Mar 20 2014
Somewhere between my active toddler son’s energetic wind sprints at the park and my daughter’s ferocious infant appetite, I stopped nursing with a cover.
Not that I really ever had any great love for a nursing cover. Didn’t seem to matter if it was a formal cover with the plasticy-bent peephole, or a super-thin-cottony Aden and Anais blanket, I usually used one before. One lives in the diaper bag at all times. I found other women who nursed without covers somewhat forward. Not improper, just very unconcerned with those around them.
I consider myself to be fairly concerned (but not obsessed) with what others may think or not think about my breast size, shape, color, and my infant’s interaction with it. So I covered up. I vividly remember when my doula friend nursed her toddler openly without a cover in a mall, nipple swinging all around. I knew on the scale of modest to exposed, I fell solidly in the “err on the safe side” camp. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 3 2014
Writing a blog post discussing the merits of breastfeeding is not unlike taking a steak in your hand and casually, slowly, trailing said steak along the bars of a lion’s cage. I’ve found this out the hard way on several occasions. Each time I’ve written about breastfeeding, I’ve been amazed at the tempest that ensues.
I’m a slow learner.
According to an Ohio State University study comparing siblings fed differently during infancy, breastfeeding might not be any more beneficial than bottle-feeding for 10 of 11 long-term health/well-being outcomes in kids aged 4-14. In fact, asthma was found to correspond more to breastfed than bottle-fed subjects. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 24 2014
When I read about the Evil Eye as a kid, I imagined it as an eye in the sky, ready to glare at anyone who boasted of their accomplishments or counted their chickens before they hatched. But the Evil Eye is, and always has been, other people.
Salon.com recently published an essay by (Kveller contributor) Elissa Strauss discussing the new tyranny of the “bad mommy”:
Instead, today’s bad mommies are as smug, and even sometimes smugger, than those good mommies they aimed to resist. These parents, products of a culture that thinks it is just so hilarious to tell parents to “Shut the Fuck Up” while telling their kids to “Go the Fuck to Sleep,” are the new sanctimommies. These women take real delight in being the “worst mom in the world,” “scary mommy,” the “world’s worst mom,” “bad mom” and “bad mommy.” Most of these women don’t really consider themselves bad moms (I doubt anyone who writes regularly about being a “bad” mom could really possibly be one), but instead take the position as a way to assert their superiority to the “good ones.” Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 20 2014
It’s my first job interview after a two year lull (because in the corporate world, birthing two children in 20 months, moving continents twice, and pursuing a law degree in a foreign language is considered a lull).
But first, some serious sprucing is in order, if only to help mask the “I breastfeed for a living” I imagine emblazoned across my forehead. I have only one chance to convince them I can make it in this ruthless, three-inch heel environment. One new suit from Ann Taylor and visit to a salon for a new hairdo later, I’m not quite a corporate superwoman, but close enough. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 16 2014
We’re done. We nursed for two years, three months, and five days, and now we are finished. Check that life milestone off the list. My first baby is a big girl now.
It’s been three weeks and my boobs still hurt. And so does my heart. I’m angry, sad, and a touch melodramatic. While I know it was a good time to do it, and I knew it would be hard, I didn’t think it would be this hard.
Charlotte is doing fine, and I am a basket case.
The timing was right. I went away for five days to sunny Southern California for a work conference, and Charlotte stayed home in Seattle with her dad. I’ve tried weaning by going away, unsuccessfully, two other times in the past year. This time around, I figured with no other upcoming solo travel opportunities on the horizon, I better just do it. We’ve been talking since she turned 2 that the milk in mommy’s booboos was running out because Charlotte was getting to be such a big girl and didn’t need it anymore. So, the morning before I headed off to the airport, we had our final morning nursing snuggle. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 13 2014
We’re not supposed to say that we’re glad to be done with breastfeeding. But I’ll admit it: My name is Jordana and I’m kind of, sort of, glad to be done.
Without question, breastfeeding is terrific when it works. But “when it works” is often interpreted as the simple: when you can get the kid to latch, for example, or have no problems with supply.
But what if it makes you crazy?
