The dramatics of decaf

This week I find myself at a crossroads.  I haven't had caffeine on purpose since I was about 10 weeks pregnant with Sydney, and since she's now nursing only once a day (in the morning) I'm wondering … do I try and stay off the caff?  Before I got into this whole Growing People Business, I drank 2 cups of coffee at home in the morning, and sometimes had a Starbucks in the afternoon as a treat when I ran my errands (maybe 2-3 times per week max?).  And then there was the Diet Coke.  The sweet, amazing, glorious zero-calorie bubbly wonderfulness that is Diet Coke.  Sigh.  There would be times that I would actually choose a restaurant based on whether or not they provided free refills on soda.  I have been known to go through the McDonald's drive-thru just for a drink.  I had it bad, peeps.  Real bad.

Morning sickness immediately took away the joy I found in those morning cups of coffee.  The smell alone made me gag!  While I was out of town for two weeks working in an Eastern time zone (read:  I was getting up at 4 a.m. Pacific time every day, OH DID THAT SUCK) during pregnancy weeks 9-10 the only thing that could console me was a cold Diet Coke.  I held on to what my OB had told me about his philosophy on what I ate while prego:  everything in moderation (except for sushi, cold cuts, and hot dogs … which were of course the only things I craved DESPERATELY while pregnant).  And so I tried to limit myself to one Diet Coke per day, but I rewarded myself with a few sips of a second if I'd hurled or been particularly nauseated.

When I got home it became clear that my husband had been deputized into his new life's calling:  The Pregnancy Police.  Within one day of getting home (after hurling up a perfectly beautiful plate of huevos rancheros, of course) I was on the chain.  No mo' caff for this little jailbird.  NO MO'.  At first it really sucked.  That first trimester you're all tired and hurley and heartburney all the time and you just keep thinking "If only I could just have HALF a Diet Coke I'd feel so much better!"  So when The Pregnancy Police gets distracted from his chicken fried steak?  You attack his Diet Coke until he has to wrestle the straw from your mouth with his bare hands (which gets you a lot of dirty looks at Chili's in case you're wondering.  I mean, have you SEEN the scene in Goonies where the bad guys take away Chunk's ice cream?).  Because cold, beautiful, caffeinated liquid seems like the only thing that will make you feel better.

Then somewhere along the line I turned a corner.  Craving Crystal Light Peach Tea like a madwoman helped … I could drink 2 liters of that stuff a day!  I brought caffeine-free sodas into my life, and they helped soothe the pain.   When I felt up to it, I started drinking decaf hot tea in the morning, which I actually now prefer to coffee.  The addiction eventually wore off, and despite being prego … and then having a newborn … I survived.

Now I'm in a tight spot where Sydney's not sleeping so great (UGH, I tried the sleep sack and it didn't go over too well.  When we swaddled her for her afternoon nap yesterday she slept for a record THREE AND A HALF HOURS.  Yup, we'll deal with the un-swaddling nightmare later), and I'm not nursing all the time so technically I could have a little caff now and then.  I stayed off it so my breastmilk wouldn't keep my kid from sleeping because I LOVE SLEEPING MORE THAN DIET COKE.  But now I don't have time to nap every day, so BOO.  A little bit of caffiene would go a long way and chances are it wouldn't affect Syd, so, here appears the crossroad.  I'm torn.  I know that once I start back on this slippery slope I'll be back up to my old caffeinated ways in no time. 

I know this whole conversation seems a little silly but let me be frank:  This is the ONLY healthy habit I purposely have in my life right now.  I'm not working out regularly (YET), I don't watch what I eat very carefully, and nope, don't get enough sleep.  And I should be honest, I still order a VENTI decaf caramel macchiato at Starbucks and right now have FOUR varieties of caffeine-free diet soda on the premises.  Which makes me think, GOSH, I need to just give up the SODA entirely.  But I'm not ready for that quite yet.  BABY STEPS.

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So I guess I talked myself out of it.  I suppose I'm going to try and maintain my decaffeinated status indefinitely.  Just don't call me out if you see me at Chili's with a straw in my mouth and my eyes rolled back in my head, mmkay?  It's probably my birthday. 

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8 thoughts on “The dramatics of decaf

  1. morgan s says:

    My two cents: If you are planning (or not, but it happens anyway HAHAHAHAH) on having another baby anytime soon, then I say DRINK, DRINK, DRINK the caffeinated GOOD STUFF like a mad woman NOW. Because once you are preg-o again? Those are a VERY long 9.5 months (and more) till you can have the caf again.

  2. Nora says:

    Either way, I say you’re fine. If you just absolutely feel like you want some, go for it. However, I can see where it would be twice as hard to kick the habit with baby #2. Oh the joys of motherhood…

  3. anne nahm says:

    It was harder to give up Diet Coke than cigarettes. I totally feel you. In fact, I will probably drink a diet coke in the delivery room as they snip the cord if I can.

  4. Liz says:

    I have a cup of coffee every morning, and it doesn’t seem to have affected anything – and it helps in the morning. Anything (within very flimsy parameters) that helps is totally ok by me.

    Also? Just had the swaddling convo with our doctor. She said that we can swaddle forever if we want as long as the baby can’t roll over onto her tummy while swaddled or if she busts out of it and wakes us up a million times each night. And to wean her, try to get her used to sleeping with one arm out of the swaddle for a week or so and then take the other arm out but still wrap her snug around her body for another week or so.

    Or just swaddle her until she’s 27 like I’m planning on doing.

  5. Caroline says:

    I have 1/2 decaf the whole pregnancy this time. My doc says a small cup a day of caff is fine. Once I had Elizabeth, I picked up with caffeine. No problems with sleep with her at all. I nursed her until 15 months drinking coffee all the time.

  6. Lily says:

    My dear, I’ve fought that battle, too, so I understand. Went off caffeine when pregnant with Isabella b/c I couldn’t stand the taste of it. Don’t want to get addicted again, yet having that little energy boost, not to mention it being a happy drug, would be nice. My confession is that I have caffeine once a week and I enjoy it!

  7. larmar says:

    i say just have it while you are out. don’t keep it in the house, but treat yourself if you are at a restaurant, or perhaps somehow stuck in the starbucks drive-thru. (i HATE it when that happens.) that way, you still get your treat (and usually when you need it, aka, out doing errands with a baby who will continue to get more wriggly and hard to take from place to place), but you don’t go overboard because you don’t have the convenience of just going to the pantry and getting it. and- they do have decaf coffee that you can keep in the house. i’ve been living on that. it’s amazing what the placebo effect can do on your tired mind.

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