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April 7, 1993

Effects of Beer on Breast-fed Infants-Reply

Author Affiliations

South Oaks Hospital Amityville, NY

JAMA. 1993;269(13):1638. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500130051028

In Reply.  —I read Drs Mennella and Beauchamp's contribution to the debate about beer and lactation with interest.In my reply to a question about prescribing beer to breast-feeding mothers, I remarked that the possible long-term effects of early exposure to small amounts of ethanol in infants were unknown, but that physicians should be wary about ever prescribing alcohol as a drug to their patients for any indication. Since that reply was written, Little and colleagues1 reported on a study of the relationship between child development at age 1 year and postnatal alcohol intake (through breast-feeding). The subjects were 400 infants born to members of a health maintenance organization, primarily white, middle-class, educated women. An estimate was made of each infant's total exposure to alcohol through breast milk, based on maternal intake and the number of days of breast-feeding for each month. The findings were controlled for levels of