure what it is you dislike about it. Maybe you don't like the taste?? Or maybe you've never tried because it was made by the devil?

    I don't know… But there have been tests that have shown that 1 glass of red wine a day.. yes a whole glass.. is actually good for the human body! Just like laughter, it helps with stress and anxiety, and generally helps you lighten up!

    I've never come across any statistics that proove that when pregnant, having a sip of wine occasionally, kills your baby or gives it brain damage. I cannot see how the tiniest volume of alcohol would affect a baby, also a human, in a bad way.

    Please excuse my cynical mood but I'm english, I'm a student and am looking forward to going home for a drink! Can't start to imagine the way someone who has been carrying something the size of a small television inside them, for several months would be feeling!

    I stubbled upon this site whilst researching for a uni business project, in the attempt to launch a new and different light beer in Sweden. I think there is a lot to be said about alcoholism but to the same extent there is much to discuss about T-totallers.

    However I'm going home.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Andrew,

    If it isn't clear above, let me shortly explain:

    I don't have a problem with alchohol itself, and with people drinking. What I do have a problem is when media/studies say it's ok to drink, even if just a glass of red wine, which in many cases have been an excuse for pregnant/breast-feeding mothers to take a drink.

    That, in turn, has led to that some of them has started drinking more and more, until the level of alchohol intake has gotten dangerous for their baby. But maybe you haven't seen what I've seen.

    Anyway, that's the key point.

    If you've had a rough day and want to go home and have a drink, be my guest.

  • Satya says:

    Did you stop drinking while your wife was pregnant and breastfeeding ?

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Satya,

    I hardly ever drink anymore, so that's not an issue. Good question, though! 🙂

  • Yvonne says:

    I think that the concern over alcohol use by breastfeeding mothers has gotten out of control in this country, and clearly, in other countries as well. My cousin, who gave birth to her first child last year, was encouraged to have a beer if she was in the mood to do so post-birth. Her midwives were knowledgable, responsible, and laid-back individuals, not people who were purposely leading my cousin down a bad path to alcoholism and/or harming her baby in some way. I find it absurd that moderate drinking is truly harmful to a baby. I know plenty of women who abstained from drinking for 9 months, but wanted to enjoy the occasional glass of wine or beer whilst breastfeeding. They have since been raising healthy, well-adjusted children who are clearly not mentally stunted in some way.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Yvonne,

    NNo damage has to necessarily occur. But what I can't understand: why take the risk? Is having a glass of wine that important?

  • Yvonne says:

    As a woman who chooses to remain child-free for many reasons, I still have close relationships with many women who have recently given birth and breastfed their babies. There is SO much undue pressure on pregnant and nursing women, to the extent that most men could never comprehend. It is as though each mother is suddenly under observation for ALL of society, and people often have no reservations when it comes to passing judgment or openly making comments. I do not quite understand what would be wrong with a woman having a glass of beer or wine while nursing if it is okay'd by a midwife who herself drank a bit whilst nursing her own child.

    If you and your life partner choose not to imbibe alcohol for the 'well-being' of your own children, that is perfectly acceptable. However, I find it unacceptable for you to pass judgment on the choices of others, especially on those who are clearly not going on drinking binges, but simply savoring a bit of wine or beer.

    Also, I wholeheartedly concur that breastfeeding one's child should be applauded by society. However, if a woman can't/does not choose to nurse her child for personal reasons, I do not see that as something to be frowned upon or judged. I certanly don't view women who cannot/choose not to nurse as 'egocentric', but rather making a choice that might not be what you and your life partner would choose.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Yvonne,

    Thank you for your comment. I agree a 100% that the pressure put on women with babies, and how society follow their every step, is ridiculous.

    When it come to breast-feeding, I also look up to those who do it, but have the fullest respect and understanding that there can be thousands of reasons why breast-feeding isn't an option for other people.

    The one thing I don't agree with is:

    <blockquote cite="http://www.robertnyman.com/2005/10/18/alchohol-and-breast-feeding/#comment-59025"&gt;

    if it is okay’d by a midwife who herself drank a bit whilst nursing her own child.

    </blockquote

    Jut because nothing bad happened in that case doesn't necessarily mean it isn't dangerous. There are numerous things that our parent's generation regarding children that we would never dream about, so to me that argumentation doesn't stand.

    Otherwise, let me agree that, for example, one glass of wine maybe isn't dangerous in any way. However, as stated above, I would never take that risk (if that choice was up to me). Why take a risk, although with minimal odds that it would cause any damage, regarding your child? If there's the slightest possibility something would go wrong, I'd refrain from that situation as far as possible.

    In end, though, I sincerely respect mothers and what they're going through and they're the true heroes in society.

