Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

Would you drink alcohol when caring for an infant?

Asked by JLeslie (61840points) September 28th, 2021
72 responses
“Great Question” (3points)

Your baby or someone else’s.

Any alcohol at all. Everything counts. If so how much is ok? You are the sole adult present, so you have complete responsibility for the baby.

It came up on another Q. Just wondering how the collective feels about it for themselves or how they view it in general.

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Answers

rebbel's avatar

No, I definitely would want to be as clear headed as I could be.
I imagine it takes much energy, and experience, to take care of them.
Washing, poo, pee, feeding, etc.
And I’ve seen on YouTube recently how they can harm you, sometimes unintentionally.
One hit with their trunk and you’re dead meat.

snowberry's avatar

No, but I don’t drink anyway. I hate the taste of the stuff.

product's avatar

When caring for my infants, I was in every possible state:

- exhausted, not exhausted
– anxious, not anxious
– happy, extremely unhappy
– focused, unfocused
– healthy, violently ill

And there were times when:

- I had a drink or two of alcohol, didn’t drink alcohol
– I consumed healthy food, consumed unhealthy food

During these years, I also:

- had healthy family interactions, had unhealthy family interactions
– exercised daily, did not exercise daily
– had no financial troubles, had huge financial troubles

etc.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that when raising a child of any age, you’re doing so while fully human. Life doesn’t stop, nor should it. There are people who look at raising children in a clinical way, as though you can scientifically break down the exact steps to perfectly raise a child. And more importantly, this view turns into a vehicle for judging those who choose to raise a child differently.

Mistakes happen to everyone. People have moments throughout their day where they exercise various levels of caution and living. To assign a particular recipe to parenting and judge those who have been victims of accident or circumstance is pretty messed up. I’m not willing to make a statement about the exact amount of alcohol a parent consumes that would make a tragedy a criminal offense or even something we should judge.

I made all kinds of decisions and choices when raising my three kids that others would find objectionable (two kids were born at home, we co-slept with all of them, we carried our children, practiced attachment and trust, “free range” when older, etc). Some of my friends considered us a bit “hippie”, but I didn’t give a shit.

So, how much alcohol is too much? I don’t know and I don’t care, just like I don’t care to make a judgment about how little sleep is too little for someone to be caring for a child, or how unhealthy or “overweight” they are, or if they are in a pleasant mood, or they get enough sunlight or if they are prone to anxiety or if they have ADHD or if they have a cold. Parenting is a human activity, and there is no way to parent without experiencing all that makes up being a human.

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Nomore_lockout's avatar

No. I say that as a father of two, grand father eight, and great grand father of one, soon to be two. There is a time and place for everything. Watching babies or children is not the time or place for an acholic beverage. Coke, tea, or Dr. Pepper, break a leg. Leave me alone with children and a fridge full of soda or candy, and we will clean the place out.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Nope. There is always too much going on when taking care of the little guys. I barely have time to eat!

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Gracious, no.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I don’t have babies but I’ve babysat a LOT in my life, and no, that is not something I would do personally, as if there is an emergency you need to be able to think clearly and act fast.

Not many here in my area would let you babysit while drinking either, the children are top priority and some babysitters are asked for references and even background checks. Frankly it never crossed my mind to even think about doing that, even as a teenager.
To me, it’s just common sense to be sober when small children are around.

jca2's avatar

I drink very rarely, maybe 5 or 6 times a year at most. That said, I can’t say that I haven’t had a glass of wine or maybe two glasses at a holiday gathering or other occasion, when I had my daughter with me, or if I had company and had a glass or two.

canidmajor's avatar

Apparently my sports metaphor offended some people.
Let me try again.
@product’s post is the most realistic, honest thing here. Unless you are the 24/7 caregiver of an infant (sorry, but babysitting doesn’t really count) you really have no idea what it’s like, so it’s easy to be outraged at the folks who might want a glass of wine after an exhausting spell with an infant. I found sleep deprivation to be much more impairing than a glass of wine. There is just so much going on, and the having to switch gears in thinking and energy output every few minutes is dizzying.

janbb's avatar

The dictum which I try to follow in most cases is “Don’t judge a person until you have walked a mile in their shoes.” There is a huge difference between babysitting for a child and being responsible 24/7. And there is also a huge difference between having a glass of wine to relax after a baby is asleep and getting shitfaced.

