Sunday, September 6, 2009

Beer and Pregnancy

Now that I am pregnant, I have to ask myself the question, "How do I handle the 9 months of pregnancy, and following months of breast feeding, when it comes to one of my favorite subjects, beer?"

Will I let myself have a beer or two each week that they now say is safe? Will I abstain completely, but still go out on Fridays and watch others drink? Will I meet somewhere in the middle and have a beer occasionally? Are there other options?

For me, I think it best to abstain, although I don't claim to have lost the desire for a beer now and then. In fact I have even had a sip or two of beer with a meal, when there was a new beer to try. I felt it better to have that little taste to satisfy my curiosity, than to have that little voice in my head windering, possibly forever, did I miss out on my potentially favorite beer.

I have also tried drinking some alcohol free beers, but funny thing about that, they often have them on the menu, but don't actually have them available. And those are almost always pilsners, my least favorite beer, although Erdinger makes a wheat beer that's alcohol free. Now if I could just find an alcohol free stout!

If I am eating at a bar, brewpub, or what have you, I look on the menu for something made from a beer, perhaps a pork bbq sandwich with a beer based bbq sauce, or something in a beer broth, or marinated in beer. After all, the alcohol is cooked away.

It's even a good time to brew some beer with your friends. It will definitely be good for the beer to let it age during your pregnancy. I know I usually have to have at least one beer as soon as it's drinkable, but if I brew now, I will hae to let it age, and I can tease my frineds when they are out of beer and I still have all mine.

And what about when you know you are pregnant, but you don't want everyone else to know yet? How do you turn down that beer when you are known as the one who never turns down a beer?

When I wasn't ready to tell everyone i was pregnant, I kept myself "busy", and didn't go out with my drinking buddies. I once ordered a beer and then pretended to drink a few sips over dinner, and drank water the whole time, no one seemed to notice. It's also possible to say you are sick and don't think you could stomach a drink, or even one step further, that you are on medicine that prevents you from drinking. You could even volunteer to be the designated driver.

And what about after the baby is born. I know I will want to celebrate my happy, healthy baby, whether it's just with a few friends or a party for the baptism. But I plan to breast feed? Will I drink? I think I probably will have to celebrate with a few beers, but I can always store some extra breast milk in the freezer during the first few weeks, and it will be ready for the baby when needed, and then I can "pump and dump" while there is alcohol in my system. Besides, after 9 months without drinking, I will probably be a cheap date, anyway. And while I am under the influence, this will be the one time my husband has to be the responsible one and actually take care of the baby, and then he will have to be the sober one! As for drinking on a regular basis, that will still have to wait until the breast feeding is done.

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