Jessie James Decker posted a harmless breastfeeding photo and got roasted by offended viewers who dropped ignorant comments. The mom fired back, defending her choices. This time, however, it wasn’t just the sight of her breast that was an issue. Instead, there was a problem with what else people saw in the image.
Jessie James Decker, the wife of retired NFL star Eric Decker, wears many hats. She’s a reality star with her husband on Eric & Jessie and a successful singer with her own clothing line called Kittenish, according to Daily Mail. More importantly, she’s a mom. With her many roles comes stress. And, she destresses like many women do — with a glass of wine. That would be fine by most standards, but not according to the parenting police on Instagram.
After Jessie James posted a photo of her and her child, she stirred up controversy with her parenting choices. The issue wasn’t the fact she was breastfeeding or showing a lot of skin in the image as 4-month-old Forest was latched onto her nipple. Instead, Jessie James was forced to defend herself for breastfeeding while drinking alcohol. The photo of Jessie James breastfeeding with a full glass of wine in her hand was captioned, “Cheers b*tches” — and that’s all it took for the internet hate to start pouring in. There’s just one problem.
“I honestly feel like I’m the voice of all the moms,” Jessie James told People after her image sparked debate. “I definitely feel like they get heat for certain things,” she added. “I know I’m a great mother, there’s not one doubt in my mind. I know that I take care of my babies, I know that they feel loved and they feel happy. I don’t have nannies; I take care of my children,” she continued. “So if I want to have a cocktail to celebrate my husband doing something great in his work, I’m going to, and I can still breastfeed.”
It turns out, the 30-year-old mother-of-three was right. Too many people confuse drinking while breastfeeding with consuming alcohol while pregnant, but it’s not the same at all. When pregnant, all alcohol consumption should be avoided. But, a glass of wine while breastfeeding is nothing to worry about. However, don’t take my word for it. Look at what experts have to say about it.
After explaining how moms are constantly being judged, Catherine Pound, a pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, said, “I would be very careful about chastising any woman for having an occasional drink. She shouldn’t feel guilty. She should be able to enjoy it.” According to Today’s Parent, Dr. Pound added, “I’d rather see them have successful breastfeeding relationships, even if it means an occasional drink, especially when babies are older than three months. At the end of the day, the benefits of breastfeeding are huge.”
The La Leche League and breastfeeding expert Jack Newman agree. With the World Health Organization recommending exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and continuing for up to two years, most experts don’t want women to abandon breastfeeding because they want to have an occasional drink. Luckily, it’s not an either-or situation like it is during pregnancy when the levels of “alcohol passing through the placenta to the fetus are very, very different,” according to obstetrician George Carson, who served as president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
When breastfeeding, the alcohol level in the mother’s milk is the same as her blood and becomes even more diluted as the baby metabolizes it. “We’re talking super small amounts if the amount consumed by the mother is small,” Dr. Pound pointed out. Very small, indeed. After reviewing 41 studies, the medical journal Basic + Clinical Pharmacology + Toxicology states that even in the case of binge drinking, the breastfeeding child would not be subjected to clinically relevant amounts of alcohol from the mother’s breastmilk.
Of course, this isn’t a recommendation to get plastered since drinking to the point of intoxication would inhibit a mother’s ability to care for her child safely and properly. “If you want one drink four or five times a week, you can do that,” Dr. Carson explained. “But it doesn’t mean you can save them all up and have them at once,” he furthered. “Just like you don’t want to drive impaired, you don’t want to be impaired and doing childcare.”
So, ultimately, the concern isn’t alcohol in the breastmilk, but rather the risk of the mother falling, dropping the baby, or passing out and forgetting about her child. In addition, her reaction time slows. And, of course, sharing a bed with your infant is discouraged — even more than it already is — if the mother has been drinking since there is the risk of rolling over and suffocating the child.
An occasional glass of wine while breastfeeding is fine. A mother shouldn’t stop breastfeeding to enjoy a drink. “New moms who are breastfeeding should feel happy and confident in what they’re doing,” Dr. Carson says. “It’s the right thing to do, and they should get on and enjoy their lives while they’re doing it.” So, perhaps the judgmental Instagram moms should spend more time educating themselves rather than blasting other mothers who are actually doing things right. While being so quick to call Jessie James Decker a bad mom, each of her critics only proved themselves to be a bad person with bad information.