If you are planning on drinking during the silly season, here are a few helpful hints to make it more fun and safe for you and baby.
If breastfeeding you may need to express:
– to keep up your milk supply for the next day
– if your breasts become uncomfortably full after a few hours
If you are going to express, make sure you know how your pump works and that you will have somewhere you can do it in private. Make sure everything is clean and ready, if you express just to keep up milk and relieve your boobs, then there is no need to sterilise the pump or keep the milk. But make sure you wash everything after with water, to stop milk leaking into your bag or going sour in the pump.
Your breast-milk will have as much alcohol as your blood. It gets metabolised at the same rate. So, if you have a portable breathalyser you can easily see if your milk is back to normal before you feed baby. Otherwise you can follow the same rules as when drinking: one drink takes approximately 4 hours to leave your system.
If baby is at the party with you:
Its a very good idea to have a ‘designated driver’ – not to drive you but to help you keep an eye on bub. You just don’t know how the alcohol is going to affect you if you haven’t drunk for a while. Having someone sober and responsible that you specifically ask to help you keep an eye and ear out will help you relax and keep baby safer. If they are going to help feeding baby, make sure both of you know how the bottle works and that baby will take one.
Have enough breast milk saved up just in case baby is thirstier or hungrier than you expected. Have some fresh or defrosted and the extras can be frozen, so you don’t have to waste them if not used. If using formula make sure everything is measured out and ready to shake. That your designated helper knows how to make it, how warm it needs to be and how to feed, burp and change baby. If breastfeeding and you don’t have enough milk saved up, you can always use a bit of formula if you want – just be prepared.
If it is a big party with lots of people you don’t know or don’t want passing baby around then:
– find or arrange somewhere baby can be safe and secure and out of the way
– make your desire clear at the beginning, say you don’t want baby passed around because people will be drinking and you don’t feel it would be safe. Or say baby hasn’t had all their immunisations and you don’t want them to get sick – with no offence intended, that people may not know they are carriers of something
Take a nice non-alcoholic drink with no sugar that you know you enjoy. I love sparkling water, so I ‘splashed out’ and bough two bottles of my favourite to take with to my family’s christmas lunch. This way you are not relying on someone to have something and you know there will be more than enough for you. Sparkling water can be drunk out of a champagne glass, two to every one champagne. It still feels special and sparkly. No sugar is important, as it exaggerates the effects of alcohol. Some other ideas are:
– a fruity iced tea
– a sugar free flavoured mineral water
– diluted juice
– hot black, green or white tea
– try to avoid too much caffeine as well as the alcohol
If you are not planning on drinking, but want to have a good time then take a drink you love and drink it with pleasure. I love white peach nectar over ice with crushed mint leaves and maraschino cherries. Or make a mocktail of your favourite cocktail. If you like wine then white grape juice, very chilled is lovely. As is pure black cherry juice drunk out of a red wine glass. You can even get non-alcoholic red, white, sparkling wine and beer from a supermarket (not the bottle shop but an actual major or minor supermarkets). I gave my husband a few of the non alcoholic beers last new years and he didn’t notice!
If you have a plan and are prepared, then there is no need to stress and you can have a good time – regardless of if you are going to drink or not.
If you have any suggestions for a safe silly season, please leave them in the comments section!