Personally, I’m not a drinker but I am able to see nuances in a situation. There were times when my husband served as my glass of wine and prevented me from losing it.

janbb's avatar

And @canidmajor since we were typing at the same time, I think we owe each other a glass of wine.

canidmajor's avatar

@janbb If we do it in secret and don’t tell (and our infants are grown-ups) maybe two!!!

KNOWITALL's avatar

@canidmajor There are a lot of hills you can die on, but defending drinking alcohol with infants in your sole care is a really odd one.

product's avatar

@KNOWITALL – Spoiler alert: The “hill” is not about alcohol consumption.

chyna's avatar

^ I don’t believe that @canidmajor was touting the use of liquor on a daily basis and in large quantities. I’m not a mom and have never been responsible for a baby for any extended length of time. But I can see having one glass of wine at the end of a trying day would be much better than snapping. One glass of wine will not make you drunk nor skew a persons perception.

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KNOWITALL's avatar

@canidmajor Sorry but growing up with alcoholic parents and having brain surgery at age four because of their bad choices with alcohol left a big impression.
I was paralyzed for a week, my mother told I may not make it, and they thought I could be mentally disabled.
No drink is worth the life of a child.

Zaku's avatar

Certainly no drink is worth the life of the child.

But in most cases, the life of the child isn’t about drinks, and particularly not about moderate drinking.

Ideally, culture would be healthy enough that problems in this area would be detected and headed off in an effective way. But culture isn’t there yet, especially in the USA. There are many things most people are not equipped to deal with appropriately, which endanger and mess up children.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Zaku Agreed. Infant mortality is almost 17% with alcohol. It’s sad so many people have little control of their addictions.
https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/144/6/e20193153

Zaku's avatar

@KNOWITALL I’m curious what you mean by “Infant mortality is almost 17% with alcohol.”?
It sounds like that’s saying 1 in 6 infants die when there is alcohol used, which clearly is not true. A quick search suggests total recent US infant mortality rate is under 6 per 1000 live births, or 0.6%.

Is it a statistic about the fraction of all infant deaths associated with a parent with an alcohol disorder?

Even then, I’m seeing under 6% fraction by cause being “accidental” (all types; alcohol isn’t broken down) at https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr69/NVSR-69-7-508.pdf .

Although, determined cause would be a different statistic from the number of deaths where alcohol, or an alcoholic disorder, was recorded. That is, most deaths are under causes “Congenital malformations and Short gestation and low birth weight”, which might be 17% more common in families with excessive alcohol use, the mother drinking while pregnant, etc. (P.S. Ah, I am finding some numbers that look closer to 17% being a fraction of infant death cases where at least one adult was alcohol or drug impaired. Though so far I’ve not seen that normalized against how many parents overall ARE alcohol or drug impaired generally.)

Zaku's avatar

Looks like there’s an on-point research article here https://www.researchgate.net/publication/8609186_Fetal_Infant_and_Child_Mortality_in_a_Context_of_Alcohol_Use though I’m not sure what it takes to get the full copy.

canidmajor's avatar

Well, @KNOWITALL, your sad story notwithstanding (and it is a sad story, nobody disputes that, I am sorry you had to go through that) it has literally nothing to do with my discussion of @product’s post, all it did was to bring a sense of exaggerated high drama to this thread.

My cousin’s husband was killed by a drunk driver, do we ban cars?
My friend was killed by her husband when he was drunk. Let’s ban marriage.

And all that still has nothing to do with my post.

Forever_Free's avatar

Of course I had a drink. I however didn’t drink more than one on occasion and I was not the sole person caring for an infant/toddler.

This changed to zero when I became a single parent raising two kids 24×7.

JLeslie's avatar

Thanks everyone!

Seems like most jellies say no, they would not drink if they were the only adult present.

A few people say one drink no harm.

I appreciate everyone’s answers.

jca2's avatar

I hope that the parents who are saying they’d never have a drink while caring for an infant are meaning that the times that they did have a glass of wine while their infant was in their custody, they hired a babysitter or had another parent/guardian present who remained totally sober.

janbb's avatar

I just want to add one final word from me on the subject. If we are hoping that parents are hyper-vigilant in protecting their children, which of course we are, it becomes even more important to ensure that every baby is a wanted child and to support parents with enough of the basics so that they are not hungry or in despair.

