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April 7, 1993

Effects of Beer on Breast-fed Infants

Author Affiliations

Monell Chemical Senses Center Philadelphia, Pa

JAMA. 1993;269(13):1637-1638. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500130051027

To the Editor.  —In response to a query in JAMA about the value of beer consumption to the breast-feeding mother,1 it was concluded that there was a scientific basis for the folklore that beer is a galactagogue.2 Beer, unlike other alcoholic beverages, increases serum prolactin levels.3 The subjects in these studies were normal men and nonlactating women, however. To our knowledge, no investigation in this area focused on the lactating women and, perhaps more importantly, determined whether milk intake by breast-fed infants is enhanced when their mothers drink beer.Recently, we demonstrated that breast-fed infants consumed significantly less milk during the 3-hour testing session in which their mothers drank a small dose of ethanol in orange juice than when the mothers drank orange juice alone.4 Using similar methods, we now report similar effects following alcoholic beer consumption. Each of 11 nursing mothers and their infants was