Friday, June 29, 2007

Just the facts, Ma'am.

Angela over at Breastfeeding 1-2-3 posted some excellent information on exactly how breastfeeding can benefit employers - for example, her site reveals:

CIGNA’s corporate lactation program for employees who breastfeed, revealed a savings of $240 thousand annually in health care expenses for breastfeeding mothers and their children.

This information is based on an UCLA Study of the CIGNA corporate lactation program. Good reading! I love seeing cold, hard figures associated with something like this!

I wonder why employers aren't more invested in supporting their new mothers? I suspect there may be a bit of an attitude amongst employers that employees aren't going to stick around for the long-term, anyway. Particularly, with the way many folks go from job to job more easily these days (no judging! I was one of those employees who didn't hesitate to take better opportunities!) This is definitely the attitude with insurance companies, which is why they don't support preventative measures as often as you would think - their reasoning is that by the time something serious comes along, you won't be on their plan any longer anyway. Maybe it would help to clarify the short-term benefits of breastfeeding to employers? They get to see the benefits straight away!

[tags]breastfeeding, breastfeeding in the workplace[/tags]

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Round Up

A Vegan Lifestyle is NOT Necessarily Unhealthy for Babies
You may have heard about the couple in Atlanta who were convicted of starving their newborn daughter. Their defense was that they were vegan and that human breastmilk wasn't a valid part of the vegan diet. I do eat meat, but am respectful and knowledgeable enough of other lifestyles to realize that was the most ignorant statement I had ever heard. What disturbed me MOST is that folks who are NOT as knowledgable of other lifestyles would take such an ignorant statement to heart and think that ALL vegans think human breastmilk wasn't a good thing. This article sets the story straight - if you are not familiar with the vegan lifestyle, I highly recommend reading it. The parents recently convicted were NOT a good representation of what vegans stand for.

Wealthy Moms Breastfeed Longer?
This article is about findings that show that wealthy moms are able to breastfeed longer. While I question such a bold headline for a study that include such a small sample size (399 mothers total) in such a small location (Yolo County in CA), the findings were nonetheless interesting. I've always felt a little bad that overall, breastfeeding was easy for me - I stay at home so I was able to fully concentrate on the task at hand. Since I'm not going back to a working environment, I won't have to worry about ensuring I get enough breaks to pump, figure out a room where I can pump in, then find a suitable place to store it for the day. Furthermore, I just got done spending a hefty amount on Soothie gel pads that will go a LONG way in helping to relieve the early weeks of nipple pain. Not every mother can afford to do that. I am not sure what the answer is, but the article did get me to thinking.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Nice. Real NICE.

Recently, in Germany there was a furor over a magazine cover that depicted Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, breast-feeding the twin leaders of Poland, President Lech Kaczynski and the Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski. As the article puts it,
Evidently, the aim was to highlight Polish dependency on Germany and explain what the magazine sees as a climbdown by the twins, President Lech Kaczynski and the Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

Okay, politics aside, I was disturbed by the fact the an image of breastfeeding was used as a way of PUTTING DOWN the three leaders involved. How rude. How condescending. Need I go on?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Does Experience Count?

Over the past months, when discussing the looming prospect of having TWO children to contend with, my husband confidently observes "At least this time, we know what to do." And thus far, I've managed to not laugh in his face. I decided to just let him keep smoking his pipe packed with whatever goodie it is that lets him think that we truly have it "all figured out". One advantage to a 2nd pregnancy, is that at least I have been less anxious. With my 1st pregnancy, I would lay awake late into the night pondering if I could do it and wondering what I had signed up for. Now, I know that yes - I can do this motherhood thing. It won't be easy in the beginning, but I'll just to put my nose to the grindstone and bear through. And while I won't have the answers, since I keep hearing children are human beings with different personalities (WTH? REALLY?), I do feel a little better knowing that with Kid #2, I am going in armed with ideas.

Regarding breastfeeding, there are a few things that make me feel a little easier about those first few weeks....

1. Potions- I know the Soothies gel pads work for me and have stocked up on them. But again, I don't know it all and even just recently, got the great advice from Leah to use the Soothies between breastfeeding sessions and to use the lanolin cream during the breastfeeding session.

2. Pump - I had NO clue how to use my pump. All the advice given was to wait to open the thing to see if you were actually going to breastfeed or not - then if you didn't, you could just return it. Sadly, I needed that damned thing desperately to relieve engorgement. 3am is NOT the time to figure it out. NOT THE TIME. So, the pump is freshly cleaned and already packed to take to the hospital. According to my lactation consultant, the chances are that my milk will come in while I am still there since I recently weaned and I want to be prepared.

3. Places - I had such a hard time breastfeeding in chairs - the arms always seemed to be in the way of the Boppy AND the baby. For me, nursing while sitting Indian style on a bed was the best place.

4. Positions - All those great breastfeeding pamphlets with nursing positions should be considered a "starting" point. For example, I had to totally experiment with the lying down position. For me, I couldn't get the hang of the traditionally demonstrated method.

5. Perspective - When you are a brand-spankin' new mother it is difficult to keep Perspective. I'll never forget in my early 20s watching a friend struggle with breastfeeding. With her FOURTH child. But, my friend was very calm about it and stated matter-of-factly that it was always like that in the very beginning. I've never forgotten that and it's been over 10 years ago. However, knowing that tidbit helped me immensely in soldiering forward - realizing that it was normal to struggle a bit made all the different.

So, no. I still don't have all the answers. The 5 Points above are merely the answers from my FIRST child. I suspect my second child will not only present new answers, but also new questions. And that's okay, too because otherwise, motherhood might get a little boring. And we wouldn't want that, now would we?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Breastfeeding during professional exams.