YARNLADY's avatar

I’m drink wine frequently, but NEVER when I am the sole caregiver of anyone, baby, teen, or disabled adult.

JLeslie's avatar

@janbb I don’t know exactly who “we” is, but as the OP I was not thinking about hyper-vigilance. I don’t think being sober when caring for a young baby is hyper-vigilant, but anyway the Q was about what others think on the topic not me. Most people seem to agree when it’s only them they don’t drink. You actually are in that count of adults who don’t drink even though you were understanding of someone who might have a drink. If they drank a glass every night are you still ok with it?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Zaku Sorry, I got super busy.

This is in regards to SIDS deaths. My apologies, I should have posted the link with the stat for context.

Maternal alcohol-use disorder is attributable for at least 16.41% (95% CI 9.73%–23.69%) of SIDS and 3.40% (95% CI 2.28%–4.67%) of infant deaths not classified as SIDS. CONCLUSIONS: Maternal alcohol-use disorder is a significant risk factor for SIDS and infant mortality excluding SIDS.

https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/131/3/e770#:~:text=Maternal%20alcohol%2Duse%20disorder%20is,and%20infant%20mortality%20excluding%20SIDS.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@canidmajor I personally feel like good parenting means being sober, but I certainly wasn’t trying to be dramatic in any way.

“The pressures of being a parent are equal to any pressure on earth. To be a conscious parent, and really look to that little being’s mental and physical health, is a responsibility which most of us, including me, avoid most of the time because it’s too hard.” John Lennon – The Beatles

Nomore_lockout's avatar

@JLeslie Well people can say one drink does no harm, but I leave alcohol alone when I am with children. Any thing else in that fridge is fair game for us, and kids seem to sense that I’m easy. Sing along now: “Who can clean the fridge out, give us anything we want, The Candy Pap can!”

Zaku's avatar

@KNOWITALL No worries. I was just curious what you were saying. Thanks for explaining. That makes sense.

JLeslie's avatar

@Nomore_lockout I would never drink when responsible for an infant and would not want anyone watching my child to have a drink in their system including the father if he was alone with the baby. I don’t think anyone “needs” a drink unless they routinely drink, which I would have a problem with from the get go.

I can see how a glass of wine with dinner is not a big deal 4–5 ounces of wine or a beer, etc, and not near bed time where the person might fall into a hard sleep. In an hour the alcohol is gone out of their system. Especially, if it’s a dinner party or friends over where other people are there (well then they are not the only adult) but if they drink daily, I just don’t like it, and I don’t like daily even when there is no baby.

Even people who are not addicted are affected when a family member drinks daily whether they realize it or not. People around them deal with it. So, I’m a tough character on it, but I know not everyone thinks like me.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Zaku Always happy to provide links, it’s kind of my ‘thing’. :)

@JLeslie I’m sorry if I added any drama to your thread. That brain injury was the least damaging of all my stories, so it didn’t cross my mind it could be taken as drama.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL Not at all. Your experience is real and important and related to the topic.

Dutchess_III's avatar

No. Not when I’m responsible for older kids either.

smudges's avatar

This example of why not to drink hasn’t been mentioned: Once when my sister and I were relaxing and her infant son was sleeping, I made a drink for myself. It was late and we were done for the night, so I (who has no children and didn’t think of these things) asked her to join me. She said no, but I urged her to have just one. She said, “I have a baby sleeping in the other room. If something happened and I had to take him to the hospital, I sure don’t want to be the mother in the ER with the smell of alcohol on my breath.” I saw her point and shut up.

snowberry's avatar

As a side note, lactation consultants often suggest a glass of beer or wine to help new mothers relax enough for their milk to let down.

JLeslie's avatar

@smudges I think most people consider a possible emergency situation being one of the reasons they don’t have a drink when caring for a baby or caring for anyone. If something happens you need to be able to handle whatever it is. To be alert, able to drive, all of those things. To me caring for a baby is like a doctor being on call, you’re working even when you’re not working.

