Best Stouts to Help with Breastfeeding: Myth or Miracle?

Best Stouts to Help with Breastfeeding: Myth or Miracle?

A nice pint of Guinness Stout

When it comes to the age-old advice passed down through generations, one intriguing recommendation for breastfeeding mothers is the consumption of stout beers. The rich, dark brew is often believed to help increase milk supply. But is there any truth to this, or is it simply a well-loved myth? Let’s dive into the details.

The Historical Context

The idea that certain stouts can aid in breastfeeding isn’t new. Historically, dark beers like stouts have been thought to boost milk production due to their higher levels of barley and hops. While the scientific evidence supporting this is limited, many mothers swear by this practice.

Top Stouts Often Recommended

Here are a few stouts that are frequently mentioned in discussions about breastfeeding:

Guinness Draught

Guinness is often recommended due to its relatively low alcohol content and rich nutritional profile. This classic Irish stout is smooth and easy to drink, making it a popular choice.

Oatmeal Stouts

Oatmeal stouts are believed to be beneficial because oats are known to support milk production. Here are two popular options:

  • Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout: This stout has a rich, creamy texture and a slight sweetness that pairs well with its roasted malt flavor.
  • Founders Breakfast Stout: With notes of coffee and chocolate, this stout is a favorite among beer enthusiasts.

Milk Stouts

Milk stouts contain lactose, a sugar derived from milk, which can be beneficial for milk production. Here are some examples:

  • Left Hand Milk Stout: This stout is known for its creamy mouthfeel and slightly sweet finish.
  • Mackeson’s XXX Milk Stout: This classic milk stout is smooth and rich, with a touch of sweetness from the lactose.

Important Considerations

While the idea of enjoying a stout to boost milk production is appealing, there are some important considerations to keep in mind:

Moderation is Key

Alcohol consumption should be limited while breastfeeding. The CDC suggests no more than one standard drink per day and waiting at least 2 hours after a single drink before breastfeeding to ensure the alcohol has left your system.

Alcohol-Free Options

For those who prefer to avoid alcohol altogether, there are many non-alcoholic stouts and beers that can provide the same psychological benefit without the alcohol content.

Nutrition and Hydration

A well-balanced diet and staying hydrated are crucial for milk production. Ensure you’re getting enough fluids and nutrients to support both you and your baby.

Six Stouts to Try While Breastfeeding

Stout isn’t just a delicious dark beer that can drink like a meal. It’s also long been believed to be a breastfeeding new mom’s best friend. While some studies warn against nursing mothers consuming alcohol, many doctors believe the occasional drink doesn’t hurt. In certain cultures, dark beer is even considered beneficial: It’s been used to increase the flow of breast milk since the ancient Egyptians started brewing beer 5,000 years ago.

There’s some science behind this belief. Barley, a main ingredient in stout, contains a polysaccharide that increases prolactin, a milk-production hormone. Oats, another common ingredient in stouts, are also thought to promote healthy milk supply, as is vitamin-B-heavy brewer’s yeast. Of course, a beer with a mild proof is the best option for new moms––milk stouts tend to have reasonable ABVs.

These six creamy milk and oatmeal stouts will please those feeding tiny humans from their own bodies and anyone else who appreciates good beer.

1. Copper Kettle Milk Stout ($11 per six-pack)

Made with actual lactose, the ingredient that gives milk stout its name and creamy character, this brew is sweet and malty. While it doesn’t actually taste like milk, this Denver beer has a chocolate milk character and velvety mouthfeel that’s pretty irresistible. At 5.6% ABV, why resist?

2. Finkel & Garf Oatmeal Milk Stout ($9 per six-pack)

From craft-beer-loving Colorado, this oatmeal milk stout is less sweet than a typical milk stout but not quite as heavy as an oatmeal stout. It drinks more like a main course than dessert, but isn’t overly filling. At 5.5% ABV, it shows satisfying malty, coffee, and chocolatey notes.

3. Guinness Milk Stout ($11 per six-pack)

Guinness released its milk stout as part of The Brewers Project series. Using the same yeast base as classic Guinness, this stout offers a kiss of sweetness from the addition of milk sugars, plus bittering hops and roasted barley. It’s smooth and creamy with a toasty chocolate milk undertone. Not quite as low ABV as the original, which clocks in at 4.2%, the 5.3% milk stout is undeniably sessionable.

4. Left Hand Milk Stout ($10 per six-pack)

With roasted barley, flaked oats, and flaked barley, this delightful milk stout is rich and chocolaty thanks, in no small part, to the addition of actual chocolate. At 6% ABV, it’s surprisingly approachable with its sweet, toasty notes and seductive mocha character.

5. Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout ($12 per four-pack)

This 5% ABV beer contains hops, malted barley, brewer’s yeast, and oats, making it your classic oatmeal stout recipe. Each batch is fermented in stone Yorkshire squares in the oldest brewery in Tadcaster, England. The result is a refreshing and filling drink with a smooth and bittersweet finish.

6. Sand Creek Oscar’s Chocolate Oatmeal Stout ($7.50 per six-pack)

Oatmeal, chocolate, and barley sound like the components of a breakfast of champions, but they also come together beautifully in dark beer. This nutty, slightly sweet Wisconsin brew caps at 5.6% ABV. It’s “full-bodied yet smooth-drinking,” according to the brewer.

Final Thoughts

While some mothers find that enjoying a stout helps with milk production, it’s essential to approach this practice with caution. Always consult with a healthcare provider or a lactation consultant before making any changes to your diet or alcohol consumption while breastfeeding.

Ultimately, whether it’s for the potential benefits or simply for the love of a good craft beer, enjoying a well-crafted stout can be a delightful experience. Cheers to happy and healthy breastfeeding!

Guinness Articles

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