Category Archives: breastfeeding

A Soapbox

I have a bone to pick. I have a feeling this might not be a very popular post. I’m feeling kind of snarky today for no particular reason so whatever.

I don’t have a bone to pick with anyone in particular, really. I have a bone to pick with labeling. Don’t get me wrong, some labels are important. FDA labels. Medication labels. Warning labels. GMO labels. Those kinds of things are important.

I have a problem with parenting labels. It seems to be super important for mothers to label themselves and the kind of “parenting” they parent with. There’s so many “kinds” of parenting out there, and people have some strong feelings about all of them, and I’m here to say that it’s all bullshit. The specific thing that has my goat today (though I’m not sure why) is this whole thing called “gentle parenting” or “attachment parenting.” Mothers who adhere to this idea do things like extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping, co-bathing, babywearing, not using the cry-it-out method…you get my drift. And there is nothing wrong with ANY of those things. Nothing. But why do we have to call it “gentle” parenting? So say I don’t do things like co-sleep. Does that therefore imply that I’m not a gentle parent? Or that I’m not attached to my child because I allow her to cry sometimes?

I am really tired of people carrying around this label on their shoulders like it makes them a better mother than me because I don’t let my kid sleep in the same bed. Whatever way you want to raise your child is fine. Breastfeed till age 3? Congratulations. Sleep in the same bed till they’re in kindergarten? Fine. But why does anyone feel the need to broadcast this? Why label yourself an “attachment parent?” Why label yourself anything? Here’s something I’d like to broadcast about all this, in all capital letters because I’d like you to imagine me shouting it from the top of a big soapbox:

NOBODY GIVES A FUCK HOW YOU RAISE YOUR KID.

I don’t look at a toddler and think, oh, he was raised with attachment parenting. When you get to a job interview nobody asks if your mother let you cry till you fell asleep on your own. Chances are unless you were abandoned repeatedly or fed blue meth as an infant, you’re going to turn out pretty much the same as anybody else no matter how your mother(s)/father(s) chose to parent you. My daughter is not going to go to kindergarten and seek out friends who were formula fed and form a clique that talks shit about kids who were breastfed, or vice versa. Kids don’t give a fuck about this sort of stuff, so why do we? Yeah, it’s important that YOU care and feel strongly about the choices you make, but it has no business being anyone else’s business.

Mothers need to quit wasting time worrying that other women care how they are raising their children. Because nobody does. Who has time to care? I have time to raise my child in the manner that works for me, my husband, and our daughter. My motherhood does not make me a martyr and I have nothing to prove to anyone except myself. One method of parenting is not better than the other and nobody cares that you picked one over the other. Make your choices, raise your family, and shut up.

But one more thing, while I’m at it. Since I’m already up on this soapbox. Since my follower count is already dropping anyway. Can we do away with the pictures of the baby eating with the edge of your boob in the picture? I get it, you’re proud to breastfeed. Breastfeeding is cool. But do we need shitloads of pictures of it and your boobs?

You may now return to your regularly scheduled Friday.

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“A Good Problem to Have”

The future of human-cat relations

This is a post about breastfeeding. Pass it over if you feel so inclined.

The first night Caroline and I spent in the hospital after her birth was tough. Really tough. Cameron and my mom went home to rest because we thought, well, they’re only 2 blocks away, and more than likely the baby will sleep most of the night anyway since that’s what she’d been doing all day. That’s what babies do their first few days, they sleep. I had the nurse there for support, we figured it was a decent solution to allowing some of us to get some sleep. The second Cameron left the hospital, Caroline started wailing. And she pretty much never stopped the whole night. I held her, I cuddled her, I walked around the room with her, I changed her and I tried to feed her, pretty much my entire arsenal of things I knew how to do less than 24 hours into my career as a mother. The nurse would come in occasionally probably to make sure that I wasn’t passed out in the bed ignoring her because she was crying for so long. She helped me re-swaddle her and gave me a different binkie to try and checked her to make sure her temperature was okay. Because my milk wasn’t in yet, feeding her was still a challenge, but boy did I try. All night long. When she first came out at only 5lbs3oz, we were instructed to feed her every 2 hours on the dot, which I did (or attempted) dutifully and happily. It was the first sign for me that breastfeeding was going to be a challenge, but I was still too tired (and too hopeful that it was just “the first night”) to read the writing on the wall.