Your answer actually reflects back to the previous Q I mentioned in the OP. I was saying if someone has alcohol in them who is caring for a baby and the baby gets hurt then it might be seen as neglect or the person has some culpability rather than just a horrible accident.

@snowberry Just sounds like one of those things people who like to drink want to hear. Even if there is a little truth to it (I’d have to research) alcohol also decreases milk production, passes from the mother to the baby, and babies that breast feed on drunk milk are negatively impacted. I would assume most of the females in the world probably don’t drink anything while they’re lactating for their infants, and I mean the entire time their children are breast feeding.

My father for over 15 years was having a drink or two every night thinking it helped his heart health. Then he thought it was helping him sleep. I asked him for 15 years to stop drinking. Finally, recently, he had a (false) liver scare and stopped drinking when his doctor said all drinking is having negative impacts on his body and he researched it. After giving up the drink he sleeps better and now he believes the alcohol can do more harm than good. When he was in the habit of the alcohol he just would not listen, he wanted to believe it was good for him. I think everyone who drinks habitually wants to believe it’s doing no harm or even helping. I’m pretty negative about alcohol.

product's avatar

@snowberry: “As a side note, lactation consultants often suggest a glass of beer or wine to help new mothers relax enough for their milk to let down.”

1. This is an old “wives’ tale”.
2. Lactation Consultants most definitely do not suggest this. Even a small amount of alcohol can reduce the amount of milk the baby receives.

snowberry's avatar

they suggested it to me.

product's avatar

^ It’s no longer recommended.

snowberry's avatar

Makes sense to me too.

product's avatar

^ If you nurse immediately or shortly after a drink or two, the alcohol in the breastmilk isn’t high. But the problem is that alcohol reduces the amount of milk the baby gets for a few hours. This has to do with alcohol’s effect on oxytocin and prolactin. Alcohol reduces oxytocin and increases prolactin – both of these have a delaying effect on milk production or release. So a baby can nurse the same length of time, but actually receive less milk.

An occasional drink or two is certainly not frowned upon if there are no current breastfeeding (or supply) issues. But this old “wives’ tale” is certainly not recommended to resolve breastfeeding issues.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry I just wanted to say I completely believe you don’t drink as you stated at the top. I don’t want you to think I was questioning what you have stated about yourself. I wasn’t thinking you want to drink so you buy into what you said about alcohol and breast feeding. I don’t question that you were told alcohol can help.

Cupcake's avatar

What a great question and conversation. Sorry I’m late. I would have loved for you to have added some details or asked for details about times of day. Since infants require complete care, I am curious about consuming any alcohol, even on “off” times, such as nap or nighttime.

We’ve developed such a mommy drinking culture, calling wine “mom juice”, etc. that it is so hard for me to believe that the vast majority of parents of infants never consume alcohol during the first year of life. But that could very well be my bias.

Personally, I don’t consume alcohol at all.

Cupcake's avatar

I also want to say that caring for an infant for the first year of life is one of the most difficult, tedious, demanding jobs I’ve ever had. Lots of people enjoy taking care of infants, but I enjoy my kids more as they get older. Infancy is by no stretch of the imagination a favorite stage of mine. It is relentless. If someone had been in the habit of occasionally consuming alcohol as a means of relaxation or stress reduction, I could fully understand wanting to or actually drinking sometimes. I probably over-ate as a parent of an infant as a coping mechanism. We are severely lacking social support for new parents and parents of infants in our culture… and, unfortunately, alcohol and food can be easy stand-ins.

AND, as others have mentioned, there are beliefs and recommendations that are given to new parents that are outdated or contradictory and very difficult to interpret, such as drinking as a means to increase milk production, one drink is fine in moderation, etc. (I’m actually studying maternal myth beliefs about substance use now, professionally.)

snowberry's avatar

@JLeslie it was presented to me as a one-time thing in 1980. The whole idea was to try to get mom to relax a bit so her milk would let down. I was desperate and ready to try everything (even though the taste of it made me shudder). It did help me to relax and my milk did let down. If I recall correctly, I think part of it was that I was just brand new at the job and I was a little concerned as to what to expect.

Part of it could also have been the power of suggestion, which of course is very powerful.

