The early post-partum period is one of the few times of life stress for which health care professionals recommend alcohol consumption In this study, a group of nursing mothers who had delivered normal full-term, first-born infants were examined during the 1-month period following childbirth. Data were collected on alcohol consumption patterns prior to and during pregnancy and following childbirth. Most women reported abstaining or decreasing consumption during pregnancy. Those who continued to drink during pregnancy reported drinking on social occasions, rather than when depressed or bored

During the post-partum period, a number of women began drinking. By far the most common post-partum drinking situation was during or prior to breast feeding. Reportedly, many women were advised to drink by nurses and doctors in order to relax and to aid the letdown reflex. Several factors seem worth noting. First, professional advice may be based on misinformation Animal studies have suggested that alcohol inhibits the letdown reflex and may interfere with nursing Secondly, because alcohol has been shown to enter the milkstream, attention should be given to possible harmful effects of alcohol (on the newborn) during nursing. Nurses could easily incorporate up-to-date information into their nursing practice.