  • lolagirlkoch says:

    I agree that you should not drink wnile you are breastfeeding, did you know that it takes a baby 3 times longer than an adult to get the alcohol out of their system. Is it really fair to give our children something like this, when they do not have the choice. I say let them wait untill they are young adults adn decide if they want a drink for themself. Same goes for smoking.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    lolagirlkoch,

    Thanks for your comment, I totally agree with you.

  • Sharon says:

    Americans are so funny. First most do not even know where their food comes from. Next they drive big Co2 emitting vehicles like the Hummer. And then they jump on the breastfeeding mother for having a beer or glass of wine. Really isn't it just the rich telling the majority how bad they are, meanwhile causing more damage to the enviroment and children. I am semi wealthy, I am guilty of selfishness. I drink from time to time then breastfeed if needed. No I do not condone drinking while pregnant or over drinking, but that doesn't end when the child stops nursing. I am a strong mother of four and moderation is what I want my kids to learn, not just in the breastfeeding times but thier whole life Something America, TV, and this era lacks.

    Loves S

  • Peter says:

    I have to agree with Yvonne. What right do you have to be so judgemental? Although you moderate your fairly extreme view when replying to posters, your statement in the begining is very self indulgent and inflamatory. And what is it based on? Are there any studies that show a link between light to moderate drinking, whilst breast feeding, and disrupted developement? There may be a minimal risk involved, but personally I feel that to base my life choices on not encountering even minimal risk, limits not only me but my family. There is always risk and if you are not prepared to live with a little then you will miss out on a lot. There is a risk that your children could become seriously hurt playing sports, would you deny them the opportunity to do that to? I realise this is slightly diferent but you are quite clear in stating :

    "If there’s the slightest possibility something would go wrong, I’d refrain from that situation as far as possible."

    As mentioned in other posts, moderate consumption, particularly of red wine, has been shown to benefit the body, a point you choose to ignore? Your opinions are just that, opinions. They are not based on any evidence and you yourself acknowledge this to be a minimal risk. So why they fury and swearing, and why do you think your opinion is so right?

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Peter,

    First, of course it's just my opinions. But if you were to regard all the children getting handicaps from mothers drinking while pregnant or breast-feeding (acknowledged, more than a glass), I wouldn't really encourage a behavior which, if it gets out of hand or due to some other freak combination with other factors, might lead to damages to your kid.

    Naturally, life is full of risks, and we all face them each and every day. The difference though, e.g. with your comparison about sports, is that the child would do something they love when they sport; they'd get nothing out of their mother drinking.

    I don't like people taking risks where the result is that someone completely innocent and not in position to choose themselves might get hurt. And to re-iterate my point: is drinking so vital in people's lives, such a corner stone in their existence, that they can't be without it for a fairly short amount of time?

  • Devon- Poet of the t says:

    Wow! I somewhat see your point but you kind of came across as a smug better than everyone kind of person. I think you could have made your point a little nicer. With that being said heres what I have to say; enjoy. I have 3 children my self. The first two are great easy going children to raise the 3rd is a much different expierience. On avereage most pregnancies are discovered at least 1-2mo into the pregnancy not in the first week (after a few micarriages I kind of knew when I was pregnant before I knew). Knowing that early on and having a baby two weeks late makes the pregnancy long and enduring.  I was a smoker and a drinker of 1 beer/day before the LONG pregnancy and after my daughter was born not only is she a hungry monster born at 9lb 11oz. she also has acid reflux which makes her hungrier and less satisfied with her feedings so she eats small amounts every 45 min. She wont take the bottle or a pacifier and due too the pain from the acid reflux she doesnt want anyone but her mommy. I can't even use the bathroom without my husband pounding on the door for me to take her because she is crying. I could go on with the lack of me time but I hope I painted a good enough picture for you to understand how demanding my life is right now.

    Anyway I quit smoking and drinking but occasionally have a beer for my own sanity and once in a while a ciggarette when its really overwhelming. I agree with your outlook on thinking of the child and not forfilling selfish needs but I have to disagree to a point. The well being of a child starts with the well being of the breastfeeding mother. A stressed out sleep deprived emotionally drained mother is in no way better than a mother who has a drink to balance out her own well being. Beer can give you a very relaxing almost euphoric feeling when you are at your wits end and there is no outlet for you to turn to. It is a 'drug' that is much better than being put on some kind of man made chemical pill that you need to consult with a doctor before taking or ending. Also there is always the factors that beer helps to increase letdown due to the yeast content, the admirable calming effects for mommy AND you can make it in your own house which means it way more natural than a pill.