The next morning when the pediatrician came in to do a checkup on her, instead of being told that she was doing well and we could go home that day, he told me that she had lost 9% of her birth weight in little over 24 hours. She had dropped all the way to 4lbs11oz which is preemie, might need to go to the NICU territory. In case you’re not familiar with what’s considered normal, doctors expect babies to lose about 10% of their birth weight in a week before they start gaining again. Naturally this was a little distressing, but not the end of the world, and the doctor told me that he wanted us to stay an extra day to make sure she could put some weight back on. I held it together till he left the room and then immediately started bawling in front of the nurses who, bless them, were very supportive. I was overtired, physically exhausted, hormonally overloaded, and alone–Cameron was still on his way over with coffee. Most of all I was worried about my baby. Since I was still only producing colostrum at that point, the nurses said we would try to supplement her with some formula so that she could get a few extra calories out of every feeding and that when I could, I would pump to try and help bring the milk in. We fed her formula by syringe at first, and then the nurse whipped out a supplemental nutrition system, basically a supply line that fed formula into the corner of her mouth while I was nursing so that we were killing two birds with one stone–she was nursing and helping bring in the milk AND getting some extra calories. Luckily, the next day when the doctor came in to look at Caroline, she had gained back 5 whole ounces–he’d expected one at the most, so this was extremely encouraging, and he allowed her to be discharged that day.

The next few days were a struggle as my body adjusted to nursing and milk production. On top of the super painful nipples every time she latched on, my milk came in so crazy fast I was engorged almost immediately and spent a good 2 or 3 days in severe pain that left me crying pretty much every time she nursed. Once at three in the morning I got up and had to put hot washcloths on my chest just to get some relief. I also have an overactive node or gland or something under one of my armpits near where the milk ducts are, something that has been an annoyance pretty much all my post-puberty life, and when my milk came in, this thing swelled up to the size of a chicken egg and stayed rock hard for three days. Misery. Pure misery. I remember at one point saying to Cameron that if this was going to continue, there was no way I’d be able to breastfeed for an entire year.

Since then the engorgement has gone down (thank goodness) but breastfeeding has still been a challenge pretty much every day. Caroline is gaining plenty of weight and in fact is surpassing the doctor’s expectations–at her last appointment she weighed around 7lbs8oz–so that’s good, but pretty much every nursing is a complete crapshoot and could go one of two ways: perfectly fine, or completely terrible. I have occasional oversupply and a near constant overactive letdown, and if you’ve ever experienced that you know how frustrating it can be. One of the lactation nurses at the hospital told me it was “a good problem to have” and I wanted to ask if she was kidding me. I know that it’s probably preferable to having low supply or some other issues, but in no way is it a “good problem to have.” It’s a miserable, horrible problem to have and I think it’s the one thing that’s contributing the most to my baby blues, more so than the colic even.

Here’s a basic rundown of how nursing goes. If it’s a good session, she feeds for 5-7 minutes on one side and that’s all. I offer the second side but usually she is not interested and I end up having to pump. Her doctor says that because she is so efficient at nursing and gaining so much weight that this really isn’t an issue, so I figure I’ll take it. If it’s a bad session, it’ll go something like this: I put Caroline to the breast. She latches on perfectly and nurses calmly till the letdown happens, which I can sense because both my nipples feel like they have binder clips clamped onto them for about 10 seconds. I can also tell it’s happening because it’s at that point that the baby starts choking and gagging and unlatches, then starts to scream. Then let’s not forget the milk that ends up everywhere because I have turned into a garden hose with no valve. The crying and constant latching/unlatching means two things: Caroline is not eating, and she’s swallowing air which is giving her gas and contributing to the colic–and usually it means she ends up spitting up whatever milk she did get in the first place. It’s a horrible cycle and gives me miserable anxiety pretty much every time I have to feed her. I’ve tried just about everything that’s been suggested by the lactation consultants and that I can find online, so no advice please, and in any case nothing that I’ve been trying is working. When we get really desperate we decide to pump and bottle-feed her for a few weeks until she can handle the amount or my body regulates, but usually by a few hours into this plan I end up so miserable that I put her back to the breast again because I can’t stand the bottle (not to mention she doesn’t love it either, so bottle-feeding sessions are usually just as stressful as nursing). It’s just not the same and let’s face it, issues aside nursing is just easier than bottle-feeding especially late at night. I don’t have to keep track of pumping all the time and I don’t have to spend time heating up a bottle, I can just feed her. Or try to, at least.

