Drinking Alcohol Now You are a Parent

Published On: September 5, 2018


When it comes to parenthood, one issue that can really inflict problems is alcohol consumption. Even if you drink moderately, problems can still arise because of the 24/7 nature of parenthood.

Most people new to parenthood may wish to continue their occasional binge drinking which they may have done for many years. Binge drinking invariably causes a hangover, and having a hangover does have major implications for your ability to conduct your parental responsibilities competently.

We feel there exists a lot of conflicting advice and misinformation when it comes to alcohol consumption and alcohol.

This guide helps to dispel some of this confusion by offering up evidence-based advice.

1. Alcohol during pregnancy

The amount of alcohol you may drink ‘safely’ varies by country-to-country. What is clear, however, is that alcohol is toxic for your unborn baby. In fact, alcohol is more toxic to the unborn child than illicit drugs such as heroin and cocaine. For this reason, the UK’s Chief Medical Officers recommends pregnant women not to drink any alcohol at all.

Thus, when you are pregnant, don’t even have one drink. It’s just not worth it. It’s quite possible that even moderate amounts of alcohol could permanently damage your baby.

2. Alcohol when your baby is first born

When your baby is born, it’s tempting to engage in an all-out binge drinking session with friends in order to ‘wet the baby’s head’. This is particularly the case for fathers. The practice of ‘wetting the baby’s head’ has existed in British culture for generations, and so you may feel this is a right of passage.

Whilst we could not recommend this practice, we wouldn’t say it presents any lasting problems. Problems begin to occur when you binge drink on a regular occasion. The responsibilities that come with parenthood are simply not compatible with your ‘lager lout’ adventures of the past.

If you wish to take your parental responsibilities seriously, then it’s probably time to finally grow up and leave behind the some of the stuff you could get away with in your late teens and early twenties.

If you engaged in weekly binge drinking over the last decade or so, then this fact may take time to hit home. You will probably have a few run-ins with your partner about your drinking before your finally realise ‘it just doesn’t work.’ We hope the choice between your family and your drinking will be an easy one to make.

The first few weeks following childbirth are often the most testing. Your sleep will suffer and the ‘slow burn’ effect of this will tire you out. Drinking alcohol will not make matters better. Drinking alcohol before you go to bed will only serve to reduce the quality of sleep you are getting.

3. Alcohol and breastfeeding

If you are breastfeeding, then forget about even moderate drinking. Why? Because the alcohol you consume will pass to your baby through your breast milk. Even two units of alcohol per day is enough to cause permanent damage to your newborn baby. Don’t take this risk with the life of another merely so you can feel a little more relaxed at the end of the day.

4. Alcohol and sleeping with your newborn

If you drink alcohol and then sleep beside your newborn, there’s a risk you could crush your baby as you sleep. This is known as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Do not under any circumstances drink alcohol if there is a risk of you falling asleep at your baby’s side.

5. Alcohol and older children

If you drink in front of your children, then you will be sending them the message that it’s acceptable to do so. Studies have shown that children of problem drinkers are much more likely to become problem drinkers themselves in later life compared to those who did not witness their parent’s drinking. Your children may conclude that drinking is beneficial because they may see that it helps you relax and socialise. It’s best to set a better example by not drinking in front of your children.

Getting help if you are drinking too much

If you are concerned about your drinking, the logical arguments we layout here may be insufficient in helping you overcome your urge to drink alcohol. It could be possible that you have developed a physical addiction to alcohol. If this is the case, you may need to undergo an alcohol detox at a residential rehab clinic. It’s important to realise that alcoholism is a disease and not a moral failing.

If you feel your drinking has merely gotten out of hand, you may implement the below list in order to moderate your drinking:

  • Keep a drinks diary: make a note of when you drink and how much you drank
  • Ensure you space out your drinking so that you have many alcohol-free days
  • When you go out, don’t allow your friends to pressure you into drinking alcohol
  • Avoid certain places and/or people if you feel you simply won’t be able to resist the urge to drink alcohol
  • Do not keep alcohol in the house
  • Consider drinking alcohol-free beer and wine – producers have considerably improved the way these taste over the last few years, particularly due to the demand for alcohol-free alternatives in mainland Europe

Getting help today

Rehab 4 Alcoholism is a specialist helpline set up to help those who are effective by alcoholism. Because alcoholism is a physical addiction, it’s important to undertake a detox with medical supervision. This level of care is offered at an alcohol rehab clinic. For free help and advice, contact us today on 0800 111 4108.

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