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December 2019

Does Mommy Wine Culture Pose Health Risks?

On the outside, you face pressure to be the perfect mom. Meanwhile, the older kid won’t do his homework—and the younger insists on wearing superhero pajamas 24/7.

Woman holding glass of wine and looking at a wine bottle

As the stresses of parenthood add up, it’s no wonder mothers seek relief. Some may find it in a bottle of wine, or “mommy juice.”

Many people, including women, can safely drink moderate amounts. But as heavy drinking becomes more common, some moms may be flirting with danger.

Understand the issue

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans defines moderate drinking as no more than 1 drink per day for women. Mothers who exceed this might face risks when it comes to:

  • Breastfeeding. Alcohol stays in breastmilk for at least 2 to 3 hours. Over time, it could decrease your milk supply or affect your baby’s sleep and development.

  • Child care. Alcohol may impair your judgment and ability to tend to infants.

  • Youth drinking. The harms may extend past early childhood. Heavy imbibers tend to pass the habit down.

  • Your own health. Alcohol contributes to injuries, violence, and chronic diseases. For instance, with heavy drinking on the rise, doctors have noticed sicker livers in young adults and women. And they’ve counted more deaths from alcohol-fueled liver problems among those in their 20s and 30s.

Your consumption, your choice

Fortunately, you don’t have to let social pressures dictate your drinking habits. You can:

  • Set your own limits. Keep track of each drink to stay within them.

  • Practice your “no.” You can’t always pass up alcohol-soaked occasions. But you can decide how you’ll refuse boozy offers. A clear and firm “no thanks” usually works.

  • Find other stress-relief strategies. Parenting isn’t easy. Prioritize exercise, healthy eating, and other forms of self-care. When you’re overwhelmed, take deep breaths and ask for help.

  • Go to the pros. If you try to cut back or quit and can’t, seek help. Medicines, behavioral treatments, or both may work for you.


Online Medical Reviewer: McDonough, Brian, MD
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