Still, it’s been hard. Really hard. We usually get in a pattern of having a good few days and then a regression happens and she will go back to having problems again. The problem for me is that my brain sees a cause-and-effect pattern: I feed her, and she immediately cries, which means I’m not doing a good job. I know it’s not rational and I know I have little control over the issue, but it’s not easy to cope with. It also means that she is not eating enough to get a full stomach in one sitting, so she still at nearly 6 weeks old sleeps maybe 3 hours at a time, and most days I end up feeling chained to the couch because she has to eat a little all the time instead of eating a lot occasionally. And naturally this snowballs into a lot of other issues that have been hard to cope with, the baby blues chief among them. I guess I thought by now something would have “clicked” and we would have figured it all out and gotten into a pattern, or something. All the people I know who recently had babies say their little one is giving them 4-6 hours of sleep at night and everything is going fine, but I’m still up with her pretty much all night, sleeping in a different bed from Cameron because it’s too hard for us to both be awake all night long, and I’m getting more and more frustrated and upset every day. It’s exhausting when something you spend so much time of your day doing doesn’t go well. I have days where I want to give up breastfeeding altogether because why spend so much time being miserable, and others when the idea makes me break down because I need that time with my little girl and the idea of doing anything else means I’ve failed (again, not a rational idea, but it occurs to me anyway.)

Anyway, as we approach Caroline’s 6-week birthday all I can hope (and hope and hope and hope) is that maybe we’ll turn a corner soon and breastfeeding will become easier, because at this point I don’t see it lasting nearly as long as I’d hoped because there’s simply no way I can continue like this. And that makes me desperately sad. Still, most everyone we’ve talked to say that the first 6 weeks are the hardest and it does, despite all odds, get better after that. So I have my fingers crossed, because at this point it’s really about all I can do.

I was trying to get a smile…all she would give me was a pout!

My Favorite Things – 1 Month

I thought, since time is already barreling by at the speed of sound, that I would start a series of things I love about every month of Caroline’s life while she is doing so much growing and learning. Might help me to remember them, first off, and it might also help me remember the good times when things get hard.

So, in no particular order, some of my favorite things about Caroline’s first month.

  • When she finishes nursing and rests her head there and falls asleep. I know, given her colic and stomach upset when I don’t get a good burp out of her, that I should sit her up and burp her sooner than later, but sometimes it’s just so peaceful I can’t bring myself to wake her.
  • The cuddles. Ugh, the cuddles. When I hold her and she curls up and turns her face against me. I can’t take it!
  • Little toots. I know, super mature of me, but it cracks me up when she farts.
  • Another super mature one: when I lie back to feed her so that she doesn’t get overwhelmed by the letdown, it puts me in pure hysterics when she lifts her head off, decides she wants more, and practically dives back onto my nipple with this huge wide open mouth. She buries her face in my boob and all I can think of is her going “OM NOM NOM!” Yeah, I’m 25.
  • Discovery faces like these:
(It was about the bird rattle I velcroed to her wrist.)
  • The little coos and noises she makes when she’s in a good mood and just looking around taking things in.
  • Almost-smiles.

  • Attitude. (I’m enjoying this one while she can’t actually talk back.)

  • When she’s in the middle of a crying fit and I put her to my chest and eventually she just gives up and lays her head down on my chest.
  • Wandering hands that brush my tummy while she’s nursing.
  • Pouty lip.

  • When she is up on my shoulder and she holds herself upright and I can see her out the corner of one eye and all I can see is this big baby face, like looking through a fish-eye lens. I don’t know what it is about this that I love so much.
  • Sleeping on mommy’s chest at night and her new favorite, sitting with mommy to watch tv.

  • Oh yeah, and baby sleep.

IMG_20131122_125743

4 Weeks

 

Holy one month, Batman!

Hard for me to even wrap my brain around that one. Every day with Caroline feels like a lifetime. And then it feels like it is flying by at the same time. I suppose that’s how parenthood works.

Caroline is doing pretty good. We think she weighs right around 7 pounds or so now (we don’t have another checkup till 2 months) and she is finally fitting better into some of her clothing! Newborn clothing still fits, but she tends to swim in the 0-3 month clothes. It’s working out nicely though because most times babies get one or two wears out of the small clothes and then they are outgrown, but she is still rocking the majority of her small wardrobe. She usually eats well, though we had a few days of supply/letdown issues and she wouldn’t eat much more than a few sips at a time, then she would get upset and scream and give herself gas and then get more upset because she was hungry and had an upset tummy. So we had to bottle feed her for a day or two just so that she would eat enough to sleep. Luckily she takes the bottle like a champ, which is something I was worried about after reading so many horror stories of babies who refuse bottles. Those issues seem to be mostly resolved now, though sometimes the letdown is still so strong I have to lie back so that she has a little more control.