I can also see the point about not encouraging nursing mothers to drink, but once hardly turned me into a lush.

JLeslie's avatar

@Cupcake I mentioned that probably the majority of women in the WORLD don’t drink while their child is breast feeding.

The majority of women in the world don’t drink to begin with. It’s somewhere around 55% I think. The western world is a different story. Our rates are much higher, while the Middle East and Africa much lower. My point was all over the world women are breast feeding their babies without alcohol. I was just thinking it through logically without any specifics info on drinking while having an infant, that’s why I used the word assume.

A lot of Americans think being an adult equals drinking. That’s what was modeled for them. It’s just not true. Plenty of people don’t. There is a constant message that alcohol is benign, normal, and even good for you. I say BS to all of that.

I don’t have a problem with people having a drink once in a while (I’m talking in general at this point, not about minding babies). Right now I sit here regretting I ate too many cookies, and I already have some blockage in my arteries near my heart, and when I was in crisis years ago I took Xanax, and I would do it again, hopefully I’ll never need to. Anyway, I don’t think I’m better than anyone else is my point. I just take issue with people dismissing any hazards with wishful thinking or denial. It’s especially worrisome if someone is responsible for a child.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry Yes, I never was thinking you were a lush or that the person who advised you was pushing lushiness. It sounds like it was maybe a common thought process at one time.

Cupcake's avatar

United States Statistics:
Prevalence of postpartum drinking in the US is around 50%. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4435549

At 3 months postpartum, 40% of non-breastfeeding and 36% of breastfeeding mothers consumed alcohol. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/bfm.2007.0012

Irrespective of pregnancy, about 80% of adult women drink any alcohol (past year drinking, many references available).

Globally:
70% of South African women drank alcohol while breastfeeding. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4987236/

In Australia, 45.9%, 47.0% and 51.9% of breastfeeding mothers were consuming alcohol at 4, 6, and 12 months postpartum. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10995-017-2318-8

@JLeslie Just providing some data, because more people might drink around pregnancy/postpartum/lactation than you think.

JLeslie's avatar

@Cupcake Thanks! I skimmed your link and could not find the SA number. That seems unbelievably high. I’d bet some countries in Africa have very low alcohol consumption. Each country is different of course.

This link shows just how low the Middle East is. 5–10% of the population drinks there. https://ourworldindata.org/alcohol-consumption

There is also a graph on the link showing how countries compare to each other.

The article mentions women drink much less than men on whole.

Of course having a drink post postpartum doesn’t mean they had a drink while they were the only one with the baby.

If you wish there was more detailed questions asked you could always do another Q.

Pandora's avatar

That depends. I would not if alone. I wouldn’t trust to react the same way as I would 100 percent sober if there was an emergency. Especially if I am alone with the child and have to drive the child to an emergency room. When my kids were little I would only drink one glass of wine with friends at home once they were in bed, unless my husband promised not to drink so I could. We would take turns when we went out with friends. One of us always remained sober.

Cupcake's avatar

@JLeslie Women traditionally drank alcohol less than men, but have been increasing in recent years while men have slightly decreased. The rates now are basically the same, at least in the US.

In Muslim countries, I would guess alcohol is illegal or, at least, difficult to obtain. So that not only makes sense, but would not be representative of other countries.

I didn’t mean it as a criticism about wanting more details… I just think many parents of infants don’t think of “off hours” as counting, when talking about consuming substances, especially in small quantities. It literally doesn’t “count” for many people to take “one glass of wine”, especially “after the kids go to bed”. I just pop in here when I have a second and am not interested in asking questions at this time, as I would not regularly monitor or respond to answers. But I think this has been a very valuable conversation, so thanks for asking!

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Cupcake Just to add some historic context for my part of the Midwest, we weren’t allowed to buy or sell liquor on Sundays, bars couldn’t be open or anything else until the late 30’s.

Our city specifically ‘outlawed’ alcohol sales after WW2 as so many returning home (which was significant) were overindulging and causing problems at home, mistreating their spouses and children. So we became a Dry city for decades.

We currently have one restaurant/bar only, but the gas stations do sell liquor. It’s still seen as a bad habit more so than anything else.

