My friends Emily and John are going to have a baby. They are due in just a few days, and I find that in my excitement for them, I am also reliving some of the moments we experienced as new parents. Some are so scary, while others are just so funny.
Scary and funny: Chip was born toward the end of November. We went to a Christmas party, so it was somewhere in mid to late December. I was being oh so careful about not drinking alcohol since I was breast-feeding. But that night, they were offering eggnog, and I really love eggnog–not even the liquored kind, just good ol’ eggnog from the Purity carton is fine. So, when Kristi Martin had eggnog for us to all drink, I decided that surely I could have a little. Fast forward several hours to, oh around 2:00 in the morning. I was frantic (and in some maternal pain) because Chip had been asleep for a long time–probably six hours at that point, and that was still a long time for him to go without eating. I checked to see if he was breathing–had I somehow killed him with the eggnog? Whew, he was breathing. He was still sleeping, though, oh so soundly. Had I gotten our baby drunk? I was frantic. I made Bernie get up and read through all of the books with me. We couldn’t really find anything that answered the questions we had. It was probably another hour before Chip finally awakened enough to eat and be changed…he was sopping wet. With God as my witness, I would never drink again while he was nursing—I had to save my baby!
The next day, Chip and I drove to the next little town to see our pediatrician. The guilt was almost more than I could bear. But I told the doctor what had happened and begged for forgiveness for this most unpardonable sin. He laughed a little, walked out of the room, returning shortly with a book. He pointed me to the required passage of reading, and I read. It was a rather dated parenting book, and it suggested that mothers have a beer or glass of wine an hour or less before nursing their baby. The small amount of alcohol would relax the mother enough for her milk to let down. (If you are not a mom who nursed, you probably have no idea what this means, and that’s ok) Basically, it means that a few sips of alcohol will not only not hurt the baby, but are in fact a medically approved suggestion.
I laughed, barely, with the doctor, acknowledging my relief in discovering that I wasn’t to be ashamed of having the eggnog, only for having panicked. I read a lot of books after that. Followed all that I could, made lots more mistakes, laughed and cried a lot along the way. But in the end, I discovered that babies are pretty resilient–more than their parents at times, it seems.
Can’t wait to meet the new baby at John and Emily’s house! Just knowing I’m not the one making decisions that will affect that baby is enough to make me smile!