Category Archive : breastfeeding

A Touchy Subject: Let’s Agree To Disagree

So, reports are brewing that Gisele is pregnant again. I made a comment of my distaste for her on Twitter and got a reply by someone who didn’t like my remark, saying that she thinks Gisele is a great mom.

I feel the urge to clarify. 

I never said she isn’t a good mom. Like every other mom in the world, she does what she needs to do. What is right for her. What makes sense for the world she lives in. It’s her condescending comments that I don’t care for. These ones: She didn’t “treat her body like a garbage can” in pregnancy, we all know she thinks everything other than breastfeeding should be illegal and she had her baby potty trained at 6 months. Well, we should all be so lucky to be such fucking perfect mothers.

I appreciate parenting advice. I do. When I was pregnant, I sought it out. I was clueless and needed to know anything and everything. I had no idea who was right or wrong, which opinion I should listen to. Then I became a Mom and it mattered. Is it advice or is it just someone on their high horse?

Advice is one thing, but  I still don’t appreciate feeling judged. Inadequate. A failure. That is how Gisele’s comments made me feel (and really… the entire modeling industry as a whole makes normal everyday women feel like total shit). As the victim of shitty overweight genetics, I was already predisposed to becoming a total fat ass after having a baby. Ask any woman in my family. Seriously. I didn’t treat my body like a garbage can (as a matter of fact, I was sick as hell for 25 weeks) but I still gained 35 pounds. As far as her not needing any pain medication during labor? Again, good for her. There wasn’t a moment after my epidural that I wasn’t thanking my lucky stars for it. But, I guess to some (like Gisele) that makes me weak. Oh, and let’s see… I’m a full-time working mom which meant my boobs (or bottle in my pathetic case) weren’t available to my son 24/7 so I couldn’t hold him over the toilet after all of his feedings to ensure he was potty trained before he turns 1. I have already beaten the breastfeeding subject to a pulp so I’m not even going to go there other than to say my inability to do so was one of the greatest causes of my PPD. I already feel guilty enough so PLEASE stop making it worse.

GOOD FOR GISELE for having the time, money and availability to do all she has done for her child. I just don’t want to hear it anymore. Does her having another baby subject us to more of her painful, self-righteous opinions?

After nearly 4 years, I am FINALLY at a place where I KNOW that I am a GREAT mom. My son is smart, growing, thriving and he LOVES me. He really does. I don’t need to justify any of the decisions I made in his earliest days because he is doing amazing. I don’t know how it took so long, 36 years to be exact, to be able to brush aside small-minded opinions and learn to just love myself. Flaws and all. I’ll never be perfect and thank god, because that is a lot to live up to. 

For the record, let this be the last time I have to justify my disdain for Gisele and her comments. You do it your way and I’ll do it mine. We’ll agree to disagree. But we’ll ALL agree that what we’re really trying to be at the end of the day is a good mom and there is no right answer for how to do that. It is what is in your heart.

The Great Formula Debate: ENOUGH ALREADY!

I’d be remiss if I missed on this opportunity to rant about the latest and greatest breastfeeding vs. the evil formula companies debate. 

Let me premise this by saying that I FED MY BABY FORMULA. GASP! SHUDDER!

I’m not going to tell my story again. It has been told. Again and again. I didn’t have a choice but to switch because desperately trying to breastfeed was putting my baby’s life at risk. If your baby’s life was at risk because he needed to fricking eat, wouldn’t you do the same?

I am completely neutral when it comes to breastfeeding. If you can do it, I applaud you. Actually, I ENVY you. So, yay for you. Yay that it worked. Yay Yay Yay. Now, will you please stop shoving it down everyone’s throats and let people make this extremely personal decision on their own without all the guilt and bias getting in the way?

Here’s the new big dumb controversy. Similac was paying Bloggers for their positive reviews of their Similac Baby Journal app. Okay. So that’s nothing new. Bloggers often get paid to promote a product in return for money or goods. What became debatable was there were bloggers who happened to be breastfeeding advocates that are getting paid to write about something that they didn’t necessarily agree with or believe in. THAT I can understandably argue with (pot calling the kettle black much? Stick to your guns on your opinions or you can kiss your blog credibility and your integrity goodbye). As much as I would like to rake in some dough with my blog (I make enough for a medium Caribou coffee about every four months) there is NO WAY I would write a review for a product that I didn’t believe in (click on my About tab and I explain this further). You will never see me flip flopping just to get compensated unless I had a life altering experience with the product which genuinely changed my opinion.

When I first brought Jackson home, I was a disaster. New house, new mom, breasts that refused to work, uterine infection, baby that refused my breasts, baby losing weight quickly, jaundice getting worse, people constantly on my ass telling me I HAD to breastfeed… It was awful and not exactly the dream I had about bringing a baby home. My entire pregnancy, I literally poured over information about breastfeeding. I feel like I was incredibly self-educated and informed on the subject. I barely looked at anything in regards to formula; yet, I kept all of those samples from my OB/Gyn “just in case.” When it got to the point where the choice was very obviously no longer mine, I suddenly had to play catch up and figure out what formula was all about. I wish I had educated myself on it IN THE FIRST PLACE.