Cupcake's avatar

@KNOWITALL I wonder how that impacts pregnant/postpartum/lactating women where you are. I have only lived in areas where alcohol is readily available, and wine is everywhere around me. We have wine with our research seminars at work. Wine at “happy hour” socials at work. Lots of women have wine at their gatherings – mommy groups, play dates, book clubs, etc. and refer to wine as “mommy juice”...

It also may be more obvious to me because (1) I fully abstain from alcohol and sometimes feel like an outsider because of it and (2) I research maternal substance use.

JLeslie's avatar

@Cupcake I did not at all take your provided links the wrong way. I appreciated the time you took.

Yes, alcohol consumption is illegal in many parts of the Middle East, but the point is they don’t drink, and as far as I know they don’t have more trouble breast feeding. That’s what made me mention it, the idea that alcohol could help with breast feeding. More primitive parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America I would say the same thing is probably the case.

For me personally the expression “mommy juice” is a huge turn off, and destructive cultural messaging. I have no problem with parents saying they need a break or feel overwhelmed or being real about their frustrations; I don’t idealize parenting as being all hearts and rainbows and sunshine.

I think your point about whether parents are considering off hours when the baby is put to bed as the same as wakeful hours is a really good one. A survey would have to be very specific. I look at it as I said above, the parent is basically “on call” or working the entire time they are the only adult present and responsible for the care of the baby. Doesn’t matter asleep or awake. But, other people, especially people who regularly drink, easily could be looking at it differently.

Realize, I don’t drink and I come from a culture (Jewish) that typically doesn’t drink much. In my entire family and my husband’s family nothing has ever been planned or centered around alcohol. I’m 53, and we have been together 30 years. Alcohol is offered once in a blue moon, usually at an event, or once in a great while someone has a drink at a restaurant, but it is not the focus at all. (My husband is Mexican raised in Mexico, Catholic, but his dad was raised Jewish.)

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Cupcake No idea, never been one of those.

My old besty can’t stop drinking so her parents are raising her child, which happens often here in those cases.

kneesox's avatar

I was told not to drink wine, especially red, while lactating because it could sour the milk. Since wine was all I drank, I simply quit for those years.

I would not have wanted to be compromised anyway while caring for an infant or young child. The other things on @product‘s list are quite enough without adding voluntary impairment.

Smashley's avatar

I think people get a bit confused. Or maybe I am… I thought the breast milk thing was that women should drink beer, because it’s basically a bubbly tincture of hops, and hops are believed to increase milk production.

Anyways, everyone’s answers here are pretty hilarious, but I like the answer @product gave. This question is about judging parents for the totality of their circumstances and life choices. It’s hard to be brave enough to refuse to cast judgment or draw a particular line, but we must.
Do right by your kids, bottom line. How you get there is pretty much your own business.

Seriously, the number of times you all say “glass of wine with dinner” cracks me up.

Also, even if alcohol is transferred to your milk, it’s concentration is only going to be around the same as your blood i.e 0.04% or 1/12 that of non-alcoholic beer. Negligible.

JLeslie's avatar

@Smashley The main question is not about judging, this Q is primarily asking jellies if they would drink while an infant is under their sole care. The simplest answer is yes or no. I guess you are a yes, although you actually didn’t answer the question, so I can’t be sure.

Are you saying a one time beer to start breast feeding is ok, or are you saying drinking a beer regularly while breast feeding is acceptable in your point of view since the transfer of alcohol is so low?

Smashley's avatar

@JLeslie – you’re right, my answer is yes. This is about judgement of parents because, for most, parenting becomes an all consuming task for years, and this question takes a really hard line approach. You set up a scenario of a single parent, and you’re basically only carving out allowances for drinking if a parent has the social or financial resources to outsource parenting for a night. It comes of as classist pearl clutching.

Reality check: there’s a legal amount of alcohol you can safely drive a car with. There is an amount of alcohol you can safely and responsibly parent a child with.

I’m just going to say do right by ‘em. You don’t have to be stone cold sober 100% of the time to respond to an emergency. You owe it to your kids to keep safe, but that isn’t the same as no alcohol.

The point of mentioning the breast-milk transfer of alcohol is that it is incredibly low, so if that’s your reason for drinking or not drinking, you’re operating with bad information.

