Is it true that beer stimulates lactation if I’m nursing a baby?

One of the weirdest old wives’ tales holds that drinking beer can stimulate lactation in nursing mothers. It may sound incredible to modern ears, but faith in the brewer’s contribution to breast-feeding was once so widespread that in 1895 Anheuser-Busch produced Malt-Nutrine, a beer that physicians would prescribe as a tonic for breast-feeding women.

New research, however, debunks the beer-benefits myth and demonstrates the detriments of alcohol consumption while nursing. Upon testing lactating women for prolactin and oxytocin levels, the two key hormones that influence lactation performance in breast-feeding mothers, University of Pennsylvania researchers discovered that using alcohol (of any kind) disrupted the hormonal balance required for the optimum yield of breast milk—thus reducing  the quality and quantity available to the nursing infant. What’s more, other studies have established that when a breast-feeding mother consumes alcohol, it shows up in her milk. Like blood levels of alcohol, milk levels of alcohol eventually dissipate. Still, infants who consume even small amounts of alcohol may suffer problems with motor development, including a weak suckling reflex, which, along with the reduced yield of breast milk, may prevent proper weight gain.

Continue Learning about Breastfeeding A Baby

The After-Birth Trick for Better Breastfeeding
The After-Birth Trick for Better Breastfeeding
When Mila Kunis, wife of Ashton Kutcher and star of Bad Moms, breastfed her now four-year-old Wyatt Isabelle in public, she had a straightforward answ...
Read More
What should I do if I have problems breastfeeding?
HCA VirginiaHCA Virginia
Although most breastfeeding-related problems can be corrected with changing how you're actually doin...
More Answers
Can I breastfeed my second baby if I didn't with the first?
Dr. Michael Roizen, MDDr. Michael Roizen, MD
The idea that you can't breastfeed subsequent babies if you didn't breastfeed in your first pregnanc...
More Answers
I Heard That Babies May Be Getting Toxic Chemicals from Breast Milk. Is That True?
I Heard That Babies May Be Getting Toxic Chemicals from Breast Milk. Is That True?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.