Nursing Mums: Harmful Effects Of Taking Palm Wine To Boost Breast Milk Production

This year’s World Breastfeeding Week just ended. It is celebrated every year around the world from 1st to 7th August to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies. It promotes exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. In this piece written for the Punch newspapers, Child and Public Health physician, Dr. Rotimi Adesanya sheds light on the link between palm wine and breastfeeding.

While large amounts of alcohol in breast milk can have a sedative effect on the babies, it is more likely to make the babies agitated and disrupt their sleep patterns. When a nursing mother takes it, it gets into the breast milk and the baby sleeps and is unable to suck.

READ ALSO: This Gross Percentage Of Nigerian Children Are Denied Exclusive Breastfeeding -National Survey

According to Dr.  Adesanya, palm wine contains alcohol on the average up to six per cent. He decried the practice of drinking palm wine by nursing mothers for the purpose of boosting breast milk production.

In the paedetrician’s words

Naturally, palm wine is a low alcoholic drink. Its alcoholic content is as little three per cent,

but fermented palm wine has the potential to breed as high 12 per cent alcoholic content.

When palm wine is taken by breastfeeding mum, it passes into the breast milk.

It is on record that there is no known safe level of alcohol consumption while breastfeeding.

He explained further that alcohol inhibits a mother’s let-down (the release of milk to the nipple). Studies have also shown that babies take around 20 percent less milk if there is alcohol present, so they’ll need to feed more often. Some infants have been known to go on ‘nursing strike’, probably because of the altered taste of alcohol in the milk.

In conclusion, drinking palm wine by breastfeeding mums is counterproductive because it is proven scientifically that palm wine does not make the breast flow.

It reduces the flow contrary to perceived increase by traditions. The act of palm wine drinking by new mum is a myth, with no scientific basis or benefit.

Most importantly, it is a harmful practice. Breast flow is, however, increased by staying hydrated, eating a well-balanced diet, putting baby to breast on demand, resting and having enough sleep.

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