Guinness: Good For Milk But Bad For Baby Sleeping?

guinness beer

I'm salivating looking at this Guinness

A Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day always hits the spot. Drinking Guinness has also been said to be good for making milk-or so the rumor goes.

I can say for myself that I’ve never been so into beer (including a delicious Guinness Stout) as I am now that I am a nursing mother. I have one beer, almost every night after the baby goes to bed. So does drinking Guinness (or any beer for that matter) actually increase milk supply? According to kellymom.com, an evidence-based website about breastfeeding and parenting, the following information is known about drinking alcohol and milk supply:

Effects of alcohol on breastfeeding and the breastfed baby

  • Alcohol does not increase milk production. In fact, babies nurse more frequently but take in less milk in the 3-4 hours after mom has had a drink, and one study showed a 23% decrease in milk volume with one drink (Mennella & Beauchamp 1991, 1993; Mennella 1997, 1999).
  • 2+ drinks may inhibit let-down (Coiro et al 1992; Cobo 1974).
  • One study showed changes in the infant’s sleep-wake patterning after short-term exposure to small amounts of alcohol in breastmilk – infants whose mothers were light drinkers slept less (Mennella & Gerrish 1998).
  • Daily consumption of alcohol has been shown in the research to increase the risk for slow weight gain in the infant.
  • Daily consumption of alcohol (1+ drinks daily) has been associated with a decrease in gross motor development (Little et al 1989)

Interestingly, while my baby certainly has no issues with growth and motor skill development, and even though Fuzz doesn’t nurse again until at least three to four hours after I’ve consumed my nightly beer, I’m wondering if this consumption has any affect on his sleeping? I’d be sad to give up my one pleasure of the evening, especially when I feel that I’ve earned it after a long day of parenting and a long night ahead.  I know there have been nights that I don’t drink the one beer where the baby wakes up a lot too.

So, knowing full well that the sleep will work itself out eventually (even if in a year and a half) should I stop my nightly beer habit anyway to see if it helps Fuzz sleep longer?

Photo: Flickr/SarahElizabethC

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