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Bekah Martinez breastfeeds with a wine glass in hand—sparking controversy

Can you enjoy some wine while breastfeeding? Here's what experts say.

Bekah Martinez breastfeeds with a wine glass in hand—sparking controversy

Bekah Martinez is an open book on Instagram. The Bachelor alum doesn't shy away from sharing personal moments (like the time she shared about her surprise pregnancy) and a recent post has definitely got people talking.

Martinez shared a snapshot of herself breastfeeding her baby daughter Ruth while holding what looks like a glass of wine.

"I was waiting patiently for her to finish nursing before beginning my (single!) glass of wine," Martinez captioned the pic.

Some commenters were quick to criticize Martinez for consuming alcohol while breastfeeding, while many fellow moms suggested there was nothing wrong with what Martinez was doing.

The conversation is quite similar to one sparked by another Instagramming celebrity mama, Jesse James Decker, last August when she shared a snapshot of herself breastfeeding her baby son Forrest while holding what looks like a glass of rosé.

Decker too, was criticized for consuming alcohol while breastfeeding, while many fellow moms, including fellow singer Jamie Lynn Spears, posted positive notes. According to Spears, this picture of Decker is "mom goals," but other commenters suggested moms seek advice from pediatricians on the issue, instead of celebrities on the internet.

The CDC notes that "not drinking alcohol is the safest option for breastfeeding mothers. However, moderate alcohol consumption (up to one drink/day) is not known to be harmful to the infant."

According to a recent study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, drinking while breastfeeding is linked to reasoning deficits in children, and the AAP recommends breastfeeding moms "limit their alcohol intake and refrain from drinking two hours or less before breastfeeding as the alcohol could impact their infant's motor development."

The AAP isn't saying nursing moms can't ever drink, but, like the CDC, it is suggesting moderate alcohol intake. Is one glass of wine going to hurt Forrest? Probably not. Martinez's glass is mostly full, so the milk Ruth was drinking in the photo probably didn't contain much alcohol.

According to the CDC, "alcohol levels are usually highest in breast milk 30-60 minutes after an alcoholic beverage is consumed, and can be generally detected in breast milk for about 2-3 hours per drink after it is consumed."

Experts with La Leche League International agree a breastfeeding mother can have a drink once in a while. "Reasonable alcohol intake should not be discouraged at all," says Dr. Jack Newman of LLLI. "Very little alcohol comes out in the milk. The mother can take some alcohol and continue breastfeeding as she normally does. Prohibiting alcohol is another way we make life unnecessarily restrictive for nursing mothers."

As Motherly's Digital Education Editor, Diana Spalding, previously wrote, "Essentially, if you feel buzzed or drunk, alcohol is in your breastmilk. When you are feeling sober, your breastmilk is safe." Spalding adds: "Certainly this comes with caveats of course. Some babies may be more sensitive than others to alcohol, so it's a good idea to check in with your doctor about their recommendations first."

In a way, both sides of the comment war on Martinez's post are right. Mamas should chat with their pediatricians about drinking alcohol while breastfeeding, but moms who do have a glass of wine should not be judged for it.

Mama's gotta live, too.

[A version of this post was originally published August 3, 2018. It has been updated.]

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This is how we’re defining success this school year

Hint: It's not related to grades.

In the ever-moving lives of parents and children, opportunities to slow down and reflect on priorities can be hard to come by. But a new school year scheduled to begin in the midst of a global pandemic offers the chance to reflect on how we should all think about measures of success. For both parents and kids, that may mean putting a fresh emphasis on optimism, creativity and curiosity.

Throughout recent decades, "school success" became entangled with "academic achievement," with cases of anxiety among school children dramatically increasing in the past few generations. Then, almost overnight, the American school system was turned on its head in the spring of 2020. As we look ahead to a new school year that will look like no year past, more is being asked of teachers, students and parents, such as acclimating to distance learning, collaborating with peers from afar and aiming to maintain consistency with schooling amidst general instability due to COVID.

Despite the inherent challenges, there is also an overdue opportunity to redefine success during the school year by finding fresh ways to keep students and their parents involved in the learning process.

"I always encourage my son to try at least one difficult thing every school year," says Arushi Garg, parenting blogger and mom of a 4-year-old. "This challenges him but also allows me to remind him to be optimistic! Lots of things in life are hard, and it's important we learn to be positive during difficult times. Fostering a sense of optimism allows kids to push beyond what they thought possible, like biking without training wheels or reading above their grade level."

Here are a few mantras to keep in mind this school year:

Quality learning matters more than quantifying learning

After focusing on standardized measures of academic success for so long, the learning environment this next school year may involve more independent, remote learning. Some parents are considering this an exciting opportunity for their children to assume a bigger role in what they are learning—and parents are also getting on board by supporting their children's education with engaging, positive learning materials like Highlights Magazine.

As a working mom, Garg also appreciates that Highlights Magazine can help engage her son while she's also working. She says, "He sits next to me and solves puzzles in the magazine or practices his writing from the workbook."

Keep an open mind as "school" looks different

Whether children are of preschool age or in the midst of high school, "going to school" is bound to look different this year. Naturally, this may require some adjustment as kids become accustomed to new guidelines. Although many parents may wish to shelter our kids from challenges, others believe optimism can be fostered through adversity when everyone is committed to adapting to new experiences.

"Honestly, I am yet to figure out when I will be comfortable sending [my son] back [to school]," says Garg. In the meantime, she's helping her son remain connected with friends who also read Highlights Magazine by encouraging the kids to talk about what they are learning on video calls.

Follow children's cues about what interests them

For Garg, her biggest hope for this school year is that her son will create "success" for himself by embracing new learning possibilities with positivity.

"Encouraging my son to try new things has given him a chance to prove that he can do anything," she says. "He takes his previous success as an example now and feels he can fail multiple times before he succeeds."

There's no denying that this school year will be far from the norm. But, perhaps, we can create a new, better way of defining our children's success in school because of it.

This article was sponsored by Highlights. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Products that solve your biggest breastfeeding challenges

Including a battle plan for clogged ducts!

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

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Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

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I have two kids—and I think I'm done

The idea of "more," making more money, obtaining more things—and in my case, creating more life—is not necessarily the ticket to a happier life.

I met my best friend Katie in fifth grade and one of our most favorite games to play was MASH. Our future fates would be decided by one "magic number" where one of us counted the rings on a spiral circle after the other screamed STOP as loud as humanly possible. "Future Husband" and "Number of Children" were clearly our two favorite categories. I remember my "magic combination," and it was marrying Mel Gibson plus having four kids.

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