Mama Knows Breast brought up an interesting article the other day. It's about what happened to Sophie Currier of Brookline, Massachusetts. In short, to begin her medical residency this fall, Dr. Currier needs to complete her medical exam boards by August - the exam is 9 hours long and allows for breaks that come to a grand total of 45 minutes. And she is currently breastfeeding her 7 week old baby. Can you see where this is going? The board insists that she will only be allowed the allotted 45 minutes and no extra time will be granted to her. Should I bother mentioning the hypocrisy of a group of DOCTOR'S denying this woman the right to express milk during her exam? Is that too obvious?

I read this article and it spoke to me on a personal level. I am a licensed CPA and sat through a day and half's worth of long grueling exams in the process. During your breaks, you barely got enough time to eat and use the bathroom, much less put together the equipment necessary for pumping breastmilk, then storing it. Furthermore, when my son was 7 weeks old, I could NOT go more than 3 hours at a time without nursing or pumping during the dayime hours. It was physically painful with the engorgement and hello! Can you say Leaking Leaky McLeakerson with me?

I called the CPA exam board this afternoon to ask about their policy for breastfeeding mothers and was told the following:
The exam has changed since I've taken it. It's now anywhere from 2.5 to 4.5 hours and 30 minutes must be allowed for signing in. No breaks are allowed. A breastfeeding mother would need to submit an "ADA Modification form" to be allowed any extra break time for pumping. This is still not nearly as bad as Dr. Currier's situation, but I was still unimpressed with the CPA exam board's answer to my inquiry.

Let's just say that I am grateful that I have the CPA exam under my belt.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Round Up

Again, with The Moxie.
A reader today has asked Moxie about weaning during pregnancy - since I just discussed it yesterday, it seemed appropriate to include the link. The commenters are coming up with some good suggestions for weaning.

Make Breastmilk, Not War
An interesting article, War on Terror? More Like War on Breastfeeding, details a situation where a breastfeeding mother attempts to get breastmilk through security. She was traveling for work and did not have her baby with her, which complicated matters. On several fronts, all I can do is sigh.

Housekeeping Note
Apparently, I am having a baby. Shocking, yet true!

My due date is 7/6, but you know how these kids are - they come when they wanna. The latest my doctor will let me go is 7/13. I am going to do a "day-by-day" diary of at least the first two weeks of breastfeeding, although my goal is three. For me, by Week 3, I felt very comfortable and on board with the whole thing. The problem is that I don't think I will have an Internet connection at the hospital - it appears they don't have WiFi, although I could look into dial-up. But I haven't used dial-up since 2002 - does this laptop even have a modem? Landlines? Do those still exist? So, I am looking into it. Regardless, I will take copious notes and update here when I get home to keep the integrity of the "day-by-day" theme. When I go into labor, I will post here to ensure my absence isn't mysterious.

I have to confess, all this BoobTalk has made me excited about breastfeeding. Sure, I dread the first weeks of cracked nipples, but overall, it was such an incredible, empowering experience. I was very fascinated with my body during the entire pregnancy with my son - it absolutely amazed me how my body just "did it". All I had to do was eat right and take care of myself! Still, pregnancy was no comparison with how blown away I was by the breastfeeding experience. How it all comes together. How my son grew so much during 6 months based soley on what my breasts provided him. Amazing. I wish everyone could feel that way about it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Breastfeeding During Pregnancy

I came across this article about Breastfeeding During Pregnancy and thought it might be interesting to talk about. Have I already discussed this? Am I already starting to repeat myself?

Anyway..... I found out I was pregnant a few weeks after my son's 1st birthday (long story REAL short? Literally, my husband had returned from India the day of Arun's birthday. Happy Birthday, Arun!! Mama and Daddy know how to celebrate in STYLE.".... Um, yeah. ) I did not want to wean Arun right away and my doctor was very much of the opinion that I didn't have to. I did find out from a variety of folks' reaction (some subtle, some NOT so subtle) that there seems to be some sort of taboo about breastfeeding during pregnancy. That's fine, WHATEVER. I simply didn't want to yank Arun away from breastfeeding if I didn't need to. I have to be honest, though - nursing was VERY painful with the whole "breast tenderness" thing that goes in the early months of pregnancy. And I did have to be careful to eat healthy so that all three of us weren't deprived of anything. Eating healthy was a little more difficult than you'd think because when you are in throes of morning sickness, sometimes a big honkin' glass of milk isn't what you want to see. Know what I mean? But it was worth it. Arun weaned on a time schedule that worked for him and we had no issues with it.

I had planned on weaning Arun around 18 months - in April. For a variety of reasons, I didn't want to tandem nurse - I know many gals who have nursed 2 children at once successfully, but I knew it wasn't for me. Therefore, I wanted Arun to be weaned at least a few months before the baby was born so there wouldn't be any resentments when the baby took his place at the dinner table. When Arun was around 13 months, I began mixing up the nursing sessions and I started to break routines. We no longer used breastfeeding as a way of going to sleep or waking up. We went to Boston when he was 15 months and I think the trip threw both of us out of sync. I forgot to offer breastfeeding, he forgot to ask. On the flight home, I realized that this may be a better time to wean, if he was ready for it. So I nursed him one last time on that final flight to equalize his ear pressure. When we returned from the trip, I didn't offer it and gauged his reaction. He didn't ask for it. At all. I think I would have been more sad if I hadn't already known that I would be jumping right back on the Boobie Train this July. I should note that my doctor did say that one of her children she nursed during a pregnancy flat out complained about the "salty" taste. Your milk changes during pregnancy and if you do decide to nurse while pregnant, be prepared for disappointed reactions.

