Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Case Against Breastfeeding

I have long believed (and shared with some friends) that the miraculous benefits of breastfeeding may be slightly overstated. My theory has always been that women who take the time to breastfeed may also be more likely to take the time to read, sing and talk to their infant. Well, I've been vindicated. I just saw this article in The Atlantic. It pretty much confirms with research all of my suspicions. It's a long article, so if you don't care to read it all, here are my favorite clips:

"The debate about breast-feeding takes place without any reference to its actual context in women’s lives. Breast-feeding exclusively is not like taking a prenatal vitamin. It is a serious time commitment that pretty much guarantees that you will not work in any meaningful way. Let’s say a baby feeds seven times a day and then a couple more times at night. That’s nine times for about a half hour each, which adds up to more than half of a working day, every day, for at least six months. This is why, when people say that breast-feeding is “free,” I want to hit them with a two-by-four. It’s only free if a woman’s time is worth nothing."

"This year alone I had two friends whose babies could not breast-feed for one reason or another, so they mostly had to pump. They were both first-time mothers who had written themselves dreamy birth plans involving hot baths followed by hours of intimate nursing. When that didn’t work out, they panicked about their babies’ missing out on the milky elixir. One of them sat on my couch the other day hooked up to tubes and suctions and a giant deconstructed bra, looking like some fetish ad, or a footnote from the Josef Mengele years." (anyone whose been to our house at "milking time" has witnessed this)

"In her critique of the awareness campaign, Joan Wolf, a women’s-studies professor at Texas A&M University, chalks up the overzealous ads to a new ethic of “total motherhood.” Mothers these days are expected to “optimize every dimension of children’s lives,” she writes. Choices are often presented as the mother’s selfish desires versus the baby’s needs. As an example, Wolf quotes What to Expect When You’re Expecting, from a section called the “Best-Odds Diet,” which I remember quite well: “Every bite counts. You’ve got only nine months of meals and snacks with which to give your baby the best possible start in life … Before you close your mouth on a forkful of food, consider, ‘Is this the best bite I can give my baby?’ If it will benefit your baby, chew away. If it’ll only benefit your sweet tooth or appease your appetite put your fork down.” To which any self-respecting pregnant woman should respond: “I am carrying 35 extra pounds and my ankles have swelled to the size of a life raft, and now I would like to eat some coconut-cream pie. So you know what you can do with this damned fork.” I categorically HATE the book "What to Expect..."

"The problem is, breast-fed infants are typically brought up in very different families from those raised on the bottle. In the U.S., breast-feeding is on the rise—69 percent of mothers initiate the practice at the hospital, and 17 percent nurse exclusively for at least six months. But the numbers are much higher among women who are white, older, and educated; a woman who attended college, for instance, is roughly twice as likely to nurse for six months. Researchers try to factor out all these “confounding variables” that might affect the babies’ health and development. But they still can’t know if they’ve missed some critical factor. “Studies about the benefits of breast-feeding are extremely difficult and complex because of who breast-feeds and who doesn’t,” says Michael Kramer, a highly respected researcher at McGill University. “There have been claims that it prevents everything—cancer, diabetes. A reasonable person would be cautious about every new amazing discovery.” Seriously, I could write this stuff.

I really feel that I am one of those anomalous women who can't successfully breastfeed. I am also a white, educated and upper-middle class, which means the pressure to breastfeed (both socially and self-imposed) is great. I think about this subject a lot (I have a lot of time to think while I am pumping) and really feel like we need to give each other the benefit of the doubt. I can't think of a single one of my friends who doesn't want the absolute best for her children. May we all be free to decide what "best" means without judgment...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Jane came down with a yucky, green, slimy cold on Saturday night. We ended up on the couch together so that Adam and Scott could sleep in (relative) peace upstairs. Her face pretty much explains how she was feeling.

