Several recent blog entries have discussed the affect of alcohol on breastfeeding. This question keeps coming up with new mothers. They are embarrassed to drink in public because of the media attention on alcohol and pregnancy. Others are harassed by those who believe all caffeine, even that in chocolate, is dangerous for babies in utero. Then there are folks who want to discuss every bite of food a mother eats, the supplements she takes, and what she drinks. This kind of scrutiny is for your obstetrician rather than your acquaintances.
Pregnant and new mommies are already stressed to the max on their own. They want to do their very best for their babies. Everyone they talk to has a different opinion of what “the best” is. Their mothers, sisters, mothers-in-law, work colleagues, neighbors, friends, uncles, pediatricians, the Internet, and on and on all weigh in on how pregnant and nursing mothers should behave. Most often all these helpful people do not agree. So mom, who wants to do her best, learns the hard way, ‘You can’t please all the people all the time.’ This can be a painful and difficult lesson.
What is a mommy to do? The wisdom of the ages says “Practice Moderation”. More problems arise in extreme behaviors than in moderation. There is the saying “Too much of anything can be a bad thing”. So don’t do too much. Having chocolate once in a while is probably much better for you than craving it incessantly and eventually binging and eating all the chocolate you can find! The same can be said for coffee, other caffeine drinks, wine, even breads and citrus. Our bodies are amazing things, they adjust when fed.
In my doula practice I seek to bring peace to the stress and confusion of life. Too much information causes us to shut down and give up. Too many rules or fears do the same. For all of us, living under the COVID cloud has intensified the confusion. Take a deep breath and let the stress flow from you. For me, the best place to do this is sitting on the sand at a beach. For you perhaps it is a park, coffee shop, or your own backyard. Find your relaxed place and go there to think. If you have little ones at home wait until they are resting or asleep and find your spot at home.
Pregnant and lactating moms, take the time to relax and think when making decisions about the topics above. Do not feel pressured to respond as others think you should. Find the best answer to each question for you.
Remember, moderation and peace.