A physician, Agnes Nwoke, has said that the cultural practice of consuming palm wine or pap by nursing mothers does not enhance the flow of breast milk.
Ms Nwoke, who works with St. Charles Clinic in Urum, spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Awka on the sideline of the commemoration of 2021 World Breastfeeding Week.
She said there was the need to demystify the myth about the effect of palm wine or pap on breastfeeding.
According to her, breast milk production obeys the law of demand and supply.
“It is not the amount of fluid taken via pap or palm wine, it is the intensity of suckling and time of suckling that help the nursing mother to produce more milk.
“The more the breast is emptied, the more it produces or flows with milk.
“Also mothers should breastfeed more at night because the hormone called prolactin functions more at night as it contributes to high flow of breast milk,” she said.
Ms Nwoke said that palm wine contained alcohol on the average up to six per cent, saying it might have sedative effects which can make mothers and even babies sleep.
“When a nursing mother takes palm wine, the alcohol in the palm wine gets into the breast milk and it can make the baby agitated or sleep and unable to suck.
“Palm wine does not enhance the flow of breast milk, it is a cultural practice, not medically proven.
“Breast flow is, however, increased by staying hydrated, eating a well-balanced diet, putting baby to breast on demand, resting and having enough sleep.
“Breastfeeding is important for the optimal nourishment, immunity, growth and development of the infant,” Ms Nwoke said.