Okay - now the article. I am not confident that this is the best article I've ever seen on the topic of breastfeeding during pregnancy. I really, really didn't like the author's repeated use of "resort", as if you should only do it if given no other choice. I did want to point out the article, though because breastfeeding during pregnancy IS possible. I am very much of the opinion that no mother should feel forced to wean her child solely because she is pregnant. Weaning is difficult enough for mother and child, why make it harder?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

This post is not what you think it is.

Before I begin, let me state emphatically that I love and adore the site Ask Moxie. It's an awesome site chock full of sane, realistic parenting advice - all new mothers should read every single post of Moxie's about infant sleep habits (I have this one bookmarked at all times for easy reference - I wish I would have had this with my firstborn from the beginning). What attracts me most to her site is that hands down, Moxie has one of the greatest core of commenters out there. This is a site where I almost always take the time to read the comments if the topic applies to me.

Recently, two posts on her site have really got me thinking. I was really disappointed not in the posts themselves, but rather in some of the commenting going on. I am curious what all of you have to say.

In the first post, Are You Breastfeeding? a reader asks if he was wrong in asking a neighbor if she was breastfeeding her newborn. Another neighbor overheard the question and said “Your wife can ask that question but you as a man cannot.”

In the second post, "Are You Breastfeeding?" Response, Moxie follows up with some clearing up of the context of the question and asks if the previous commenters would change their answer. It turns out the guy knew the neighbor fairly well and had children himself. His breastfeeding question was posed more in a "commiserating" sort of tone.

What made me sad about many of the comments stating that "No, it's over the line to ask a new mother if she is breastfeeding" is that the comments ranged from Squeamish to Guilty. Here is my own comment to the second post:
I didn't get an answer in the first time because frankly, I had to "walk away" and think for awhile. Many of the comments just made me downright sad. Particularly, the ones that fell into the Squeamish or Guilt category.

There were many commenters who said they felt guilty for not being able to breastfeed and that's why the question bothered them. Then, there were many other commenters who were clearly skeeved by the idea of a man even asking about it.

Breastfeeding is only one of many questions that folks ask about new babies - I get all sorts of questions regarding diapers (cloth/disposable), sleeping (crib/co-sleeping), etc. Yes, many of these questions are tinged with Potential Judgment, but that's LIFE. There will always, always be someone lurking inthe corner waiting to point fingers and Judge.

Anyway, as a 37 week pregnant gal who will be breastfeeding again in a few weeks, my answer doesn't need context - I totally welcome any and all questions regarding breastfeeding. Until folks get more comfortable with the whole concept of a "baby sucking at one's breasts" we are going to continue reading news story after news story of women being kicked off of planes, asked to leave restaurants, kicked out of parks, pools and other public venues all because folks aren't "comfortable" with it. Again, not angry. Just sad. Very, very sad.

I think what is most disturbing is that it is very easy to dismiss most of the "anti-breastfeeding" commenters on other sites who are clearly uneducated and ignorant - I'm still shaking my head over the comments about Maggie Gyllenhaal and the mother in the Boca Raton restaurant. However, Moxie's site is different - these folks are clearly reasonable people and the overall tone of her site is moderation. In my experience, these are the normal folks we are encountering every day. Maybe it's the pregnancy hormones talkin' and perhaps, I am over-reacting (something my husband can attest I am wont to do), but seriously.

Is asking a new mother if she is breastfeeding really out of line?

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Theme is the Meme, Redux

Jackie at Kids Dish tagged me for the 7 Random Facts About Me Meme:

1. Once I start a collection of something, it drives me nuts until it is finished. Nancy Drew, I'm talking 'bout you!

2. I love high places and I usually ask for the highest floor possible when staying in a hotel. What I don't like is an elevator. Seriously. It's one of my recurring nightmares - different variations of being stuck in an elevator, being injured in an elevator and having it go up and down and up and down without letting me off.

3. I have a thing for sunflower seeds. I've been hooked on them since I was in 3rd grade. I am particular about the storage of them (freezer-only) and if they have been sitting out for even a day, I can't eat them because they are stale by then. I have a special bowl set for the seeds/shells. My very favorite thing to do during naptime is hunker down with a book and bowl of seeds. Currently, David's distributes the best quality, although sometimes I will still run across a bad bag of them.

4. I like washing dishes and cleaning my kitchen. I can't relax if the kitchen is dirty and I find the warm water and sudsy bubbles are soothing. Our dishwasher was broken for over 2 months and I finally made myself call the guy to get it fixed. It didn't bother me to wash dishes, but we may sell the house next year and the dishwasher will need to be fixed by then anyway. I still hand-wash quite a few dishes.

5. I love maps! I love just laying on my spare bedroom bed and gazing at the world map there trying to get the "lay of the land". I love it when I travel - arriving in a new city with map in hand, trying to figure my way around.

6. I usually read 2-3 books at a time. They are always from different genres so I usually have at least a few non-fiction going and one fiction.

7. I love to knit but not because it is artistic or creative. I am not good enough to come up with complicated patterns on my own. Rather, I call my knitting Productive Relaxation.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Theme Is The Meme

I've been tagged for a meme. I LOVE doing memes and steadfastly declare it to be the Rodney Dangerfield of blog fodder. Memes are deliciously egotistically. What's not to love about that?

