Drinking alcohol while breastfeeding: new study shows possible child cognitive development impact
Some new mothers drink alcohol while they are breastfeeding and think nothing of it. But a new study by the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests they could be impacting their baby’s cognitive abilities.
Specifically, the study found that children who were exposed to alcohol through their mothers’ breast milk didn’t perform as well on reasoning tests at ages 6 and 7 as their peers who weren’t exposed to any alcohol.
For the study, researchers analysed data on 5,107 infants from Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Mothers were asked about their alcohol and tobacco use while breastfeeding, with the ultimate aim being to see if either affected children’s cognitive development.
Not only were the test scores of children exposed to alcohol lower, they were lowest for those whose mothers drank the most. However, the researchers found no link between smoking while breastfeeding and test scores.
While the researchers were not able to measure the cognitive reductions in a child once they reached 10 or 11, Louse Gibson, a co-author of the study, said that “doesn’t mean that the child has grown out of it, or that the effects of the mother’s alcohol consumption aren’t there anymore.”
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