Jul 17 2013
The 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
I 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 →
Jul 11 2013
I have realized in the last few weeks that one of the biggest challenges of having twins is feeding them. They seem to eat all the time, around the clock, especially during a growth spurt when wearing a bra seems useless.
I am fortunate that I didn’t have any challenges nursing my son three years ago and I am not having any serious issues with my girls now. My girls latched within an hour of their births and my milk came in on the third day (in spite of my C-section which can delay milk production). I do pump more than I would like, but that is mostly for efficiency. To nurse them would take longer and I feel I would have no time to do anything else (you know, trivial stuff like showering and eating).
My girls arrived five weeks early and combined they weighed less than my son when he was born. They lacked the lovely fat that makes babies look cute and plump; instead, they had skinny little chicken legs and their skin hung off them like pantyhose several sizes too big. That made regulating their body temperature a challenge, so for the couple days in the hospital before my milk emerged, we decided to give them formula. Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 11 2013
I was just shy of 23 years old when my first son was born. That meant that the sole people I viewed as role models were my mother, who had my sister when I was 13, and a handful of friends, who had children practically right after high school.
When it came to the issue of breastfeeding, they are the ones I turned to as examples. My birth class teacher was somewhat of a hippy, who informed all of us new mothers-to-be that a year of nursing is the absolute minimum. I had stared at her in shock as I heard these words, certain that I would only last six months or so as the mothers I knew had done. It was only when I held my little boy in my arms for the first time and tried to get him to latch on that I truly began to discover what breastfeeding was all about and what it entailed. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 30 2013
A 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
Tamara 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
“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
I 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
Two 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
I 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 →