    I guess what it all comes down to is for those of us who love our children (no matter how demanding or high maintenance:) ) and can breastfeed we have every right to have a beer without being labeled an alchoholic because we don't wait for the child to be off the boob. Who are you to say if we can't wait 1-2 years to have a drink we shouldn't have kids? I noticed when asked if you stoped drinking for the 9 months of pregnancy you diddn't answer with a no, it was a hardly anymore. I believe that is an issue, you can't critisize someone for doing so if you haven't stopped either. Has drinking become such a cornerstone in your life that you can't answer the question with a prominent NO but mearly a meak 'I hardly do so'

    You talk so firmly on the subject of doing what is best for the children but did you ever in your writting stop to think that being hipicritical is not what is best for them? Just because you can not see the effects on your children doesn't mean your smug attitude towards the rest of the world wont effect them.

    Kudos to you for thinking of the children but don't forget about the women and for all the breastfeeding moms who have lost themselves in the joy of motherhood sit back,relax and have a drink. You may be a mother but you are still human. Just because you need to break away every once in a while to find yourself again does't mean you shouldnt have kids. There are much worse toxins the children will endure as they grow, don't let your loss of sanity be one of them.

    Devon

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Devon,

    It's been three and a half years since I wrote this, so if I were to rewrite it today, I'll probably put in another way – I'm definitely not trying to be smug about it. However, I think the gist of it still stands: why take any risk, if you can avoid it?

    Naturally, the mom has to feel good too, otherwise that will affect the child as well, no doubt. But my humble question is just if alcohol and/or smoking is really the best way to do that?

    Perhaps there are other things such as yoga, breathing exercises etc. Also, if possible, both parents (or through the help of relatives, friends), everyone deserves some alone quality time to get into balance.

    Therefore, personally, I'd look into alternatives before taking a drink (and I definitely agree about not wanting to take pills, i.e. something chemical, if not absolutely necessary).

  • jerry courtney says:

    I READ YOURE ARTICLE AND I MUST SAY IF I,M BEING HONEST THAT I

    AGREE w/ DEVON IN THAT YOU CAME ACROSS AS BEING A BIT SMUG

    HAVEING SAID THAT HOWEVER I DO FEEL THAT YOURE OPINION STANDS

    SOLID IN THE FOUNDATION OF YOURE BELIEF IN REGARDS TO A LADY

    HAVING A BEER NOW AND THEN WHILE PREGNANT THE FACT REMAINS HOWEVER THAT ONE OPINION IS IN AND OF ITSELF SINGULAR THAT IS NOT TO SAY IF SAID OPINION IS RIGHT OR WRONG THE BACK AND FORTH SHARED BY YOU TO ME IN MY HUMBLE OPINION PRODUCED YET

    ONE TAKE FOR ME AND THAT IS ANY SHARED BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN

    YOU AND DEVON PRODUCED VERY LITTLE THAT WAS POSITIVE AS YOU STILL CAME ACROSS AS ARROGANT EVEN IN YOURE RESPONSE THIS CAME THROUGH CLEARLY WHEN YOU SAID YET AGAIN '' WHY TAKE A CHANCE AT ALL'' IF A LADY WANTS TO HAVE A BEER WHEN SHE HAS SOME ME TIME THEN LET HER DO SO AND NOT BE PUT DOWN OR JUDGED WE ARE TALKING ABOUT HAVING ONE BEER OR A DRINK DURING HER ME TIME THUS IN AFFECT CREATING AN INCREASE IN ODDS THAT THE THE QUALITY TIME w/ THE CHILD OR CHILDREN WOULD WOULD BE POSITIVE AND WELL SPENT BASED ON YOURE ARTICLE AND YOURE RESPONCE TO DEVON I JUST FEEL THAT YOU MAY

    BE A BIT OPPINUNATED AND CLOSED MINDED BASED ON THAT WOULD

    YOU HAVE THEM STOP SERVING WINE DURING COMMUNION THATS SOMETHING PEOPLE DO EVERY WEEK OR PERHAPS EVEN MORE OFTEN

    DOES THA MAKE THEM AN ALCAHOLIC? A BEER WOULD HAVE MORE

    NATUREL STUFF IN IT MANY MORE THINGS ONE WOULD PROBABLY TAKE MORE OF A RISK EATING A POP TART JUST KIDDING BUT I WOUULD HOPE THAT YOU GET MY POINT

    I,LL CLOSE FOR NOW AS I HAVE TO GO AND SEE IF DeVON MIGHT WANT TO HAVE A BEER JUST KIDDING

    YOU NEED TO LITEN UP A BIT

    TY

    JERRY

  • Robert Nyman says:

    jerry,

    I'm glad to see that Devon has such a loyal friend as you! 🙂

    My opinions are:

    – I don't think it's worth taking the risk of drinking alcohol.

    – I'm sure there are a myriad of other ways to relax than drinking alchohol, and I'm humbly suggesting trying out alternatives as well.

    If you think I'm smug because of that, you're definitely entitled to your opinion.

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