Hey awesome lady, I am starting like this to let you know how serious is what I want to talk about.
There is a common belief among our people that palm wine can help boost breast milk production when lactation diminishes.
This erroneous and harmful belief, just like many can be “proven” by some people that it works.
And among those who usually propagate this folklore, you will find some educated ladies and gentlemen.
Did you know that some mothers even drink milk believing that it will stimulate their own milk production?
Well I am not judging them but I am here to bring out the scientific information and solutions to our common problems so that you can be equipped properly.
As I am writing this I know that some of my readers will doubt and some will certainly query it and claim that science doesn’t always have all the answers as they have witnessed the palm wine miracle of causing a torrent of breast milk in some breasts that were as dry as the oranges in harmattan season.
Before you shout out the argument in your mind, let’s see what palm wine is first. Shall we?
What is palm wine?
Palm wine (a.k.a Pammy)is an alcoholic beverage created from the sap of various species of palm tree such as the palmyra, date palms, and coconut palms.
It is known by various names in different regions and is common in various parts of Asia, Africa the Caribbean and South America.
So as you can see, the major concern here is that palm wine is ALCOHOLIC and as far as your baby is concerned, you are putting him in danger by consuming that alcohol indiscriminately.
Please read on. I will explain how to and how not to take it. Anything you eat or drink while you’re breastfeeding can find its way into your breast milk, and that includes alcohol.
According to Mayo Clinic, breast-fed babies who are exposed to one drink a day might have impaired motor development and that alcohol can cause changes in sleep patterns.
Also, while folklore says that drinking alcohol improves milk production, studies show that alcohol actually decreases milk production and that the presence of alcohol in breast milk causes babies to drink about 20 percent less breast milk.
Other studies say it is between 20 to 23%. And Ian certain that this isn’t what you want for your baby, right?
The effects of maternal alcohol (ethanol) ingestion during lactation are complex and depend on the pattern of maternal drinking. Alcohol decreases milk production with 5 drinks or more decreasing milk letdown and disrupting nursing until maternal alcohol levels decrease.
Beer may increase serum prolactin levels during nursing because of polysaccharides from barley and hops (used in beer and also in some malt drinks).
After ingestion of nonalcoholic beer, the antioxidant capacity of milk is increased, but alcohol levels in milk are negligible. Women with a family history of alcoholism have a blunted prolactin response following breast stimulation and tend to breastfeed more frequently to compensate.
Breast-feeding and alcohol don’t mix well. There’s no level of alcohol in breast milk that’s considered safe for a baby to drink.
When you drink alcohol, it passes into your breast milk at concentrations similar to those found in your bloodstream. Although a breast-fed baby is exposed to just a fraction of the alcohol his or her mother drinks, a newborn eliminates alcohol from his or her body at only half the rate of an adult.
Apart from all the above mentioned factors, what about the risks of taking in certain chemicals(preservatives and sweeteners)?And we all are aware that some sellers use them to enhance their taste and make more sales. Will it harm your baby to consume those preservatives through your breast milk? I think so too.
Researchers have warned that consumption of adulterated palm wine poses a serious health risk to consumers.
A research published in the African Journal Of Food Science has also proven the hazards of fake palm wine production.
Showing that glucose is significantly high in freshly tapped palm wine but little or nothing in regularly sold palm wine.
It was observed that the alcohol, toxic levels of lead, cadmium and salicylate content is absent in freshly tapped undiluted palm wine but significantly higher in regularly sold diluted palm wine.
The only similarity was the present of saccharomyces cerevisiae to which fermentation from palm sap to palm wine is usually attributed.
However, the continued consumption of palm wine with salicylate content might lead to exposure to chronic salicylate poisoning.
What If You Have To Drink, Maybe At Parties?
If you do intend to have a social drink, you could try avoiding breastfeeding for two to three hours per unit after drinking. This allows time for the alcohol to leave your breast milk. You will need to make sure breastfeeding is established before you try this.
You may want to plan ahead by expressing some milk before a social function. Then you can skip the first breastfeed after the function and feed your baby with your expressed milk instead.
You can also consider having a drink just after breast-feeding so that the alcohol begins to clear your breast milk during the natural interval between breast-feeding sessions.
Bear in mind your breasts may become uncomfortably full if you leave long gaps between feeds. The experience isn’t the most comfortable and it may even ruin your fun at whatever occasion you are attending.
Consider the implications and judge if it is worth it before you take up that glass or calabash of palm wine while breastfeeding. Yes, I am aware that you may really have desired it, but the thought of your baby and your own health should also come to your mind.
Let me know what you think about this article. Be very blunt. Put your comments below and let the conversation begin.
Remain awesome, Confident and Healthy