Not literally crazy, of course. I’m talking colloquially crazy. As in, “God, this is driving me crazy.” As in being perpetually stressed out, tired, and miserable. As in finding yourself screaming at your other kids because you are so hung up on making sure the breastfeeding is going OK. What about that? Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 9 2014
Three kids in, I will nurse (and have done) in front of anyone. Father-in-law? Check. Rabbi? Check. Boss? Check. Graduate students? Check. Everyone who goes to my local park, grocery store, coffee shop, and (obviously) doctor’s office? Check, check, check, and (obviously) check. To me, nursing is natural, life-giving and life-affirming, and simply a part of my baby’s nutritional needs, much like any other kind of food.
Pumping is a different story.
I barely let my spouse see me pump, let alone anyone else. Where nursing is a normal part of the routine, pumping feels utterly abnormal, both mechanic and animalistic, dehumanizing from every perspective.
I really don’t enjoy pumping.
And I have the easiest possible pumping scenario: I get a very generous maternity leave (by US standards) and will return to work in a private office with a door that locks and a small bar fridge. I don’t have to crouch in the corner of a public bathroom, or monopolize a private one, or face the wall and pretend that others can’t see or hear what I’m doing.
I really don’t enjoy pumping in public. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 18 2013
I remember clearly the day that I learned for sure that I know nothing. I was standing in line at the dollar store, casually eavesdropping on the woman ahead of me talk with the woman behind the register about feeding their ravenous newborns. I nodded smugly, caressing my huge belly and thinking back to when my other two kids were new and endlessly hungry. I smiled, confident in my ability to empathize and ready to interject a wise comment as a soon-to-be mother of three.
And then I stopped to actually listen. And I heard the woman behind the counter lament that her 1-month-old still seemed hungry even after finishing his formula. I nodded, a little less confidently (having no experience with formula) but still with sympathy; hungry babies are hungry babies.
I heard the woman ahead of me suggest following her lead by giving the baby cereal. And now I nodded even less securely, resisting–somehow–the urge to scream, “Noooo, don’t do it, your baby is way too young for solids!” But (and I am embarrassed to recall this) a part of me really really wanted to pass on my “advice.” A part of me really want to jump in with all the judgment I’d resisted on the nursing front (because, and I swear I mean this, I do get that what works for me doesn’t work for everyone, and that there are many many reasons why women don’t or can’t nurse), telling her (not that she’d asked) that formula really is just fine for a newborn, but cereal certainly is not. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 13 2013
This post is part of our Torah commentary series. This past Shabbat we read Parashat Vayehi. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.
This week’s portion, Vayehi, contains the last chapters of Genesis. It’s the end of the beginning. It’s been a long 12 portions since the world was created.
The epic saga comes to a close with Jacob’s blessing his grandsons, the fathers of the 12 tribes; then Jacob’s death; and finally the death of Joseph. Vayehi is all about fathers and sons and grandfathers, blessings and vows and deaths and mourning. Strangely, though, there are hardly any mothers or daughters; the only mention of the matriarchs here is the location of their graves, and Jacob’s sadness over Rachel’s death.
I couldn’t help but feel a little shortchanged on behalf of my foremothers. Genesis is full of brave, resourceful women keeping the family alive, talking directly to God, hustling, giving birth, raising the next generation, making things right when their men mess up. Why do they suddenly disappear in the final chapters? Maybe that’s not surprising for an ancient patriarchal society, but it felt strange to me. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 15 2013
About four months ago, I stopped pumping.
I know. It’s a big deal. I’m a part-time, work-from-home mom, so pumping was something I had to do in order to go out and get in a few hours at the office. Every night, around 9 p.m. I’d get my water, wash my hands, set up the pump, and watch TV. After an hour of being attached to flanges that made an arooga sound as they pulled on my nipples, I’d have a few ounces and I’d know that I could leave the house the next time the babysitter came by.
Oh man, that pump. I know I’m not the first to complain about the noises it made (the TV volume was always up so high so I could hear over the damn thing) or about the way it could hurt or about how my relationship with cow’s milk has changed now that I myself have been like the cow. And yes, I would multitask, working my way through my DVR, sometimes attempting to respond to emails, but still–it was a huge commitment of time and energy, every night. Every night for almost a year. Read the rest of this entry →