Bryan at Sympathy Pain tagged me for the 5 Reasons I Love to Blog Meme:

Friends - I have made some incredible friends through the power of blogging. I've been blogging for nearly 3 years and over that time, I've shared my highs and lows with some incredible people. I've had several Blog Friends morph into Real Life friends.

Connection - I stay home full-time with my son. Granted, I am not actually AT HOME that often, but am in and out of the house all day. The blogosphere is a great way to stay connected with the "outside" world because it's interactive (keeping in mind, many of my Real Life friends blog as well). Sure, I keep up with the news via feeds and news sites, but keeping up with people is just as important. My friends and I are often busy scurrying about in our lives and may not have time to hop on the phone - blogs have proved invaluable for keeping in touch. I've heard many SAHMs say they feel isolated - I've never felt that way.

Reflection - Writing your thoughts and experiences down can be dicey. Once you have written and published, your words are out there and it's difficult to withdraw. Since I've been blogging, I have found myself having to face the fact that occasionally I am wrong (I know - scandalous!) However, I wholeheartedly believe this sort of reflection is good. In the short time I have been maintaining Nursing Your Kids, I have already had to really think about some of my previously held notions about such things as "weaning timelines" and "formula". Life is not static and I certainly don't want to be, either. Blogging provides for a great way to work some of those grey areas of life out in your head.

Inspiration - I read a ridiculous number of blogs. Between my Bloglines and Google Reader accounts I am reading easily over a 100 blogs. Blogs that make me laugh, cry, and shake my fist in my anger. But most importantly, they make me think.

You- In particular, for this Breastfeeding blog, the knowledge has flowed BOTH ways. I have learned an incredible amount from reading the news, reading publications and doing research. However, I've learned so much from all of you commenting - some great bits of advice and experience that I may not have considered before or read on a website. Thank you for commenting because I am learning as well. And I fully intended that to the point of this blog. I had the opportunity and the time to attend a breastfeeding support group for 13 months. However, many gals out there may not have that chance to do so - lack of resources or perhaps, they have to go back to work. I want to provide a space where everyone can come and freely offer their opinion without fear of recrimination. The more that we share our experiences, the more support we provide anyone happening upon this little neck of the woods.

Whether you are a Reader or Blogger - Why do you love blogs?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Goofy Gerber

I posted about my calling Gerber for free product samples (it was advertised on their website). Not sure what to think because all I've received thus far are some lousy coupons. That's IT. Also, I noticed on the soothing gel pads I purchased that each pad is only good for FOUR hours - I did some comparison with the Playtex gels pads and they also only last four hours. Conversely, Soothies gel pads are good several DAYS (I could push them easily to 4-5 if I took care of them). Therefore, I don't think Gerber is going to be the money-saver I thought they would be. The breakdown, price-wise on the gel pads is this:
Gerber - 8 for 12.49
Playtex - 6 for 9.99
Soothies - 2 for 11.95

I am hesitant to plunk down any more money to get the Playtex as well - I am debating this. I will definitely be purchasing some Soothies and will definitely report back on product comparisons.

Again, let me stress - gels pad and lanolin are an "either/or" situation. You do NOT use them together. For me, the lanolin cream did NOT work, but the gel pads were a Godsend sent directly from His Truly from Above (or alternatively, my cousin, a lactation consultant. Your choice). I would recommend that any new mother not run out and stock up on supplies. Instead, I suggest using the free samples of lanolin the hospital will surely pass along and buying only one set of gels pads to start off with. Then, you can figure out what works for you before you go plunking down your kid's college fund.

Sidenote: If you don't end up using your lanolin cream, save the sample tubes! They can be used for convenient travel-sized tubes of diaper rash cream. Obviously, lanolin cream is WAY to expensive to use all the time for diaper rash, but it was so convenient to just tuck a small tube in my carry-on when you're out and about.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Product Placement

Bravado Nursing Bras
I received an email about Bravado Designs for a 15% coupon. In short, enter the coupon code SUMMER15%-123 when checking out. It ends June 30th and I am definitely planning on using it. When I was pregnant with my son, I did the rounds at Target, Wal-Mart and Motherhood Maternity - I did buy bras at all 3 places in an effort to "save money". Ha. Frankly, I was disappointed in all 3 places - particularly, Motherhood Maternity who gave me incorrect advice. After my son was born, I went to the Mommy and Me store at a local hospital here and had a lactation consultant help me find new bras. I got one Leading Lady bra and two Bravado bras. I LOVE the Bravado bras and decided to go ahead and get a few more. 3 bras are probably just not enough now since I probably am not going to have time to do laundry as frequently as I did with my son.

Mama Wrappings
A blog I read has just opened an Etsy store selling breastfeeding-related gift bags - the store is called Mama Wrappings. What a sweet way to give a gift that doesn't include the ubiquitous bottle symbol. Nah, I didn't mind receiving gifts decorated with bottles, but it always struck me as odd since I knew I would be going the breastfeeding route.

Close 2 U, Baby
Another blog I read (and fellow BlogHer 06 attendee, I've actually met her!) has an Etsy store called Close 2 U, Baby selling baby slings, pouch slings, boppy covers and even accoutrements for dolls such as slings and quilts. Honestly, slings just did not work for my son. I had borrowed one from a friend, but quite simply, Arun was a "shoulder and chest" baby and did NOT like to be held in the cradle position. He always wanted to be upright so he could see the world. Therefore, the Bjorn worked best for us - I got many, many miles out the Bjorn. However, every baby is different and if my daughter is a Sling Baby, I will definitely be checking out Close 2 U, Baby.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


As I perused all the Breastfeeding Headlines today, they just made me sad and I couldn't muster up the energy to post about them or link to them. Most were about a variety of laws, world-wide being passed to protect a mother's right to nurse in public - Boston, Toronto, and the UK, for example. It's the same story over and over, just insert a new place, city or country. Sigh. I realize now that I must have been just incredibly lucky or was blissfully in ignorance when I was breastfeeding my son those 15 months. I traveled to so many places during that time without a problem and seriously, I must have been LUCKY. I was definitely not as aware of the all the controversies back then as I am now that I am writing this blog. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I am now afraid of being more paranoid while nursing my daughter. And that? Makes me sad.

