COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - An Arkansas mother was thrown in jail after she was caught breastfeeding her baby while drinking.
Although she wasn't breaking any laws and her charges were dropped last week, the mother was charged with endangering the welfare of her child.
News Leader 9 decided to visit the Columbus Health Department and spoke with a local lactation consultant to see how mothers drinking and breastfeeding can be dangerous to their babies.
"We don't typically recommend breastfeeding women to drink alcohol," said Karye Rayborn, a lactation consultant. "Alcohol can transfer to breast milk and make babies sick."
Rayborn explained that babies metabolize alcohol at a slow rate, and their livers are not developed to break down alcohol like adults can. Rayborn said mothers need to plan how they are going to feed their babies when they decide to get alcoholic beverages.
"Alcohol will travel to breast milk," Rayborn said. "So the key to feeding your baby healthy breast milk is to plan ahead. Pump your breast milk before you drink or feed them before you drink. Feeding them formula is also a good alternative."
Rayborn also said drinking beer will not increase the milk supply.
"There is no evidence that drinking alcohol will increase your milk supply," Rayborn said. "It's harmful to you, actually."
Dr. Joseph Zanga, the Chief of Pediatrics of the Children's Hospital at Midtown Medical Center agrees.
"Some women think drinking beer will increase their milk supply," Dr. Zanga said. "Alcohol inhibits the hormones that make breast milk, so it will actually decrease milk production."
Dr. Zanga also said there is no law that says pregnant and nursing mothers cannot drink alcohol. However, he recommends that breastfeeding women stay away from alcohol to better care for their babies.