Caffeine: A Tandem Nurser’s Love Affair

My mother is a big-time coffee drinker. This has always been true, since she was a little girl. Her grandmother used to give her “coffee milk,” which was basically a splash of coffee in a glass of milk. She’s been drinking multiple cups per day ever since. coffee beans

I remember when my mother drank caffeinated coffee, and then started getting migraines and had to switch to decaf. I remember when she started grinding her own beans, the shrill noise of the coffee grinder waking me up each morning before school. Now, she just drives for hot coffee, because she can, and the employees at Dunkin Donuts know her by name.

Each time I entered a new phase of life, she insisted I would start drinking coffee. When I started college, then a job, then graduate school…each stage, she said, “NOW. Just wait–now you will start drinking coffee.”

But I think coffee is disgusting. I just can’t help it. Even the smell of it is off-putting. I had one son, who never slept, and then another son who never slept, and still I avoided coffee. Instead, I took to drinking black tea with lots of milk and sugar, like I’d learned studying abroad in England.

Because I don’t get a ton of caffeine, even this wee bit was just enough to take the edge off my tired mornings with two sleepless sons. Tea and a little dark chocolate.

But then I had the third son.

Whew. The third son. That’s what did me in! The tea just wasn’t cutting it anymore.

I don’t even own a coffee pot, so I had to start out in my neighborhood coffee shop. I spent about a million dollars (it seems) on lattes and mochas, trying to find a drink that gave me a jolt but didn’t taste like coffee. I started buying cold bottles of “refrigerated mocha beverages.” I scoured Pinterest to see what I could make at home with a French press and a cheap can of coffee grounds.

I tasted a cup of something or other from my friend’s Keurig machine. I was getting my caffeinated boost, but not enjoying the taste of anything I drank.

And then my friend made me an espresso caffe. And I liked it! “Twice as much milk as coffee,” I yelled to her.

“This isn’t coffee! Just trust me,” she yelled back.

It turns out espresso has less caffeine than coffee, so instead of feeling twitchy and jittery after a cup, I just felt like a normal human being with a newborn and nursing toddler plus an older kid.

I started asking some other mom-friends and learned they spend shocking (to me) amounts of money on machinery and imported beans from far-off lands to make their morning caffe, which they stirred with tiny spoons in their kitchens while their children swirled about them.

I read a delightful Smithsonian magazine article about Teddy Roosevelt and his love of espresso, imported from Brazil and Argentina. The energetic man drank multiple cups per day since childhood and shipped it to New York City before international shipping was convenient.

Not quite ready to commit to grinding and packing my own beans to put through a steam-blasting fancy espresso machine, I sought a solution in between this and driving to the coffee shop with 3 kids in tow.

And so it came to pass that I ordered myself a pod system to brew espresso at home, which I plan to drink from tiny cups and stir with tiny spoons in my kitchen while my sons swirl about me. It doesn’t taste like coffee, and it doesn’t smell like coffee. Or maybe all along I’ve only hated the taste and smell of cheap, crappy coffee?

Either way, it’s delicious and a lovely treat for the few seconds I allow myself to sip it.

I find I’m less bleary in the morning, and yet I can still go to bed at night, even though I’m still very sensitive to caffeine. My handy chart from the milk bank says I’m still well within the daily recommendations for breastfeeding mothers, and even a double espresso has only a third the amount of caffeine a regular cup of brewed coffee contains.

I still probably add more milk than fancy Italian espresso drinkers, and that’s ok. My new drink hobby helps me parent better in the mornings!

Did you start drinking caffeine when you had children? Leave us a comment to share your story.

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge