true confessions

I breastfed drunk

Thursday, February 21, 2008

It was my first baby-free outing since my son had been born. Now he was five months old and I was going out, on my own, to a pub lunch with old friends.

My partner and I had it all worked out … he would babysit until the evening, and then head off to play tennis once I got back. I gave bub a breastfeed, and we had formula in the cupboard in case he didn't last the three hours until I returned.

Before I went, my partner asked if I wanted him to make up a bottle of formula anyway, just in case I felt like having a drink at the lunch. What a silly question, I thought. I'd been very good about not drinking while I was pregnant and I'd had only the occasional half-glass of wine now I was breastfeeding.

"Oh, no," I replied breezily. "I'm over alcohol. I'll probably only have one beer at the very most. Don't worry about it."

At the pub, it was great to see the old crew and have a natter about politics and the state of the world. In fact, it was great talking about anything that didn't concern how long a baby was sleeping and if he'd started on solids yet!

Affected by the general good cheer, I decided to be naughty and have just one beer … but I downed the drink quickly as I became caught up in conversation. Soon someone bought me another. I kept chatting and drank some more. It wasn't long before I lost count of how many I'd had.

Eventually people started saying their good-byes and drifting home. I was feeling light-headed, but it wasn't until I began the short walk home that I realised how drunk I was.

As I wandered down the path, my body kept veering to the right. There was no way I could walk in a straight line! That's no good, I muttered to myself.

Eventually I got to my front door. "Hello," I called cheerily to my partner. I was a little late, and he barely saw me as he bolted out the door to go to tennis.

Somehow I made it upstairs to our bedroom, where our son was sleeping in a cot. I felt very drunk and very tired, and the bed looked very inviting. I laid down and immediately passed out.

It wasn't long before I was woken by the insistent yell of a hungry baby. I wandered over to the cot, gathered up my precious bundle, and started breastfeeding him on the bed, as I had so many times before.

He was happily guzzling at my breast when I felt the bile rising in my throat. The room started spinning and, horrified, I realised I was going to vomit. There was no time to get downstairs to the bathroom, and there was no way bub was going to come off my breast in the middle of a feed.

I was stuck.

In a panic, I grabbed two of my partner's T-shirts from his laundry basket and laid them double-thickness on the bed … then I spewed on them, with my baby at my breast all the while.

Finally my son finished his feed. I popped him back in his cot and turned on the little TV in our bedroom. There was a documentary screening. "Oh look, elephants!" I cried drunkenly, pointing at the picture.

I picked up the soiled T-shirts and took them to the laundry to wash them out.

On returning to the bedroom, I gave my son another kiss, and then promptly passed out again on the end of the bed.

Half an hour later, my partner arrived home from tennis to find me curled up in a foetal position on the bed, with the TV blaring and our baby staring at me from the cot.

"Umm, are you OK?" he asked.

"Urrgh, I drank too much," I confessed.

"So I should have made up a bottle?" he asked.

All I could do was groan.

Our baby showed no ill-effects from my stupid behaviour, but it was an episode I never want to repeat. As for my partner, he forgave me for getting drunk. But I'm still not game to tell him I used two of his favourite T-shirts as chuck rugs!

Image: Getty / Picture posed by models
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