All Beyonce was probably looking for was a romantic date night out with Jay Z.
Instead, the megastar and mother of new twins stepped into a fierce parenting debate over whether it’s OK for breastfeeding mothers to occasionally enjoy the wine, beer or other libations they denied themselves during pregnancy.
Over the weekend, Beyonce posted on Instagram a photo of herself, at a restaurant, sipping what appears to be very nice glass of wine or liqueur. The 35-year-old seemed to be enjoying some time away from home, about two months after giving birth to twins Sir and Rumi back in June.
But Instagram comments were quickly filled with people judging her about drinking alcohol before she might be going home to breastfeed her twins.
One user wrote, “If she is nursing the babies, wine ain’t good,” while another chimed in with, “You feed your children with your breast why do you drink?!”
Another referred to Beyonce’s ample, lactating bosom, saying, “I hope Beyonce ain’t using the twins to feed the twins after that glass of wine… #ImJustSayin #IBelieveThatChildrenAreOurFuture.”
And still another lobbed a double-whammy: “Twins are in formula already?” Accompanied by a thumbs-down emoji, the remark suggested that Beyonce must have already stopped breastfeeding for good, which can be seen as some in new mom world as a serious dereliction of maternal duty.
But the diva’s defenders in the Beehive quickly rushed in to tell people to not judge her, especially if she has stopped breastfeeding. As a writer for Romper.com said, “Breastfeeding is one of the most personal things a mother does (or doesn’t do). … It shouldn’t even have to be said anymore, but here goes: sure, breastfeeding has some great benefits, but it simply doesn’t work for some women.”
But if Beyonce is still nursing her twins, others reasonably pointed out that current research shows there’s little evidence of harm caused to a baby’s health and development if a mother drinks in moderation. Lactation experts also say there are ways to breastfeed healthily while still enjoying a glass of wine.
According to La Leche League International, the risks of consuming alcohol while breastfeeding are not “as well defined” as the risks of drinking during pregnancy. The league’s widely-read manual, “The Womanly Art Of Breastfeeding” says that if a breastfeeding mother occasionally drinks or limits her consumption to one drink or less per day, “the amount of alcohol her baby receives has not been proven to be harmful.”
Dr. Jack Newman, a member of the league’s Health Advisory Council, said that “reasonable alcohol intake should not be discouraged at all.”
Moreover, the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Drugs considers alcohol “compatible with breastfeeding.” The harmful side effects to babies that the academy lists are the result of mothers who are chronic abusers or binge drinkers who consume large — not moderate — amounts of alcohol: drowsiness, deep sleep, weakness, abnormal weight gain. Too much drinking could also effect a mother’s milk-ejection reflex.
The La Leche League says that if a woman wants to minimize her baby’s exposure to alcohol, she can nurse right before she has a drink. With the body metabolizing one ounce of alcohol in about three hours, a woman’s milk should be alcohol free again in about three hours.
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