I discussed my co-sleeping post with my doctor on Friday during my OB appointment (36 weeks, folks! Yee haw!) Regarding safety, she added the good point that women with long hair should keep it tied back while sleeping and to be aware of any long strings/ties on shirts and nightgowns. She has a friend with long hair who had a frightening situation when her hair became entangled around her baby's neck - her hair had to be cut, but everything ended up okay. We discussed co-sleeping in general and my doctor admitted that she thinks everyone should co-sleep. I guess all this talk of breastfeeding and co-sleeping are making me very excited about having a new, snuggly newborn. And that? Makes me happy.

Monday, June 11, 2007


Welcome, Carnival of Breastfeeding Readers! This month's carnival theme is dedicated to Fathers. The following is my submission - the other carnival participants are listed below it. Please feel free to share your own experiences in the comments or if you decide to write about it yourself on your own site, let me know in the comments, so I can check it out!

In December of 2004, my husband and I decided to start trying to have a baby. By the end of January 2005, I was peeing on home pregnancy tests in disbelief. I'd been told for 9 years by my doctors that I might have trouble conceiving (some were downright negative about it), but per usual with fertility, you really don't know until you actually begin with The Trying. Therefore, we were overjoyed that it happened so easily, so quickly. Before our marriage, I suspected that Manoj would be a good father, but honestly - does a woman ever marry her husband thinking he would not be a good father? And I'll admit, I felt like I had an extra Parental Ace up my sleeve because Manoj is from India. In my experience, all the Indian fathers I know are totally into that "All Up In Their Kid's Business" stuff. For the most part, children are the center of everything when it comes to Indian families. I knew this when I married my husband and fully appreciate it now that we have a child together.

Manoj has never made me feel fat and pregnant, even when I AM fat and pregnant (um, how about right NOW?) He was all on board with the breastfeeding and never suggested giving up. We still chuckle over a very Tense Moment when I was nursing Arun on one side and he held the breast pump on the other side - I was so engorged it was a bit comical. He felt so bad for me in those early days and helplessly kept asking if there was anything he could do. He's never bemoaned the fact that my breasts have pretty much been "out of action" for Adult Activities for nearly two years now. He was the one who pushed co-sleeping, thought Ferber was a fool, refused to use our stroller and still carries our son everywhere instead (even through a 3 hour trek at the zoo). And he thinks weaning a baby at 12 Months Sharp is silly - if a kid needs more time, why push it? Manoj didn't even care that our kid wouldn't take a bottle and instead, when I was hanging out with friends he would bring Arun to me for nursing so that I could still get a little time away. It turns out, my fancy business-attired, Ferragamo-wearing husband is more Granola than I had given him credit.

Often, Manoj will take our son Arun for walks to our neighborhood park that is about 3-4 blocks away. I haven't been going much this year with them because that is pushing the limits of my 35 Weeks Pregnant Bladder, so generally I let them go on their own while I get some things done around the house. Last night, my bladder and I threw caution to the wind and we went with them. All along the walk, Manoj and Arun would stop to do a variety of activities that have become part of their routine - stopping for special trees, greeting certain dogs behind fences, pausing by a particular house that has a KU Jayhawk statue (folks, the hazing of my alma mater starts EARLY). I felt like I had been granted access into their secret, special time together and it was simply beautiful to witness it. And it was totally worth the mounting protest my bladder subjected me to on the way back during that last block and a half.

This year for Mother's day and Father's day, we decided to skip the flowers, ties and gifts in general. Instead, we are pooling the money we would have spent on gifts and are parlaying it into a Fancy Dinner with menu items that will have me running for the spell checker. It was actually my idea because this year, I wanted to celebrate this parental partnership we have created. It's not just about ME as a mother and HIM as a father.

In the end, it's about US and this little unit we've created together.

Be sure to check out the other cool bloggers writing about Fathers and their role in this Baby Business.......

Breastfeeding 1-2-3: A Father's Take on Breastfeeding Perception vs. Reality
Breastfeeding Mums: My Hubby, My Best Breastfeeding Friend!
Mama Knows Breast: Dads and Breastfeeding. My Husband, My Co-Author.
Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog: Proud to be the Father of a Breastfed Baby
The Lactivist: Fathers and Breastfeeding, The Importance of Seconds.

Crunchy Domestic Goddess: My Hubby, the Lactivist
Hepatitis-EPI: A Father's Support
Down With the Kids: Mother's Milk - A Dad's Perspective

Friday, June 8, 2007

Co-Sleeping for $500, Alex

What does co-sleeping have to do with breastfeeding? Frankly, co-sleeping can make breastfeeding easier. When you co-sleep, instead of having to get up, muddle around in the dark while fumbling for your newborn, all you have to do is roll over, nurse, then roll back over and go back to sleep. That's it. Seriously. After awhile, you'll actually sleep while nursing. Oh sure, you might have to do a diaper change in the wee, early weeks, but as times goes on, you don't even have to bother with that.

