Babies that get intoxicated on ethanol frequently do so because their mothers were drunk when they were producing baby formula. Hospital-born infants almost never develop a drink-related impairment, even when harmful practices like the excessive use of alcoholic hand sanitizers are present. That paper reports an unusual acute ethanol intoxication case that occurred in the NICU where the study’s subjects were being cared for. An extremely premature infant (23 0/7 weeks gestational age, birthweight 580 g) treated in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) by researchers had many bouts of life-threatening hemodynamic compromise, apnea, and lactic acidosis. Patients recovered fully after a short period of symptomatic treatment with intravenous fluids, intubation, and, if necessary, catecholamine medication. All of those incidents were traced back to ethanol in breast milk. The baby’s mother nursed, but at the recommendation of a relative, she drank heavily to increase her stamina so that she could pump more frequently. She fed her baby both breast milk and cow’s milk since she was worried he wasn’t receiving enough of either. Talks with the mother were extensive, and with the help of a translator, she confirmed our suspicions. That out-of-the-ordinary case demonstrates how cultural influences can add to the complexity of caring for premature infants. Investigators believe it is critical to highlight the significance of tight collaboration with the parents of NICU patients and the importance of honest and trusting communication between all parties. Child safety concerns and the danger of intoxication must be considered even in a supposedly risk-free place like the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

 

Source: bmcpediatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12887-022-03567-w