I would like to think that I am a smart mom and a smart consumer who makes informed decisions. The pressure to breastfeed from the mom community was SO enormous that I didn’t think I had any other options and let me tell you, that is simply not true. When making the switch to formula, I did not ask Similac, Gerber or Enfamil the best way to do it, which kind would be best for my baby or how often to feed him. I ASKED HIS PEDIATRICIAN. So please do not insult my intelligence- I didn’t choose to formula feed or buy a specific formula product because Enfamil shoved some marketing campaign down my throat. You don’t think Madela has to do some marketing for their breastfeeding products? Hmmmm? Does that make them evil for trying to sell their product? Are they preying on idiot moms who supposedly don’t know any better or don’t have a single clue on what the hell they are doing? Just curious.

Even though the end product for Similac’s baby journal app fell a little short and completely pissed off the breastfeeding community at large, I have to give them a little bit of credit for at least trying. They are at least recognizing that breastfeeding is a big deal for many moms and made an attempt at creating that connection. I took a peek at the app and found the journaling to be easy and straightforward. While I didn’t need an app to tell me when my kid was hungry (yes, even as a formula feeder, I read his hunger cues appropriately), his pediatrician did require us to journal when and how much he was eating as well as his dirty diapers and sleep time for about the first two weeks (they needed this information specifically because he was jaundiced). So in that respect, the app is pretty good. Take the “call our feeding expert” option out of it and I think they may have been on the right track. I would like to think that smart moms are going to go to their lactation specialists and pediatricians for advice on feeding before they rely on their iPhone app. Or maybe that’s just me. I WISH I HAD THIS APP (hell, I wish I had an iPhone) when Jack was born. There are many baby journaling apps out there (type in “Baby Journal” in the search bar in the App Store… you’ll see what I mean), the only difference with this one is that it was made by Similac. A formula company. Gee. I guess it’s evil now.

Here are some snapshots of the app at least of the pieces that I would have found useful way back when Jack was an infant (I think the pee and poop visuals in the diaper change section are kind of hilarious):

Would I endorse this app? Yup. I would. Do I endorse breastfeeding? Yup. Of course. Do I endorse formula? YES. Do I endorse moms whose babies love them regardless of which way they are fed? Absolutely.

FYI: I was not paid a single penny for my opinion.

Playing Catch Up

I confess that I haven’t been a great blogger. Well… here at least. So let’s catch up with the latest and greatest in life and rants.

1) I am on a major weight loss kick. As we tip toe back into the TTC world, I feel once again that the only way it is going to happen is if I lose weight and get serious about being healthy. Not to say that I wasn’t oh so careful when I was pregnant with Jack, but, I do feel that being overweight contributed to my unexplained infertility. Why else would I get pregnant after losing 15 pounds? Anyway, in order to do this, I have had to re-commit in a big way. I quit WeightWatchers which was only doing a couple things for me: jack and shit. I rejoined and have been seeing really great results as well as getting support through their amazing community. I have been keeping a weight loss blog there and it has really been great at keeping me honest and on track. Not an easy thing to do during the Halloween season of amazing chocolate at every turn. I really recommend SparkPeople and how their program works. I think it was just the kickstart I needed to get the weight loss moving.

2) Vaccine Rant:
With H1N1 messing up everyone’s world, the great vaccination debate is firing up again. Everyone knows that I am pro-vaccination. When Jack started daycare, our family has NEVER been so sick. We caught every little cold, stomach virus you name it. Our house should have had a big bubble around it. I simply CANNOT imagine my child getting sick with something worse. As with anything, you have to weigh the risks. I have always looked at it from the point of view that I would rather my son be autistic then dead. Another way I look at it is- when I get a medication for something whether it be pain pills or antibiotics, I’m always told by my doctor or Jack’s pediatrician that the benefits outweigh the side effects of the medication. I look at vaccinations the same way. I have also seen the horrors of meningitis and will do ANYthing to keep my son from getting that sick. I actually heard someone say “It’s not like they can die from the flu.” Unless you live in a bubble and never read or watch the news, you know that is NOT TRUE. There are plenty of VERY healthy kids dying from both H1N1 and the seasonal flu. Extremely ignorant to say that it could never happen to you. Fine if you are wearing your tin foil hat with your grass skirt drinking your tofu tea hanging out with your non-vaccinated children but keep them away from me and my family.