Truthfully, I was going to do loads of research for this one. I was going to present a compelling argumentative dictate replete with propositions, negatives and affirmatives. Then, my inner collective got all whiny on me and said "But, I don't wannna!", so I decided to go Commando on this. What follows is merely my opinion and in addition, I've added a new category called "Ranty Pants". I'm not an expert, nor do I play one online. What prompted all this is that I came across another poorly written article that slams co-sleeping.

Okay, I'm not a co-sleeping advocate, but rather, I am a huge, colossal believer in that Good Parenting consists of gathering as many ideas as possible, then trying them out in different combinations until you find out what works for you, your partner, your child, your lifestyle. This concept of Ideas hit me like a nuclear bomb very, very early in my new life as a mother. While pregnant, I had everything planned out. Dude, I even had TIMELINES for some things. Then my son was born and I realized very quickly that babies aren't necessarily One Size Fits All. I had it all planned out that my son would sleep in the bassinet by our bed for the first 4 months, then he would transition to the crib. End of story, right? What I didn't count on was a baby who wanted to be near me ALL OF THE TIME. Crazy boy! What was he thinking? I'd already housed him for over 9 months and now this?

Fortunately, my doctor has a crunchity heart of Granola and even told me in the hospital that "We Westerners are the weird ones - the rest of the world is co-sleeping". Furthermore, my husband is from India, a land chock full of co-sleepers. My husband was the one who insisted with exasperation "just bring him to bed already." Folks, that exasperation was directed towards me and I will forever be grateful that I married someone who parents by instinct and not by books. Once I embraced co-sleeping, all was right with our world. It made breastfeeding SO MUCH easier, it eased my worries as a new mother (there was no getting up in the middle of the night to check his breathing) and we both slept peacefully. Once, I got the knack for breastfeeding while lying down, I was rarely sleep-deprived (this was at about 3 weeks or so). Not being sleep-deprived went a long, long way towards my mental health, folks. Furthermore, my son has always been a hard, solid sleeper at night - even when he transitioned to the crib (naps are another issue entirely and still are to this day. I spent a lot of afternoons crying, eating chocolate the first 6 months of his life). The transition to the crib happened gradually and wasn't necessarily planned, either. I eventually got him to nap in there, then I started putting him in there at the beginning of the night, then one evening when he was around 13 months old, I woke up at 5am to realize he hadn't woken up yet (yes, I thought he was dead, snuck in his room and promptly woke him up). Once in awhile, he still co-sleeps if he is sick or out of sorts (think Christmas Mayhem). Because of our experiences with our son, we've already decided to just play it by ear with our daughter. We'll go the co-sleeping route with her and if it doesn't work out, only then will we plunk down the dineros to buy a crib.

Listen. Co-sleeping is not for everyone. It just so happened that I am the sort of sleeper who didn't mind having a baby in bed with me. For many months, I had to end my nights early and go to bed with him - I would read in bed while he slept. It worked for both of us and yes, sometimes it sucked going to bed by 8:30pm, but the advantage was that I didn't have to give up my beloved books, either. I was probably one of the best-read new mothers going around. Besides, it also follows my Idea of Parenting that most things in life are temporary - I knew I wouldn't always be going to bed by 9pm.

Okay, so I am not a huge co-sleeping advocate who thinks everyone should be co-sleeping. What really, really ticks me off about such articles as the one I just linked to is the fact that often, they use unfair scare tactics. And who is more scared than a new mother?????? Many articles will lump all sorts of infant deaths together which can lead one to believe that by merely co-sleeping, you are putting your child at risk. For example, the article states:
......of the 30 infant deaths in 2006 and the first months of 2007, twenty were caused by "co-sleeping" with adults or in other unsafe sleeping environments.
You have to read carefully to get the point that OTHER unsafe sleeping environments were in play as well. Why did they have to lump it all together? If I hadn't been too lazy to type in tons more HREF code, I could show you many more articles that do the same thing.

Okay, without a doubt, if you have a drug or alcohol problem you should NOT co-sleep with your baby. If you are obese, you should NOT co-sleep with your baby. If your bed is super, squishy soft and loaded with comforters and pillows and is situated so high off the ground that a Princess could sleep there (Pea or No Pea), then yes, you probably should NOT co-sleep with your baby. However, I think it's wrong that these articles use such scare tactics that could frighten new parents away from what could be a perfectly viable arrangement for them. If they are going to list "co-sleeping" as a cause of infant death, I think they should list the particulars that went along with the co-sleeping. Frankly, my husband was in disbelief the first time I asked if he had ever heard of a baby being rolled over onto by his parents. Disbelief. I think he used the words "that's crazy". Again, I'm not here to push a co-sleeping agenda, but I would encourage new mothers to not be afraid of including it in their big bag of Ideas.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

She Strikes Again

Awhile back, I had written about Maggie Gyllenhaal "getting caught" breastfeeding in public. At the time, there was a lot of discussion whether she meant to be photographed like that. After these recent photos emerged of her again baring it all with public breastfeeding, I think it's safe to say she knows exactly what she's doing. Bravo to her! Actresses get paid the Big Bucks to bare their breasts on film. Why shouldn't she be allowed to do it for free AND for a "good cause"?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Pour Some Sugar On Me

In yesterday's comments, Celebrate Woo-Woo made the good point that corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup actually are different. As she says:
I would like to chime in that corn syrup is not the same as high fructose corn syrup. Corn syrup has not undergone the same processing and additions as high fructose corn syrup and is not the metabolism killer. Corn syrup is all glucose while high fructose corn syrup is mostly fructose, a little more than half usually. Fructose needs to be balanced with fiber as it is in fruits, but since it isn’t with HFCS, I think that’s where the body starts having issues with it.

