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      Alcohol’s Effect on Lactation

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          Abstract

          Although pregnant women are discouraged from drinking alcohol because of alcohol’s detrimental effect on fetal development, the lore of many cultures encourages lactating women to drink alcohol to optimize breast milk production and infant nutrition. In contrast to this folklore, however, studies demonstrate that maternal alcohol consumption may slightly reduce milk production. Furthermore, some of the alcohol consumed by a lactating woman is transferred to her milk and thus consumed by the infant. This alcohol consumption may adversely affect the infant’s sleep and gross motor development and influence early learning about alcohol. Based on this science, it would seem that the recommendation for a nursing mother to drink a glass of beer or wine shortly before nursing may actually be counterproductive.

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          Most cited references 24

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          Emergence of alcohol expectancies in childhood: a possible critical period.

          Previous investigations with adolescents (aged 12-19) have shown alcohol-related expectancies to develop in childhood prior to significant drinking experience and to covary directly with drinking behavior. To chart the development of alcohol expectancies in children as young as age 6, a procedure was developed to be as independent as possible of age-related variation in reading and language development. This instrument was administered to 114 elementary school children of both genders, distributed across grades 1 to 5. Psychometric analysis provided evidence of the test's reliability and validity. Evaluation of the developmental pattern produced two primary findings: (1) there was an overall trend of increasingly positive expectancies with age; and (2) strikingly, the bulk of the increase was observed in the third and fourth grades. Children's expectancies may be less differentiated than adolescent or adult expectancies. These findings suggest that the precursors for later alcohol use and abuse are formed in childhood and that prevention efforts may need to begin as early as third grade.
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            Dose-response effects of ethanol on the sleep of young women.

            In healthy young women, rapid eye movement sleep decreased, slow-wave sleep increased, sleep-onset latency decreased and late-night disturbance of sleep increased with increasing doses of alcohol.
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              Identification of alcohol by smell among preschoolers: evidence for early socialization about drugs occurring in the home.

              This study tested preschoolers' ability to provide accurate verbal associations to alcoholic beverage odors and whether this ability was related to parental drinking patterns and motivations. Older preschoolers performed better than younger preschoolers; photographic cues improved performance; children who correctly identified a substance by smell had socially appropriate knowledge of the culturally appropriate users of the substance; children reported liking substances that are used mainly by children and adults, and generally reported disliking substances whose use is legally limited to adults only; children were better at identifying substances they commonly use, but success at recognition of alcoholic beverages was related to heavier parental drinking and use of alcohol for escape reasons. Findings have implications for theories of socialization to drug use and for models of prevention.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Alcohol Res Health
                Alcohol Res Health
                Alcohol Research & Health
                National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
                1535-7414
                1930-0573
                2001
                : 25
                : 3
                : 230-234
                Affiliations
                Julie Mennella, Ph.D., is a member of the Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
                Article
                arcr-25-3-230
                6707164
                11810962

                Unless otherwise noted in the text, all material appearing in this journal is in the public domain and may be reproduced without permission. Citation of the source is appreciated.

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