JLeslie's avatar

@Smashley The question was regarding taking care of infants, although some people broadened it to children in general.

Are you surprised how many jellies said they don’t drink at all or extremely rarely?

What you might not realize is about half of America doesn’t drink. Then another portion of America only drinks in certain social situations, and rarely, and they don’t with any regularity reach for a drink to relax after a stressful day. That means the drinking population who drinks daily or who would drink when minding an infant is going to be in the minority. I didn’t really think about it that logically when I wrote the Q, but after this discussion I realize I could have estimated the answer before asking it.

As far as people in lower economic situations, I acknowledge they are in a tougher spot for multiple reasons, but also they often have extended family around, they aren’t all single, and I think culturally many minority groups are less likely to drink in general. Plus, most jellies here who said they don’t drink at all or only on extremely rare occasion are far from poor.

Do I judge? I wouldn’t use the word judge, but I am guilty of prejudging that people who drink daily suck at estimating how much alcohol they are actually consuming and how much it affects them when they are sober and when they have a drink. I am not assuming you drink daily or regularly, but I think it is mostly those two groups who would most likely have a drink when caring for an infant alone, because the other group of people who drink alcohol don’t really care either way if they pass on having a drink, so then why bother if you are the sole adult in charge.

I know one drink won’t drastically affect an adult (except my husband lol) but people who drink daily, I don’t trust them to estimate how much they are drinking. One beer is finite, wine and hard liquor not so much.

Cupcake's avatar

@JLeslie I don’t drink at all and my immediate family don’t either. But in my extended family, gatherings are planned around alcohol and sports. Even first birthday parties are alcohol events, with sports on in the background. Not child-centered at all.

Since I don’t drink, I think I am more aware of it in my surrounding social circles because I don’t want to go to events that are catering to alcohol consumption. I have also just left a graduate degree program where alcohol was often centered.

I didn’t think you were mis-interpreting my comments. I just know that I have very strong opinions and beliefs on this specific topic and am trying to be aware of and acknowledge my biases.

JLeslie's avatar

@Cupcake I understand. I have the same biases as I have mentioned above, except, that in my family nothing is planned around alcohol nor in my husband’s family. Weddings would have drinks available, but the family could care less about it. That’s an old joke though; the Jews care about the food and the Irish care about the alcohol. Probably, that’s not PC to say anymore.

I’ve always said if I weren’t Jewish I’d probably go for being a Mormon if I had to pick a religion. Then the expectations at social gatherings would be in line with mine.

This is off topic, but I really think the alcohol culture is a serious health risk for teens who don’t drink. Not drinking can be isolating for young people who don’t drink, and loneliness can be deadly for young people. An often overlooked group in my opinion. Since you’re in research I just thought I’d throw it out there. Maybe it’s better now than when I was a teen.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie Oh that’s interesting! I think Mormons are the crazy uncle of the Abrahamic religions. If you have’t read the Mormon bible, I recommend it!

Taoism and Buddhism, maybe Wicca would be my choices. I hear Paganism has resurged, that’s interesting.

As far as alcohol, my family has a hippie elite group that is always lit, and the long-suffering sober purists who get upset and leave events that get silly.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I usually say the extremes are always a problem. I’m not extreme about the no alcohol thing, I don’t have a problem if people want to have a drink once in a while.

As far as being Mormon, I’m just talking about the social norms, not so much the details of the religion.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie Me neither, in regards to alcohol. I drink if I want to but that’s infrequent, mostly social.

My sober family doesn’t mind a glass of wine or beer.
Some of our religious sects here are very strict, like the Mennonites or Fundamentalists.
You know Missouri was the Mormon refuge back in the day but they were forced out West.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I have friends from K-12 who are Mormon and a few other friends I met in adulthood who were raised Mormon, but don’t really practice it today. Lovely people, I’ve never had a bad experience with them. They tend to be clannish, but most religious groups are, even if they interact with people from other groups at times. Varies depending on the specific group or person.

Cupcake's avatar

@JLeslie Thanks – it’s a great point about teenagers. My guess is that there are more teenagers abstaining now, but I don’t have data to support.

I honestly think it’s isolating for sober moms seeking mom friends, but that is developmentally less damaging as an adult.

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