3) OH my god rant. I saw this posted on today and felt like I needed to rant: Article- Should Childless Children Get Maternity Leave?
Um. NO. Listen. When I was trying to get pregnant for 2.5 years and watching scores of women around me who were rubbing their perfect pregnant bellies and then leaving for 12 weeks on what I assumed was an extended vacation then coming back with a million excuses in the world for why they have to leave early to pick up little Ben from daycare or go to their holiday pageant it made me livid. Why do they get all this flexibility and I’m working my ass off until 5p? I sort of turned the other cheek and used it to my professional advantage. I’d steal projects, take all the glory. Then, I got my turn. Maternity leave is no treat. It is no vacation. There is nothing fun about maternity leave. Let’s see. The first 3 weeks are spent in a baby blues blur of non-stop crying for pretty much no reason at all. I spent at least the first 4 weeks in recovery alone- the bleeding, the pain from both postpartum contractions and my episiotomy and not to mention that I also came down with a uterine infection that put me on horrible antibiotics, pain pills and a week of bed rest while I recovered. I didn’t even bring up baby yet!!! There is no sleep. For Jack there was also no breastfeeding which just ADDED to my already on-edge baby blues issues and worry. Jack was jaundiced which meant a week on a bili bed and getting blood tests every two days to make sure that his bilirubin number was going down (which it wasn’t because he wasn’t eating) in which we then decided to switch to formula which brought on a firestorm of criticism from all corners. By 6 weeks (the normal maternity leave time off in the US that is actually paid for) Jack was still feeding at least twice overnight- the THOUGHT of going back to work that early gives me shivers. Through the glory of FMLA, I was able to take 12 weeks off and because of an amazing boss and CEO I was able to stretch that to 15 weeks. It was exactly the right amount of time that I needed to settle into an entirely new life, figure out a routine with the baby and completely recover from his birth.

So. Unless whoever these women are that want maternity leave for doing a whole lot of nothing want to go through EXACTLY this then they can kiss my ass. Hell yeah, I’d love 6 weeks off to do absolutely nothing, but IT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY. Now… Giving leave time to someone undergoing infertility treatments? That is something I would be able to agree with. Infertility drugs and procedures are no cakewalk let alone the emotional aspect of it. I would think a woman should be well within their rights to have time allotted for that.

4) Breastfeeding Rant.
I will be the first to say that the benefits of breastfeeding are amazing. Those that were able to successfully do for a year? My heroes. HOWever… my rant isn’t about those people necessarily. It is about the selfish breastfeeders- you know the ones. The ones who do it for THEM and justify their behavior as being for their child. The ones who did it to lose all the baby weight and then some. The ones who are obsessed with feeding (you do get some pretty amazing hormone rushes from it). I saw a post today from someone who is still EBF and her kid is over the age of 1 now. When I say exclusive? I mean exclusive. As in no other form of nutrition other than breast milk. No Gerber Puffs, no purees, no fruits, no veggies, no table foods of any kind and she is surprised that her son hasn’t gained any weight in 3 months? It is time to LET GO of the breastfeeding- this is OBVIOUSLY telling you that his needs are changing! I was not a breastfeeder so I really shouldn’t even comment, but when the answer is so right in your face… ugh.

I can’t understand why some moms are so blind to their kids’ changing needs whether it be naps, bottles, food… I am sure there are plenty of things that I turn my head to when it comes to Jack, but I have also learned when it is time to let go, too. I thought giving up the swaddle would be terrible. Turned out to be a non-event. I thought I would never give him solids in the fear of his choking. He eats grilled cheese like a champ. I thought losing the nighttime bottle would be a tragedy- also a non-event. I thought he would never go to sleep without being rocked- also not true (and very hard for ME to give up- I loved my snuggle time with him!). Ask me about the pacifier in a few months… ha! My point is- you can’t hold onto these things forever and even though they can’t talk, they are showing you signs of how much they are changing all the time and you have to roll with it. No matter how much you fight it- they really aren’t babies for long. I, frankly, love my 1 year old. He is so much fun to be around now that he is interactive and dinner is a blast now that he can eat our food right along with us.

5) TTC #2 Rant
My DH and I have been TTC #2 pretty steadily now since about May. Sure, we should probably getting it on more often. A part of me just keeps thinking: WHY can’t we be that couple who only has to do it once and we’re pregnant? Those of you long time TTCers know what I’m talking about. It’s not that the lovin’ isn’t great, it is just… a lot and it is stressful and not a good kind of stress. I’ve been trying to connect with others who are TTC #2 and wanted to keep an open mind. I joined a buddy group with my October 08 mums and out of 5 of us, 3 are already pregnant. WTF? Once again, I am the last one standing. I then drifted off to try another group. I lurked around, thought about posting and saw: “I hope my journey for #2 isn’t as long as #1. It took us 4 months to TTC #1.” I thought, “4 WHOLE months??” WTF!!! Who makes a comment like that??? I hesitate to even mention 2 1/2 years being long as I know there are others out there who have been at the TTC game MUCH, much longer than that. Just. Stupid. It is safe to say that I ran far, far away from that group never to open up the thread again. For a long time, I was indifferent as to whether or not I wanted a 2nd child. I’m sure it was on one of those not so good days with Jack. However, those thoughts are long gone. I REALLY want a sibling for him. I don’t care if it is a boy or a girl (although a girl would be FABulous). We have a cutoff this time though- if we’re not pregnant by the end of 2010 the gig is up. I refuse to go through any more TTC stress, drugs, or losses (which I am at a higher risk for with uterine fibroids).

Catch up rants complete!