Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The 20 Minute Digression

Tonight, Andy and I went to a lactation class sponsored by the hospital where I'm delivering. Though I have a free consultant that I can call anytime for questions up to a year (courtesy of work benefits) and lactation consultants at the hospital are free prior to your departure, my doctor had made the suggestion for us to take a class when I told her I wanted to breastfeed. She said part of the battle is educating yourself, not getting tired, not giving up, knowing how to remedy things if they went sour, etc. and that my spouse would be an important supporter of the process since I would be so devastatingly tired, I would resort to formula in a heartbeat if given the chance. Then she told me my job for the first 6 weeks was to be the baby's source of food.. and that was IT. She even stressed what that meant by further telling me any free time I had, I was to sleep and energize myself for the next feeding and to leave the cooking, cleaning, even diaper changing, to others! Sweet deal - I'm in!

So at class today, they started off by telling us all the positive aspects of breastfeeding. To my limited knowledge, it was more economical and the savings would be great and it just seems natural, so why not right?... but apparently, there are also a ton of health benefits that go along with it and to my surprise, studies have shown that boys who breastfeed are able to develop their speech earlier than boys who don't, that was it - sign me up, I'm in! We then dove into the topic of what to eat while breastfeeding and to my surprise, the restrictions are quite consistent with the current pregnancy list.

To my disappointment, I will have to say no to sashimi, deli meat, and soft cheeses for another year (if I make it that long breastfeeding). During this topic of conversation, someone asked if beer was okay. I guess it's an old wives' tale that beer is good for the baby (maybe from the wheat?) but the myth was quickly disposed of and I then proceeded to ask about about peanut butter which I have been feeling guilty about eating so much of lately. What if my son develops a peanut allergy because of my peanut butter obsession? Ugh. It would be very difficult to live with that! And it would probably be enough to throw me into the weirdo pool with Andy as someone who doesn't eat peanut butter (weird, right?!)

The instructor told us that my baby, along with every other pregnant lady in the room who had indulged in peanut butter while pregnant, had children who had already been exposed to peanut butter. *gasp - it's too late! But then, as quick as you can say peanut butter, we got back to the topic of alcohol and how much of it can be consumed while pregnant.

There is so much debate about how much wine one can drink while pregnant - to the point where I have heard a glass here or there is fine - I know so and so who did it, etc. etc. but just yesterday, I saw on the news (I know, not always the most credible, but hear me out) that new studies show drinking moderately during the first trimester can lead to infant death syndrome. Eeek! That doesn't sound so safe anymore, now does it?!

Well, this is the funny part. Our instructor kept telling everyone that all things in moderation were okay, but kept getting more follow up questions thrown at her such as - how long between feedings before you can drink another glass of wine, so do you drink after you feed or before? Alcohol was no stranger to me before I found the gospel and learned of the Word of Wisdom, but even when I put myself into my old shoes and thought of whether this was a reasonable question, I had to stifle a laugh. Were these people serious? Did they not realize that there were greater sacrifices being made on behalf of this lil being that would soon join their families?

The instructor went on to explain that if you drank more than one glass of wine, you should probably pump and throw the next milk you have away - which led to more questions of exactly how much wine you could drink over the course of a day, a week, the year, for that matter. I sat there, quite amused and quite sad that we had just digressed for 20 minutes into discussions of something that was recommended against in the first place, when the teacher brought up this...

"Well," she started off, "there are also other reasons besides polluting your baby with alcohol that you would not want to drink that much while breastfeeding such as the safety of your baby, your ability to function as a mother, etc." HA. Now that is funny. That really hit the nail in the wall.

And then, to my disbelief, we continued down the same road of useless questions, only this time - about caffeine - but mainly coffee and what types of coffee one could drink, what sizes, from where (one person actually researched ahead of time that a Starbucks 20 oz Venti is 300 mg of caffeine) and the instructor had to resort to - "Well, if your kid gets jittery, it's probably time to limit it a bit. Moderation folks.. moderation." The funnier thing is - I think our class struggled with defining what moderation really meant.

People often wonder why Mormons have so many kids. Today, I hypothesized during the 20 minute digression in class, that maybe it's not just because we understand the sacrifices we're making for ultimate happiness as a family unit or that it's part of God's plan, but also because our pregnancies are not as tormenting with restrictions of alcohol and coffee. Okay, that's silly - it's only 18 months, but apparently, some people can't go that long without just dying for a glass of wine. The conversations about soft cheeses, deli meat and sashimi were short lived while the talk of alcohol and coffee went on and on and on. It can't be healthy to rely so much on any substance, even if it wakes you up or makes you feel better. Logic tells me otherwise!


Chris and Paige Evans said...

How sad. People people people. PRIORITIES!

I can attest that caffeine does make babies super irritable! I drank a Mountain Dew to try and get rid of a headache and poor Mr. Fox didn't sleep a wink that night... no more caffeine in the slightest for me 'til he's done breastfeeding!

Kara @ Just1Step said...

Interesting that you were told to limit all those foods while breastfeeding - I wasn't told to limit any of them! I ate peanut butter, deli meats, and soft cheese galore and was never told or read otherwise.

In regards to the alcohol, yes it is crazy how much people care about it. But that is the life of a "typical" human being. I would have a sip of beer or wine here or there, but that was it. And I limited my caffeine but did not eliminate it completely. I just watched to see how it affected my son. It never seemed to bother him, even when I got jittery from accidentally having too much. So I didn't worry too much.

Just be smart. Watch your child. Your mother intuitions (which you already seem to have) will guide the way. :)

AE Jones said...

Wow - SUCH good points! I've never thought of it that way! Gosh I love reading your blog!!

Kimberly Bluestocking said...

I have a hard enough time abstaining from raw cookie dough while pregnant. I'm glad I don't have to give up anything that is actually addicting.