Does palm wine boost breast milk production? Can palmwine increase breastmilk production? Read this article below.
There is a cultural and widespread belief that taking palmwine (Pammy) can actually increase milk production, especially for mothers that does not produce “enough milk” after child birth……see this local “prescription” for low breast milk production I saw on Facebook.
Breast milk production and secretion (let down) is controlled by two hormones “prolactin and oxytocin” plus suckling on the breasts by the baby. While prolactin stimulates female mammary glands for the production of breast milk, oxytocin causes contraction of the smooth muscles surrounding the mammary tissue, causing ejection of milk stored in the breast (milk let down).
Numerous studies in nursing mothers who were 2-10 days postpartum had found out that acute doses of alcohol infused intravenously reduced the oxytocin mediated milk ejection reflex following infant suckling.
Palmwine is an alcoholic beverage gotten from the sap of palmwine tree. It looks more like a foremolk (i.e the first milk the breast produces during breastfeeding). This may be the reason mothers are erroneously encouraged to take it to enhance their breast milk production. Contrary to this belief, palmwine have not scientifically been proven to increase breastmilk production or let down (ejection) in whatever form.
However, researches have found that breastfed infants consumed, on average, 20 percent less breastmilk during the 3-4 hours following their mothers consumption of an alcoholic beverage – mothers who take palmwine usually fall asleep or become drowsy and this will not encourage the the World Health Organisation breastfeeding on demand (baby is left hungry). Also let’s consider the baby’s immature liver and kidneys, of which, this alcoholic intake can be detrimental to its development.
Don’t forget that alcohol including palmwine taken by breastfeeding mothers are have been shown to be secreted or excreted into the breastmilk which will later suckled and fed to the baby. For a newborn with immature brain, liver, and kidneys, it is harmful to have alcohol or even traces of alcohol in the body system of an infant baby. It can impede proper development if the brain (low IQ), damage the liver and kidneys or even lead to jaundice and cerebral palsy.
To enhance breast milk production after child birth, continue to put your child at breast and be sure the baby latches well, this will help activate the “hormones” responsible for this action. Also in addition, intake of water will help more in enhancing milk production than taking fluids like alcohol.
Can palm wine boost or increase breastmilk? No. The cultural belief that palmwine increase breastmilk production and let down is totally false. It is not evidenced based, it starves the baby and could even be harmful to the health of your baby. Thank you.
Aneke Chinwendu V (RDN)
With Contributions from Dr Udomoh