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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Breastfeeding a Rabid Badger

Or why I don't nurse in public.

I read an article recently about one woman's struggle with breastfeeding, and it really resonated with me, particularly the feeling of being trapped in the house because you're not comfortable nursing in public.

It's not modesty, though if I decided to give it a shot, I might find myself too shy to do it anyway.

No, the problem is my son. His breastfeeding routine looks nothing like those nursing videos, commercials, or bf'ing moms sitting serenely on a park bench, wind in their hair, as their angelic baby snacks away.

It looks more like a wild animal attacking its prey.

First, we try latching on.

"Yay, eating!! Where's the boob? Where's the boob? Oh, I see it! Now, nipple. Maybe if I just fling my head in the direction of the boob with my mouth open, I'll land on it. Not it. Not it. Not it. Yay, nipple. "

Then suddenly he's a boob connoisseur. He tries to latch and then shakes it off several times, before he's finally convinced these are the only boobs in town, and settles down to eat.


After a few minutes of peaceful eating (which seems to involve a lot of sticking his fingers in his eyes and me reminding him that breast milk is not finger food, so he should keep his little paws out of the mix) he decides the milk isn't flowing fast enough, which he needs to remedy by clawing at the boob, yanking on the nipple, and generally abusing me. Ouch.

Then we eventually switch boobs, and repeat the whole ordeal all over again, to the tune of 35-40 minute feeds, every 2 hours.

This is not a dance I wish to engage in in public. I don't need an audience for the show. Even with a cover, it would be hard to be discrete with a flailing badger under there.

So we keep our outings short.

And I envy those women who can nurse happily in public.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

5 Bizarre Baby Food Gadgets

...because you can't just mush it up and spoon it into baby's mouth.

Bowls and spoons are SO last century.
(Also, she's clearly not a mom, because who has time for a French manicure and tips?!?)

Because a blender won't cut it. For some reason.

Somehow completely different from tupperware. Somehow.

Ice cube trays and Popsicle sticks just aren't cutie enough.

So your carefully prepared homemade baby food can look just like that store bought crap.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

5 Myths and Realities about Breastfeeding

The pendulum swings back and forth on breastfeeding, and I'm sure you've noticed it's "in" again. Not that you should make your child-rearing decisions based on trends, but you're in for a lot of grief if you try to go against the flow. If you're like most mothers, you've decided to breastfeed because you believe it's the best thing for your baby, not because it's the thing to do--but where you run into trouble is when you have difficulty breastfeeding and start considering other options. That's when the "nipple nazis" attack. The breastfeeding propaganda is everywhere, trying to guilt you into persevering with breastfeeding, even when you're about to lose your ever-loving mind. A few of the arguments:

1. It's natural.

Yep. So's menstruating. And I think most of us would do away with it if we could. 
Breastfeeding might be natural, but that doesn't mean it's easy. For many women, it's not. It's frustrating, exhausting, and damn near impossible. Natural is not synonymous with enjoyable.

2. It's painless.

Bahahaha! Yes, if done correctly, breastfeeding is apparently painless. But unless you're blessed with a wonder baby, you and your little one will both be facing a steep learning curve, and while you're getting the hang of things, it hurts. Sometimes a lot. You've probably been pretty kind to your nipples over the years, but those days are at an end.

3. It's convenient.

Yes, it's easier to whip out a boob than to haul around bottles and formula. In the long run. But while you're still getting the hang of things--which can take weeks--you're basically a 24/7 dairy. By the time you get baby latched on, wake him up 4 times after he falls asleep, burp him, etc., each feeding session can take up to an hour--and you're supposed to feed newborns every 2 hours! This is the time that the bottle might be most tempting--10 minutes and done.

4. It helps you bond with baby.

I really, really want to believe this, but I feel like I spend most my nursing time fighting with my baby--to latch on, to stay latched on, to stay awake, and to keep nursing after he's gotten the "easy" milk and has to work harder for the good stuff. Crying and pleading do not make me feel bonded to baby.

5. It's cheaper than bottle feeding.

That's only before you factor in the therapy and depression medications necessitated by your feelings of failure because WHY WON'T THE BABY NURSE RIGHT?!?

I say none of this to discourage anyone from breastfeeding, only to add a dose of reality to the most popular arguments used by those determined to make you feel like crap when your baby doesn't latch onto your breast seconds after birth and stay there until he's 18. 

Despite these difficulties, my baby and I are still working on breastfeeding ourselves--we have good days and bad days. And I think we could all use a little reassurance that what we're going through is common, if not "normal," and most importantly, that if and when we decide to switch to pumped breast milk or formula, we're all still  good mothers, doing what's best for our babies.