Does Beer Increases Breast Milk Supply?
More and more moms are asking whether the old wives’ tale that says beer increases milk supply is correct. The answer is yes and no.
It turns out that drinking beer is like a two-edged sword. The beer that your grandmother used to drink a few centuries ago is not the same factory-made beer that you can buy nowadays.
In the past, a beer concoction is made by hand, but now, it is mass-made in a facility somewhere offsite. The quality of beers nowadays has more alcohol and less flavor and even lesser grains. They do not compare to the older craft beers, they won’t function just as good.
Hops, Barley and Malt For More Milk
Researches and medical professionals are saying that it’s alright to drink beer in moderation. Beer is already drank by mothers since time immemorial to increase their milk quantity.
The natural ingredients in beer such as hops, barley, malt, and oats are all galactagogues. These grains are nature’s natural milk stimulant.
What’s surprising is that you can best increase your milk supply by drinking a minimal quantity of non-alcoholic beer. It may increase your milk supply, but it can also act to dry it up if you take in too much.
Alcohol: The Milk’s Enemy
The other side of the equation advises against drinking beer due to its intoxicating content. Alcohol can certainly reduce breast milk production. It can also endanger the baby especially if mom is a little tipsy.
Alcohol decreases your ability to let down milk, which will make you produce less and less. Increased alcohol exposure can also affect baby’s health in the long run. Anything that a mother consumes ultimately ends up in the blood and breast milk.
Babies are not yet as developed as adults. Their small bodies cannot tolerate the spike of alcohol in their veins. Delayed motor development, hypoglycemia, decreased appetite and unusual sleep patterns might be a manifestation of too much alcohol exposure while breastfeeding.
Timing is The Key
If you are to drink, better schedule it once the baby is already done with breast feeding. Limit your intake to no more than one small beer bottle.
Do not attempt to breastfeed if you feel intoxicated. It is better to wait for 3-4 hours since you last have your drink before you breastfeed.
Some mothers advise the “pump and dump” method whereby moms can pump their milk and then dump it since it still has remnants of alcohol. You may use this if you are evidently tipsy, but if not, then you can just bid your time before you breast feed again.
If you want to reap the benefits of increased milk without getting all that alcohol into your system, you can try non-alcoholic beer. You will get all the goodness of barley, hops, malt and oat without subjecting yourself and your baby to the perils of alcohol exposure.
You may also try other remedies to increase your breast milk quantity such as through using warm compresses, showering in hot water and using other natural galactagogues. Green leafy veggies can certainly give you that much-needed milk boost. Try oatmeal for breakfast and sprinkle some barley in your soup. Sweet potatoes, carrots and certain herbal teas such as alfalfa and milk thistle may also help.
A bottle of beer is one of the life’s small rewards for a day of back breaking labor as new mothers. You might sometimes feel that your body is not up to the challenge of nursing.
Do not fret too much. You can check your baby’s weight to see if he is fending off well. More often than not, you’ll find that you and your child are both doing just fine post-partum. So take a seat back and relax. It’s just an occasional drink. You deserve it. Cheers!