She is right in that there is a difference between corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup and I appreciate her pointing that out. I found this piece that goes into the different types of sugars and here is how they broke it down:

Corn Syrup: Made from corn and composed mainly of glucose.

Fructose: A simple sugar found in fruits, honey, and root vegetables. It is used as a caloric sweetener, added to foods and beverages in the form of crystalline fructose (made from corn starch), and it makes up about half the sugar in sucrose or high fructose corn syrup (see below). Fructose does not elicit a glycemic response so it is sometimes used as a sweetener for foods intended for people with diabetes.

Galactose: A simple sugar found in milk products.

Glucose: The main source of energy for the body and the sugar produced when carbohydrates are digested or metabolized. Glucose is sometimes referred to as dextrose. Starch is comprised of long chains of glucose. Glucose make up exactly half of the sugar in sucrose and nearly half of the sugar in high fructose corn syrup.

High Fructose Corn Syrup: A mixture of glucose and fructose produced from corn. The most common form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose.

Lactose: The sugar found naturally in milk, it is composed of one galactose unit and one glucose unit; sometimes called milk sugar.

Maltose: A disaccharide composed of two glucose units. It is found in molasses and is used in fermentation.

Sucrose: Commonly referred to as table sugar, it is composed of one glucose unit and one fructose unit, bonded together.

I did a TON of research trying to find the different effects of these sugars. I found so much conflicting information - some said sugar isn't harmful, some said sugar will KILL you (okay, maybe that's an exaggeration, but still). It was hard to pinpoint the different sources and agendas - one site CLEARLY had an agenda (the same site that said sugar won't hurt you AT ALL). I kept reading and reading and then my brain blew up. Bah.

I can say this - my husband is a diabetic and we know for a FACT that different sugars have very different effects on him since he's testing his blood sugar at least 6 times a day. For example, he can have a bit of honey with little effect. But tropical fruits totally whack his blood sugar out - his days of pineapple and oranges are OVER, y'all. I think gaining a little bit of knowledge and then taking the time to carefully gauge how you feel after consuming sugar can go a long, long way. I have a friend who is so sensitive to sugar, that she has pretty cut it out of her diet. After she consumes sugar, she is very cranky, moody and generally unhappy for several hours after. I generally don't have a sweet tooth, but this pregnancy has thrown me for a loop with my cravings for sweets. Perhaps this is why sugar has been so high on my radar lately.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Forumulaic Formula

I have to admit, I am weary of reporting the news. And it's weird to be writing a breastfeeding blog when I am not quite breastfeeding yet. Then, I came across this article about formula companies promoting their products in the Philippines and I perked up. Sort of. Not really. The article points out that
"just 16% of children between four and five months old are exclusively breastfed. This is one of the lowest documented rates on earth, and it has fallen by a third since 1998. As 70% of Filipinos have inadequate access to clean water, the result is a public health disaster. Every year, according to the World Health Organization, some 16,000 Filipino children die as a result of "inappropriate feeding practices."
The article goes on to pinpoint some of the marketing tactics conducted by the formula companies and then goes on to say this:
"The U.S. embassy and the U.S. regional trade representative started lobbying the Philippines government. Then the chief executive of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. - which represents 3 million businesses - wrote a letter to the president of the Philippines, Gloria Arroyo. The new rules, he claimed, would have "unintended negative consequences for investors' confidence". The country's reputation "as a stable and viable destination for investment is at risk". Four days later, the supreme court reversed its decision and imposed the restraining order PHAP had requested. It remains in force today. The government is currently unable to prevent companies from breaking the international code."

The article horrified and left me slightly depressed. I try SO hard to be open about formula and to not be judgmental. Then, I see companies pushing formula in countries where much of the population doesn't even have consistent access to a safe water supply. Frankly, my Pollyanna Veneer is wearing thin the more and more I see these sorts of articles. Of course, it's not unusual for Western companies to move their marketing tactics to developing nations when their Western consumers smarten up (Totally Tangential: Cigarette and cosmetic companies come to mind. Unilever, the maker of Dove products, has made a killing with their "real beauty" campaign in the US, yet they market skin lightening creams in India and South East Asia. Apparently, "real beauty" is defined as "white skin".) And yes -- the irony, of course, is that a group of breastfeeding mothers just recently broke the Guinness World Record for simultaneous breastfeeding.

Then, THEN, I read this bit about CORN SYRUP in formula. What the HELL? I received some free cans of formula when my son was born and I shoved them into a cabinet - I had intentions of donating them, but got lazy. I pulled them down this morning and started reading the ingredients:
1. The can of Enfamil milk-based formula has lactose listed as the 2nd ingredient, followed by a myriad of unpronounceable items including palm and coconut oils.
2. The can of Similac soy formula has corn syrup solids listed as the FIRST ingredient and also includes palm and coconut oils.
3. The can of Similac milk-based formula also has lactose listed as the 2nd ingredient, followed by a myriad of unpronounceable items including palm and coconut oils

Okay. I am not a health nut. And with this pregnancy, we've eaten far too much fast food because I'm just trying to get by - my end date for what I refer to as "Meals of Shame" is August 1, 2007 (I just want to get through the pregnancy and the first month of breastfeeding/sleep deprivation). However, when I shop at the grocery store, I'm fairly persnickety about reading labels and do try to avoid the bad oils (anything hydrogenated and most definitely palm and coconut) in addition to the corn syrup. Frankly, there's some crapola in those cans of formula that I wouldn't feel good about my toddler consuming, much less my newborn. And no, this isn't about judging parents. This is about judging the formula companies who are obviously putting these powders together to achieve as long as a shelf life as possible. The expiration dates of the Similac cans are early 2008 and the Enfamil expires this summer --- yet I received these cans in October of 2005. The corn syrup solids are particularly worrisome in light of all the research that shows corn syrup can mess with your metabolism.

