Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Women’s health and midwifery
Risky maternal alcohol consumption during lactation decreases childhood abstract reasoning at school age
  1. Ju-Lee Oei1,2
  1. 1 Department Newborn Care, Royal Hospital for Women, Randwick, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2 School of Women’s and Children’s Health, University of New South Wales, Randwick, New South Wales, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Professor Ju-Lee Oei, Department of Newborn Care, The Royal Hospital for Women, Randwick NSW 2031, Australia; j.oei{at}

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Commentary on: Gibson L, Porter M. Drinking or smoking while breastfeeding and later cognition in children. Pediatrics 2018;142:e20174266.

Implications for practice and research

  • Lactating mothers should be counselled about the potential for worse developmental outcomes in breastfed infants if they drink alcohol in large quantities or in a risky manner.

  • Direct measures of alcohol in breast milk and the association with childhood neurocognitive functioning should be considered in future research.


Maternal alcohol and cigarette consumption during pregnancy and lactation is a global problem. Prenatal alcohol exposure, especially in a binge pattern, is teratogenic and a well-documented risk for impaired childhood cognition and behaviour. Maternal alcohol is excreted in breast milk1 but its impact on childhood neurodevelopment is unclear.


This study2 used data from an Australian government-funded study, Growing up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study …

View Full Text


  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.