Beer and Breastfeeding
Traditional wisdom claims that moderate beer consumption may be beneficial for initiation of breastfeeding and enhancement of breastfeeding success. Here we review the question whether or not there-is any scientific basis for this popular belief. There are clear indications that beer can stimulate prolactin secretion which may enhance lactogenesis both in non-lactating humans and in experimental animals. The component in beer responsible for the effect on prolactin secretion is not the alcohol content but apparently a polysaccharide from barley, which explains that the effect on prolactin can also be induced by non-alcoholic beer. No systematic studies are available to evaluate the clinical effects of beer on induction of lactogenesis, and short term studies have shown a reduced breast milk intake by infants after moderate alcohol consumption of their mothers. It is conceivable that relaxing effects of both alcohol and components of hop might also have beneficial effects on lactogenesis is some women, but there is no hard evidence for causal effects. It appears prudent not to generally advocate the regular use of alcoholic drinks during lactation but to rather refer mothers to non-alcoholic beer, even though no adverse effects of an occasional alcoholic drink during lactation have been documented.
Key wordsBeer lactogenesis prolactin
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 1.Routh CHF. Infant feeding and its influence on later life. New York: William Wood and Company; 1879.Google Scholar
- 2.Krebs R. Making friends is ourbusiness — 100years of AnheuserBusch. St.Louis: Anheuser-Busch Inc.; 1953.Google Scholar
- 3.Visser W. [Nutrition during pregnancy and breast feeding. Drink dark beer and eat for two?]. TVZ. 1992;(5):170–3.Google Scholar
- 4.Falkner F. Beer and the breast-feeding mom, questions and answers. J.Am.Med.Ass. 1987;258:2126Google Scholar
- 5.Lawrence RA. Breastfeeding. A guide for the medical profession. 4 ed. St.Louis: Mosby Year Book Inc.; 1994.Google Scholar
- 7.Neville MC. Jensen RG, editors. Handbook of milk composition. San Diego: Academic Press; 1995; Lactogenesisin Women: a cascade of events revealed by milk composition. p. 87–98.Google Scholar
- 8.Toro G, Koloday RC, Jacobs LS, Masters WH, Daughaday WH. Failure of alcohol to alter pituary and targetorgan hormone levels. Clin.Res. 1973;21:205Google Scholar
- 10.De RG, Corsello SM, Ruffilli MP, Della CS, Pasargiklian E. Prolactin secretion after beer [letter]. Lancet 1981;2(8252):934Google Scholar
- 14.Wartofsky L, Dimond RC, Noel GL, Adler RA, Frantz AG, Earll JM. Effect of an oral water load on serum TSH in normal subjects, and on TSH and prolactin response to thyrotropin-releasing hormone(TRH) in patients with primary hypothyroidism. J Clin Endocrinol.Metab. 1975;41(4):784–7.PubMedGoogle Scholar
- 22.Koletzko B. Alkoholgehalt in Medikamenten fü Kinder. Med.Monatschr.f.Pharmazeuten 1995;18: 194–5.Google Scholar
- 23.Koletzko B (editor). Kinderheilkunde. II ed. Berlin: Springer Verlag; 1999.Google Scholar