At this point, I am at a loss for words for any sort of conclusion.

Sunday, June 3, 2007


I came across this "letter to the editor" about the WIC program. It's written by a WIC coordinator in response to an editorial piece she felt was unfair to the program. She does mention the program's efforts to support women while pregnant and while breastfeeding. I felt it only fair to include the link since I had discussed the program previously.

Also, I was emailing with a reader over the weekend, she will be having her first baby this summer and I feel a bit sheepish. Why? I realized that I often talk about how hard the first few weeks of breastfeeding were for me. I was afraid that perhaps by referring to those first few weeks of breastfeeding in such a negative light, that I am unnecessarily scaring new mothers. It's a fine line between being honest to help one emotionally steel oneself and just plain being negative. Yep, the first few weeks of breastfeeding ARE hard, but to be fair, the first few weeks of MOTHERHOOD are hard. Unfortunately, it's nearly impossible to separate the two so there's no point in determining "who's zooming who??". If breastfeeding were the only thing a new mother had to worry about, maybe breastfeeding would be a piece of cake!

With the 2nd time around looming ahead for me, it's actually sorta nice. I do know without a trace of doubt that no matter how hard it might be, it is totally, completely, and utterly worth it - even if this time is more difficult. I would be heartbroken if it turned out I couldn't breastfeed my daughter. I don't think formula is poison per se, but it was a HUGE relief to me that my son never had a drop of it. It was one less thing to worry about. And all those hours of sitting with him and nursing are precious hours that I will always cherish. Also, I love to travel and as a breastfeeding mother, I appreciated not having to cart bottles and such when we went on trips (my carry-on item was usually ONE bag - that's all I ever needed!) Once he got past the newborn stage, running errands was a cinch - I just always made sure the diaper bag with diapers and a small blanket was in the trunk. The past 8 months or so, I rarely carry more than my son and my small clutch purse around. And speaking of diaper bags, since I don't have to worry about bottles and sippy cups (my son uses straws), I don't need tons of complicated pockets and compartments. It allowed me to get a nice, leather black Coach tote to use as a diaper bag, instead (Coach outlets totally rock, BTW. So do birthdays. Ahem.) It's a bag that I will be able to still use long, long after my kids are out of diapers. For someone like me who adores a nice handbag, it's a little perk that I definitely appreciate because my first diaper bag was chipping away at my soul.

So, yes. The first few weeks of breastfeeding can be rough - I think it does a huge disservice to new mothers to pretend otherwise. But, those first few weeks can also be awe-inspiring. I remember being so relieved that my body stepped up to the plate when needed. I remember being so amazed in those early weeks that my body was providing the sole sustenance for my son. It was crazy to me that when my son was 6 months old and such a little chubby, roly-poly thing that my body was totally responsible for that! And I remember those first initial latch-ons in the first few days before my nipples mounted a rising protest.

Words fail me at how natural it all felt.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Round Up

Mothering Magazine Goes Digital
As subscriber to the print edition of Mothering Magazine, I was just given a special offer to receive the digital edition (6 issues/1 year) for all of $5. It seems wasteful to receive it online AND in hardcopy, so if you are interested in receiving the online edition, give me a holler at cagey333ATgmailDOTcom (per the email I received, the offer expires this Thursday, so don't dawdle!) Yep, the offer says I can pass the code to a friend, so whoever emails me first with interest is officially my friend.

Breastfeeding Mother Given Parking Ticket
This article details how a mother was given a parking ticket for parking in a restricted zone while breastfeeding her baby. The mother is quoted as saying
"As I'm breastfeeding and therefore my son is fed on demand, I need to stop right away. I feel with the government both locally and nationally trying to encourage mums to breastfeed that it was unfair of the man not to take that into account or even bother to ask me to move or give me a few minutes to feed my child."

There is some discrepancy in the story because the mother is also claiming a parking attendant said she could park there (although, that contradicts her actual quote, if you read carefully.) Okay, if that was truly the case the parking attendant said she could park there, then maybe she has a leg to stand on. But, she can't expect to park in a restricted zone just because her kid is hungry. That's crazy talk! Sure, it IS stressful when your child is hungry and you are driving. Listen, my parents live a good, solid 45 minutes away from me. Furthermore, I live in a large, spread-out metro area where I can easily be 30-45 minutes away running simple errands. So yes - I've done that routine of having to pull over and find a spot to nurse. It's not fun. But, I never expected to be given special permission to just park anywhere I wanted.

Malta Airport Opens Mothering Room
Hooray! An airport thinks ahead and opens a mothering room. Sure, I doubt I'll ever need a mothering room in MALTA, but maybe other airports will start to take notice. I don't mind hunkering down in a waiting area and nursing my kid - there are NO other choices so I'm not going to dwell on it. But, it would be nice to see a trend. I'm still more than a little horrified that the actress Amanda Peet had to pump in an airport bathroom. I personally make it a strict policy to touch as little as possible in an airport bathroom as it is, so my heart went out to her that she had to pump in one. Yikes.

Work sought for 'Art of Breastfeeding' open show
Do you know any budding artists in Oregon? This art show is looking for artists of all ages to creates pieces celebrating the art of breastfeeding. Very cool!