Mommy Can Drink Again!

WZW is 8 weeks old now.  He’s going to have his official weigh-in later this week, but a couple days ago we checked his weight using the poor man’s baby scale.  I weighed myself without him, then with him, and the difference was 11.5 lbs (our bathroom scale goes to the 1/2 pound).  Recently, his feedings have spaced out to 4 hours, which has been great.  At night, he’ll even sometimes go 5 or 6 hours.  The problem is, he doesn’t sleep the entire time between those feeds.  But still, we’ll take it!  I think now that he’s putting on more weight, he’s able to withstand more time between his feeds.

The nice thing about the greater spacing between feeds is that we can more easily take him out of the house without worrying about hurrying back as quickly.  Thus far, other than breastfeeding at friends’ houses, I’ve only had to breastfeed in public once, in the car in a parking lot.  Otherwise, we’ve regularly taken him out for short excursions, but we’ve always timed them right after his feeds.  So that’s how I’ve been able to avoid having to feed in public.

The other nice thing about the spaced out feeds is that I can drink alcohol again without worrying about it passing to WZW through my breastmilk.  I found out I was pregnant last New Year’s Eve.  Weird to think that a year ago, he hadn’t even been conceived yet.  We were having a New Year’s Eve party at our place, and I was expecting my period to start.  My boobs were tender, and I was having mild cramping so I totally thought I was just having signs that my period was about to start.  But since we were trying, I wanted to double-check that it was safe to drink that night.

I’d gotten one of the specimen cups from work (after realizing it’s not that easy to pee on a stick for 5 seconds as directed), so I peed in the cup and let my husband do the honors with the test.  So we were both in the bathroom together when we saw the plus sign appear.  Imagine our shock- even though we were trying, it was definitely still unreal to actually see the positive test.  We had to quickly gather our bearings and continue preparing for our party.

That night, I played bartender and made the cocktails.  But I managed to just take little sips and no one noticed that I wasn’t really drinking.  Initially after that, I did miss being able to drink fancy cocktails at some of my favorite restaurants and bars.  But soon after, probably thanks to the nausea of pregnancy, I can’t say I really missed alcohol.  I would take an occasional little sip of my husband’s drinks, but didn’t feel deprived.

Even after the pregnancy ended, even though my eating finally went back to normal, I didn’t immediately feel the need to drink alcohol again.  Also, on a practical level, since I was initially feeding often, it wouldn’t be recommended.

I didn’t find any specific recommendations from ACOG (the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists), but at my institution they’ve stopped telling breastfeeding women that they must completely abstain from alcohol.  They found that it was too restrictive, and frankly a lot of women were probably drinking anyway.  So they recommend drinking no more than one drink per hour, and to try to time it right after a feed (or pump and dump if it exceeds that amount).  My husband got me a product called Milkscreen which tests breast milk for alcohol.  You dip the strips in breast milk for 2 minutes, and it will change color with alcohol.  It’s similar to the urine dipsticks we use in the office for a quick urine check.

So far I haven’t tried the Milkscreen strips because I’ve avoided drinking enough alcohol for it to be a concern.  Initially, I would have a few sips of my husband’s wine after a feed.  Certainly nothing that would still be hanging around at the time of the next feed.

More recently, I just started having an interest in drinking wine again.  I think it’s because I tried a red wine that I really liked.  My husband had been drinking a lot of rosé, which I’ve never been a fan of.  He admitted that he still can’t tell the difference between different rosés, but it was more nostalgic for him since he drank it a lot while he was in Provence this past July.  There, because it’s so hot in the summer, it’s normal to drink it with ice cubes.

All of a sudden after trying a great red wine, I had this inclination to drink again.  Plus with WZW’s feeds spacing out, I now had the freedom to drink a glass right after a feed and not have to worry about it still being in my system by the time his next feed came around.  In addition to drinking wine at home, I had my first cocktail when we went out to dinner with a friend this week.

Spending time with my son is so fun and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  But it is tough, and life is very limited compared to the good old days- I’m usually with him constantly and particularly on the days my husband is at work, it’s hard to so much as shower when I’m alone with WZW.  He likes to be in a carrier much of the time.  At home, I’ve been using the Boba wrap and my husband likes the Infantino carrier that we received as a shower gift.  The latter is definitely much easier for taking him out in public.  I’m sure most parents relate- we’ve definitely had to use the restroom (yes, #2 as well) while we have him attached to us on a carrier.  Being able to drink alcohol again more freely- just a glass of wine or one cocktail instead of sips- gives me some semblance of my old life before WZW.

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