Unfortunately, her cold leads to this:

This girl is a very happy, easy-going kid...except when you touch her nose, then she does this:

Sorry baby. I'm your Mom, it's part of my job description.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Any Green Thumbs Out There?

I was pruning a really old lilac bush in my backyard. I cut off a big, mostly dead branch and saw this:

The wood is purple. Why would that be? Is it diseased? I did a quick google search and came up with nothing.

*Sorry to those of you who are my friends on Facebook. I posted this question there too.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

2 years and 4 Months

Jane had her four month check-up today. She's no "little" lady. She is 26 3/4" (above the 97th %ile) and...
16 lbs 11 oz (92nd %ile)! She is almost as tall as Adam at this age, but Adam was 19lbs 14 oz.!

Speaking of Adam. He had his two year check-up. The nurse said this would probably be the last time he gets weighed on the baby scale:)

He is 37 1/2" (97th %ile) and 35lbs 5 oz (above the 97th %ile). They say that you can double your child's height at 2 years as an indicator of adult height. That means Adam's predicted height is 6' 3"!

Adam has his appointment with the allergist in May. Keep your fingers crossed!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Note to Self

When you get your baby all dressed up for Easter Sunday, take good pictures before church. I only got this one of her in the carseat.

She came home looking like this after she pooped all over everything except her shoes.

Oh, and one more thing. If you buy rain boots for Jane; hide them. Adam thinks that all rain boots are his.

"Mamma Go Away."

Adam has decided that he would like to be able to play with Jane alone. It has happened more than once that I set Jane on the floor and then Adam requests that I go away. He will then scoot his toy closer to Jane and start playing. I hear him saying things like, "You like that Janie?" and "See the marbles Janie?"

He always has Jane's best interest in mind. I found this in Jane's swing while she was sleeping:

Adam's truck delivered Jane's binkie, you know, just in case.

While the thought was nice, Jane takes care of her own sucking needs these days. She found her thumb and hasn't looked back:

In other news, we celebrated Jane's 1/3 birthday (4 months for those of you who flunked math).

We have her doctor appointment on Tuesday, I'll post her stats then.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Well, I survived...barely.

The headbands came and all I can say is...



Despite my animal response to take a bite out of her, she remains intact.

Posted by Picasa

My Civic Duty

I got this in the mail the other day. It is a summons for grand jury duty. Wikipedia says this about grand jury duty:

"At almost any cost, try to avoid being seated on a grand jury. Duty on a grand jury means that you will be hearing assistant district attorneys asking for indictments on a number of cases over an extended period of time. Grand jury duty is both long and tedious."

I was really worried. Who would take care of my kids for "an extended period of time"? I called to get an extension because I'm breastfeeding. They gave me 6 months. I mentioned this to a friend and she said, in her state, if you are a stay-at-home-mom with children not yet in school, you can get excused from jury duty. I called to give it a try. Here is a rough transcript of the conversation between me and the jury duty lady:

Me: I'm calling to see if I can be excused from jury duty since I stay home with my children
Jury Duty Lady: Sure, you just have to answer some questions.
Me: Okay.
JDL: What are the ages of you children?
Me: Two and four months.
JDL: And you are their primary caregiver?
Me: Yes.
JDL: Will you or do you intend to work outside the home in the next 18 months?
Me: No.
JDL: You have to contact us if you do decide to work outside the home.
Me: Okay.
JDL: And there is no one, friends or family, that can care for your children.
Me: (deciding if what I'm about to say is a lie) No.
JDL: Okay, you just need to fax a copy of your children's birth certificates.

So, truthfully? I probably could have pawned my children off on my friends (who have their own children to care for) for the month that I was on jury duty (being paid $40/day). But I really felt like that would be a bit traumatic for them (and me). Bouncing from one house to the next for who knows how long and being away from me would really disrupt their lives. So, I feel fine about my answers. Oh, and I got a postcard in the mail today telling me I was excused from jury duty for two years.

Posted by Picasa