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Dec 18 2013

The Day Two Women at the Dollar Store Changed My Way of Thinking

By at 4:11 pm

bottle of formula

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

Torah MOMentary: Blessings of the Breast & Womb

By at 10:20 am

black and white photograph mother breastfeeding baby

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

I Can’t Bring Myself to Throw Away the Breast Milk

By at 10:07 am

shutterstock_82906351

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 →

Oct 10 2013

My 5-Year-Old Daughter is in Love with My Breasts

By at 11:57 am

bra

Really.

I don’t mean she loves the idea of one day being a grown woman with big boobs who gets to wear pretty bras like her mama. I mean she’s completely and utterly head over heels in love with my breasts.

When she was 2 ½ she finally–after what felt like thousands of failed attempts and pink lollipop bribes and hours of pleading–quit nursing. If she had it her way, though, she’d still be breastfeeding every night until she goes off to college. (Law school, specifically. That girl can convince you a thousand different ways that dogs meow and cats bark–and you’ll believe her.)

But for the second half of her little life, she seems to be making up for her lack of nursing by grabbing my breasts whenever and wherever she gets the chance. We could be at the doctor or at a wedding–she really doesn’t care. She wants my boobs and she wants them now. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 7 2013

How the Maccabeats Helped Me Breastfeed

By at 5:02 pm
the maccabeats

Via Flickr/NewYorkBrass

 

Like so many of us, my love for The Maccabeats started innocently enough with their “Candlelight” YouTube hit.

But now my passing admiration has blossomed into a much deeper and holistic appreciation of their music and purpose.

Coming from the deep southwest, we simply don’t have many (any?) Jewish musical groups to speak of. The whole concept of a Jewish boy band or a cappella group was entirely foreign to me until I heard The Maccabeats sing in their matching white shirts and yarmulkes.

My non-Jewish husband was so entertained by their Hanukkah video; he went so far as to purchase their album and surprised me with it. When he blasted it out, I remember hot tears of joy streaming down my cheeks. I had never heard Lekhah Dodi sound so beautiful. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 3 2013

Can I Really Survive a Rosh Hashanah Without Challah?

By at 3:56 pm

no challah for rosh hashanah5774 is right around the corner and I’ve already been making my resolutions. I always love “The Jewish Holidays.” Yes, I know there are about a million Jewish Holidays, but my family (and I’m sure many others) dubs Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur time THE Jewish holidays.

While Passover will always be my favorite (call me when you’ve got 10 plague finger puppets, Tu Bishvat) THE Jewish Holidays are always special. In our family, it’s all about the FOOD. As with any holiday (or special occasion, or a Tuesday), when my mom is at the helm creating the menu you know that everyone will be overfed the most delicious food. And Rosh dinner is no exception. There are essentially three staples:

Staple 1: Mushroom and Barley Soup Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 7 2013

Nursing Twin Preemies is Not Easy But So Worth It

By at 2:03 pm

cara nursing twinsIn honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I am inspired to publicly declare that I breastfeed and support other mothers who nurse their children.

My twin girls were born just over 12 weeks ago. They arrived five weeks early and were so small and fragile that I had to learn how to hold a baby all over again. As preemies, they were automatically placed in the NICU and carried no body fat that would have regulated their temperature., Therefore, until my milk started to flow, I agreed to supplement my colostrum with formula. Thankfully, by the time my milk arrived two and half days later, they were latching and suckling easily. The girls lost some weight those first few days in the hospital and when they came home, Elora weighed 3 lbs, 15 oz and Pepper clocked in at 4 lbs, 9 oz.  Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 26 2013

No More Screaming at the Breast Pump for Me

By at 10:10 am

breast pumpOne of the things I’m most proud of as a mother is nursing my older son for a year. And now one of the other things I am most proud of is weaning my younger son at 6 months.

Nursing my older son Ari wasn’t easy. Like many moms, it took weeks to find our groove. Just as I was getting the hang of things, I had to head back to work when Ari turned 3 months old. From there my love-hate relationship with my breast pump began.

Due to my son’s (amazing) sleep schedule and my work schedule, I would often go days at a time with only one nursing, if even that. It was just me and the pump. At some point, my pumping became only about the milk and not the feeding of my son. I was constantly worried if I was making enough milk. Was there a deep supply in the freezer? Would I have to give him what I thought was a dreaded bottle of formula? I was pretty miserable breastfeeding. I distinctly remember hating nearly every minute of it, but I persisted. I didn’t think I had any other choice.

I swore with my next child that I wouldn’t be all consumed by the milk. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 17 2013

Why is Life & Style Magazine So Appalled at Breast Milk-Sharing?

By at 11:18 am

life and style magazine alicia silverstone break milk sharing programThe online parenting community has been abuzz with THIS picture taken from the Life & Style July 22nd issue.

As I sat down to write my response… I needed to take many deep breaths. Deep breaths to refrain from screaming or WRITING IN ALL CAPS! BAD IDEA? SLAVES? WHAT!?! Deep breaths… deep breaths.

Okay, first, some background: actress and vegan lifestyle advocate Alicia Silverstone has started a breast milk-sharing program called, “Kind Mama Milk Share.” It is a way for those with a milk surplus to provide for those moms in need.

The part of the picture that is true is, “Alicia Silverstone’s breast milk-sharing program is not new.” Wet nurses were around back in 2000 BCE. The profession is mentioned in the Bible when Pharaoh’s daughter needs one to nurse Moses. And could you imagine where we’d all be if that guy never got fed? Yes, there were slaves who took on this profession at various times in history, but the idea of milk-sharing IS nothing new, and it continues to be prominent and IMPORTANT (sorry…there are those caps again) in today’s society (see: the National Milk Bank, Prolacta, and a slew of others).  Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 12 2013

Buying My Son from a Priest for a Few Silver Coins

By at 9:51 am

silver coinsI knew my life had gotten strange when I found myself standing in my in-laws’ living room, having recently purchased my son from a priest, as my husband threw chocolate silver coins down my hooter hider while I breastfed my son.

We were at my in-laws for my son’s pidyon haben, a ceremony where a firstborn male child who meets all sorts of criteria, such as resulting from a vaginal birth and not having a mother who is the child of a Cohen or a Levi, is redeemed from Temple service. I am pretty ambivalent about all things Temple-related so it wasn’t the top ritual to perform on my list. Breastfeeding in public while among a large group of elderly relatives was also not on the top of my list, but I had low milk supply and my son was latched on, more or less, 10 hours a day, so secluding myself entirely for months didn’t seem like a viable option.

My husband had apparently gone a bit bonkers from sleep deprivation, which was accounting for the throwing the chocolates down my hooter hider while yelling out “Fifty points! I am going to be able to win a cheap plastic toy!” Apparently the last level of sleep deprivation-induced insanity involves confusing your wife for an arcade game. Read the rest of this entry →

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