Will drinking stout help to increase a nursing mum’s milk flow?
Many people are convinced that a glass of stout will improve breast milk supply, says Dr Natalie Epton, a specialist paediatrician and neonatologist.
There is some scientific evidence that a sugar (polysaccharide) in the barley of the drink helps enhance prolactin production (a hormone which stimulates milk). But whether this leads to an increased amount of milk has never been proven.
In fact, non-alcoholic beers also produce the same effect on a mother’s hormone production.
Alcohol enters the breast milk about 30 minutes after you drink it. Although the effects of heavy alcohol consumption on Baby’s developing brain are known to be detrimental, no one is sure of the effects of small to moderate amounts.
“While I advocate the World Health Organisation’s recommendations regarding breastfeeding for two years, I wouldn’t expect you to entirely abstain from alcohol for that time,” says Dr Epton.
Limit yourself to about one glass per day, and try not to breastfeed for three hours after an alcoholic drink.
Nevertheless, remember that alcohol can impair your judgment and ability to look after your child, and you should take it in moderation.