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Apr 30 2013

Would it Really Help to Measure My Breast Milk?

By at 4:01 pm

breastfeeding motherA new invention recently developed by an Israeli start-up can measure the amount of milk in your breast before and after you nurse your child, thereby telling you how much milk your baby is getting.

I would have given my left arm (but probably not my left boob) for something like this when I was nursing my first daughter. Breastfeeding was a struggle from the beginning, and thanks to the complete lack of Plexiglas windows on the side of either of my boobs, I had no idea if it was because I wasn’t producing enough or my daughter wasn’t sucking enough, or something else all together. My memories of nursing her over nine months consist primarily of checklists, timers, breast pumps, and on one particularly memorable occasion, an array of no fewer than 24 pills that I would take over the course of the day, all in the service of feeding my baby.  Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 25 2013

For My Family, Formula is a Blessing

By at 5:12 pm

baby formulaTamara Reese’s recent post “You Can’t Shame a Woman into Breastfeeding” left me feeling ashamed.

My husband and I have a sweet, healthy 1-year-old son, Ezra. During Ezra’s first year, he got most of his nutrition from formula. For the first seven months, I supplemented that formula with a few ounces a day of breastmilk–the most my body was able to muster, through insane efforts. I’m part of the 5% of women who deal with primary lactation failure, probably due in my case to my underactive thyroid and my hypo-plastic breasts (aka insufficient glandular tissue). Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 12 2013

You Can’t Shame a Woman into Breastfeeding

By at 9:47 am

tamara reese nursing“I want to be a part of the sisterhood of women who use their breasts to give life. I want to redeem myself. I want to try again. I want to know that I am not broken.” Kim Simon’s story over at the Huffington Post yesterday brought me to my knees. But her planning and hope for a second chance made me want to stand up and change the way we talk to mothers about nursing.

Parts of her story were my story, the screaming, the hungry baby, the misinformation. The nurses and lactation consultants with blue gloves manipulating my sore breasts into my tiny son’s mouth muttering words like: jaundice. Failure to thrive. Dehydrated. I didn’t know what a “good latch” looked like and I couldn’t hear a soft “ka” swallowing sound amidst my crying or his crying or doctors or criticism. All those things swirling around in my head became the perfect storm when my own family told me that I was a horrible mother for trying relentlessly to nurse my son. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 13 2013

Welcome to My Nursing Brain

By at 3:08 pm

woman at grocery storeI look into my 6-month-old baby’s gray-blue eyes as I nurse him. He grabs my breast with both hands and nuzzles his face into it before taking a deep, long drink.

Smiling, first with his eyes, and then his mouth, his lids flutter, his body relaxes, milk drunk in the moment. He plays with my fingers and tries to stick his hand in my mouth, waiting for me to playfully gobble up his chubby baby fingers. He loves me. I love him. He needs me, and I in turn find that I need him. I relax and breath deeply, trying to commit this time to my ever lasting memory. Just me and my nursling, giving and receiving life, communicating without a single word. I am in mothering bliss.

It would be nothing short of a charmed existence if I could say that every nursing session was like this for me. Of course I do love nursing that little boy, but the fact is that my little nursling loves me so very much that he likes to wake me 4-10 times a night just to remind me. When first light peeks through the windows in the morning my first thought is, “NO, not again!!! It cannot possibly be morning yet!” Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 7 2013

The Pains of Parenting with Arthritis

By at 9:35 am

arthritis handsTwo weeks after my second son was born, I woke up one morning with swollen wrists that were too stiff and painful to hold my baby. Using my forearms, I handed our son to my husband and whispered, “It’s back.”

It, in this case, was arthritis that had plagued me since before I hit puberty. Brought on by a virus? Possibly tied to that horrific case of the chicken pox I had in sixth grade? Or maybe passed down from an elderly aunt? All the doctors had different opinions. I just wanted to get through my ballet classes in one piece, and maybe work on my tennis game.  Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 28 2013

Twins Are Coming & I Am Freaking Out

By at 9:49 am

two bottles of formulaI am really starting to freak out. The logistics of having twins, a toddler, a house too small for all of us, and a home business to run is consuming me.

You see, we have no family around to help. The community here is wonderful, but they cannot possibly be here eight hours a day for several weeks as I heal from a probable C-section, attempt to nurse two newborns, and take care of my son who will be 2 1/2 years old. I won’t be able to lift much for six to eight weeks and I plan to strictly adhere to that. The possibility of popping stitches and hemorrhaging scares the shit out of me. It would be disastrous. My husband left to care for me (assuming I survive), two newborns, a toddler, and a business all to himself? He is indeed my Superman, but I don’t think even a superhero could juggle all of that! Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 26 2013

What is the Deal with Breasts?

By at 2:23 pm

bras hanging on clotheslineI wish the song had been, “We saw your balls!”

Seth MacFarlane, an Oscars host only a 12-year-old boy could love, chose to sing a puerile (and insulting) song listing the actresses whose mammary glands he gleefully got to see this past year at the movies.

You know, I’ve had it. In today’s culture, either women’s bodies are sexualized to the point that none of us can feel sexy, or they are derided as objects of fun. In any case, enough is really more than enough. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 7 2013

Quitting Nursing Is A Lot Like Quitting Smoking

By at 9:09 am

I can’t tell yet if it was harder to quit smoking or to quit breastfeeding. I smoked for over 15 years. I’ve been nursing for over 15 months. I had my first cigarette as a 16-year-old, on a teen tour in Israel. On our flight back to New York, the smokers in my group would take turns sitting in the back row seats of our El Al flight puffing away, as you could still smoke on international flights in the early-mid 1990s. I liked smoking from my first inhale. The occasional high school drag behind the football stadium and after Hebrew High on a Wednesday night quickly transitioned into a half-a-pack a day habit when I spent a year on kibbutz before college. This was back in the days when kibbutzim included a carton of Noblesse as part of the monthly taksiv (allowance) members and volunteers received, in addition to unlimited visits to the chadar ochel (dining room) buffet and laundry service.

Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 7 2013

I Had to Stop Breast Feeding and I’m Relieved

By at 5:04 pm

After having a few crazy run-ins with vertigo (not the preferable kind, the one performed by Bono and The Edge), I went to the doctor.

I was pleased to discover that I wasn’t having mini-strokes, but rather, just had vertigo as a byproduct of a sinus infection. While a sinus infection is no picnic, it definitely beats mini-strokes. Now I don’t have to waste my spare time writing my husband’s new JDate profile, or making sure the house has enough hangers for my shiva. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 13 2012

Breastfeeding With an Extra Dose of Jewish Guilt

By at 11:56 am

“Your daughter is not gaining weight,” the pediatrician explained to me at my daughter’s two week checkup.

That pediatrician’s appointment still haunts me. It took me from a place where I thought my milk was just slow in coming into full panic mode. It took me to a world of pumping around the clock, supplemental feeding devices, formula, herbs and teas, weight checks, never leaving the house, and endless tears. Read the rest of this entry →

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