When it comes to providing your newborn with the most nutrients, breastfeeding will always be the best way to do so. The vitamins and minerals that are healthiest for a baby come from the mother’s milk. However, when the mom’s body is not being properly taken care of, the nutrients that the baby consumes lose their value. Kombucha, a fermented tea beverage obtained by natural fermentation, has become quite a popular beverage in the health world recently, but despite its health benefits for the average person, surprisingly, it isn’t best to drink while breastfeeding. Initially, you may think it’s completely harmless, but many medical professionals will beg to differ.
The Benefits of Kombucha to Adults
Kombucha that has been naturally fermented contains a certain percentage or traces of alcohol, as alcohol happens to be a byproduct of the fermentation process. When the yeast is combined with sugar additives to most kombucha, the formulation starts to produce carbon dioxide and more alcohol. The same bacteria from the active cultures then consumes its alcohol to produce healthy acids. Normally, as a full functioning adult, drinking kombucha every now and then can be a great means of detoxifying the body as well as improving the digestive tract.
Why Breastfeeding Women Should Abstain
As a breastfeeding woman, however, the situation is a tad different. Although kombucha isn’t like wine or beer, in the sense that its fermentation doesn’t increase the alcohol content of the drink, it’s still not an ideal beverage for breastfeeding moms. The acidity levels of kombucha can also be harmful to the baby, causing your young one to be more susceptible to digestive sensitivities when he or she gets older. The alcohol content may be self-limiting in kombucha, but if your body is not capable of metabolizing alcohol quickly, it can go straight to your breast milk. In rare cases, some mothers choose to add kombucha to their diet, as they find it stimulates their breast milk faster than normal.
However, doing this isn’t something that many doctors recommend, as there really isn’t a way to figure out how much is too much for the baby. The main reason most moms think it’s a good idea to drink kombucha while breastfeeding is because of its high proportion of probiotics. The live, active bacteria help keep the digestive tract balanced and flowing properly. Fortunately, there are many other ways to achieve this result beside kombucha. Yogurt has a great amount of this culture naturally, along with tempeh, pickles, miso and sauerkraut. In addition, there are now various supplements concentrated in probiotics made for breastfeeding mothers.
A big concern many medical professionals have about kombucha is the fact that it’s sold as a non-alcoholic drink commercially. Although it meets the minimum alcohol percentage rules and regulations, at times, it doesn’t specify exact amounts. Due to this, many federal agencies have now strongly recommended mothers to avoid the consumption of the drink throughout the pregnancy and breastfeeding. The CDC has also stated recently that all forms of alcohol can be harmful to newborns since their immune systems are still in developing stages.
Is Every Type of Kombucha Unsafe?
Home-brewed organic kombucha that is often sold at farmers’ markets happens to also contain higher levels of alcohol, at times. Some brews could even contain up to three percent of alcohol, which should qualify them as alcoholic beverages. It takes a few hours for the body to metabolize alcohol when you just gave birth, making it easier for the alcohol to transfer into breastmilk. While the effects of consuming alcohol in minute amounts while breastfeeding are still undetermined, the uncertainty is still risky. Avoidance of substances and ingredients that can be harmful to the baby will allow your child to receive the full benefits of breastmilk without any harm.
Ultimately, drinking kombucha while breastfeeding is an individual choice that a mother should make for herself based on her situation. However, it is simply recommended for the moms who want to drink it to consume the beverage sparingly. Before you decide to incorporate this drink into your diet while breastfeeding, be sure to consult your doctor. Understanding your body and its needs while breastfeeding is vital if you want to provide your baby the best nutrients that he or she deserves.