Mom / mom life / Agnes Wold sees new alcohol advice for breastfeeding women
In the new proposal on Nordic nutritional recommendations, breastfeeding women are asked to refrain from alcohol. But Agnes Wold thinks economic policy must stop scaring women. Photo: HENRIK JANSSON / SHUTTERSTOCK
Published: May 26, 2023, at 11:43 am
In a new proposal on Nordic nutritional recommendations, breastfeeding women are asked to refrain from alcohol.
“Nutrition policy must stop being irrelevant and scaring mothers. It’s not OK,” writes Agnes Wold, professor of clinical bacteriology on Twitter.
Approximately every ten years, new nutritional recommendations are presented in a collaboration between the Nordic countries. The report is an important starting point when, among other things, the Swedish Food Agency updates its guidelines.
In the latest draft of the report, NNR2023, there is a separate point on alcohol and breastfeeding, where breastfeeding women are asked to refrain from alcohol. It says that the child is able to break down small amounts of alcohol that are transferred into the breast milk, but that it is not possible to determine exactly what levels the child’s body is able to break down: “it [är] difficult to define where the safe level lies, and the safest advice is to abstain from alcohol.”
The report is still being updated, and the final result will be presented on June 20. It may therefore be the case that the recommendation on alcohol and breastfeeding will change until then. Someone who is a strong proponent of a changed recommendation is Professor Agnes Wold, who has long been a strong voice for the fact that the combination of alcohol and breastfeeding does not expose the child to danger, tells Svenska Dagbladet that the recommendation is “backward-looking and moralistic”.
Like eating a ripe peach
– It is totally unscientific, backwards and moralistic. It is such a small part of the alcohol that passes to the child via the breast milk that it can be compared to eating a ripe peach, she tells SvD.
Dag Thelle, who is a professor of cardiovascular epidemiology at the universities of Oslo and Gothenburg, has written the chapter on alcohol, and tells Svenska Dagbladet that he did not suggest that breastfeeding women should refrain from alcohol.
Can drink as much as other adults
In Dag Thelle’s original text proposal, it was stated that breastfeeding women can drink a maximum of 20 grams of alcohol a day. This corresponds to approximately two small glasses of wine, a normal strong drink or two small strong beers, and the same recommendation applies to other adults.
The current recommendation from the Swedish Food Agency is that a moderate amount of alcohol poses no medical risks to the child.
The entire statement on alcohol and breastfeeding
Alcohol intake during breastfeeding
There are no indications of medical consequences for the baby if a nursing mother drinks small amounts of alcohol.
The level of alcohol transferred to infants via breast milk is a very small fraction of the level found in the mother. The child’s metabolism can handle the little alcohol that is transferred.
However, it is difficult to define where the safe level lies, and the safest advice is to abstain from alcohol. Binge drinking is of course a risk factor (exposing the child to danger, etc.) and should be avoided.
The statement is translated from English, and is based on two separate research reports. One is from 2017and the other is from 2014.
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