We still haven’t managed to work out much of a nightly sleeping schedule, and she still won’t go much more than 2 or 3 hours at the most in between feedings. I was hoping it would be a little more than that by now, but then I have to remember that she is still only the size of an average newborn and just doesn’t have the weight to support longer sleeping hours. After about a week of complete insanity at night trying to get her to sleep in the cradle next to our bed that usually led to her sleeping on my chest all night we decided to just put her back in her big crib and suck it up and sleep in her room with her. That seems to be working in the sense that she does seem to like the big crib, and she is even napping in it now instead of in her chair. Another thing I’m glad for and happy we resolved early because I had so wanted to avoid crib transition issues, which seems to be a very common problem. So, most nights we swaddle her up in her baby straight jacket and take it in shifts, since that seems to be the best way for us both to get at least a small chunk of sleep instead of both of us waking up every 2 hours and being miserable all day. Last night we moved our tv into her room so that I could sit up and watch tv during my shift if she was fussy, which makes the time sooo much easier for me if I’m unable to sleep. I have been developing some anxiety about the nighttime hours and I got to a point where I hated to be alone which led to a pretty bad breakdown, but having the television and a distraction (as opposed to just sitting in the dark with the baby while she cries) seems to make a big difference. I’m learning now that everything comes down to finding what works and rolling with it even if it wasn’t part of “the plan.”

Unfortunately Caroline does seem to have some colic issues and becomes extremely uncomfortable and gassy at times. This is not terribly unexpected because I also had extreme colic when I was an infant, to the point that I had to be driven around at all hours of the night and set on top of the washing machine on the spin cycle just to give me (and my parents) some relief. Caroline’s fussiness is not unbearable, and we’re learning techniques to deal with it, but some days the poor girl will become extremely bloated and her belly will get really distended and she will fight and struggle and scream while she tries to pass gas or poop, which makes me feel awful because there’s not much I can do to help her. I don’t think she is having intolerance issues with something I’m eating, because her poop is still a normal color and I have no reason to think she has an allergy or anything like that, nor is there ever any sort of pattern, it’s just that sometimes she seems to get off schedule and she will go an entire day without pooping, then have 4 or 5 huge poops within a few hours like something finally just let loose. We’re pretty sure soon we’re going to take out stock options with gripe water, which is pure freaking magic and does help give her relief nine times out of ten, if for a few hours at least. (And it makes me feel better that it’s all natural and I’m not just medicating her to the gills.) Now that she can hold her head up on her own and turn it both ways we can let her do tummy time or even nap on her belly and that really seems to help the discomfort. All about finding what works.

This weekend Caroline had her first sleepover with her MeMe and Papi without us. We went to my parent’s house for Thanksgiving, and on Friday my parents got us a hotel room down the street so that we could go and have a date night and actually get some sleep. It was great, we went to see The Hunger Games, got takeout and sat in the hotel hot tub and then slept a whole 10 hours in a giant comfy bed. Pretty sure we’re going to attempt this at least once a month because it really helped refresh us and let us get some time together, something that I’d been missing a lot. Somehow, even though we’re basically attached at the hip and spend our entire days together, I have never felt so far away from my husband. And that’s hard, so it was definitely nice to get some baby-free time.

As for me, there are still some challenging days when I struggle to stay positive and not let myself become overwhelmed, but they are starting to become fewer and fewer. I still hate the nights and I worry every time the sun goes down that I won’t be able to handle the crying or the lack of sleep. I also still have some pretty bad anxiety about taking Caroline out of the house and out to the store or a restaurant. Luckily, she LOVES her car seat and loves being in the car, which is a huge blessing because anytime we need to go anywhere, it’s a minimum 45 minute drive. So the car rides are fine, it’s just the being in the store or wherever we are that I tend to get really anxious. Last week we had lunch at Panera and then spent some time in Target grabbing a few Christmas decorations and the only thing I could think about the whole time was what if the baby wakes up and starts crying. I guess I just know that if I’m at home, I know how to take care of her and what to do and where everything is, but being outside of that little bubble still makes me nervous. I know it’ll get better, just like everything else. Soon the nights will be easier and she will sleep longer and we’ll be able to have more of a schedule, which is still something we are lacking.

Despite the challenging days, I’m still amazed every single day at how incredible this little bean is. No matter how much she cries or how frustrated I get, at some point the clouds lift and she gets calm and looks up at me with complete adoration and it’s impossible for me not to just be a million percent in love with her. Sometimes in the mornings I’ll bring her into the bed with me to cuddle for an hour or so and it’s just the most perfect feeling in the world. I love our little family and I love this amazing little person who is becoming more alert each and every day and now will finally get into the time when she recognizes us and maybe will even smile at us soon. I’m so excited for her to start knowing us and interacting with us. I’m so excited to see what kind of little person she becomes!

1 Week

Our little bean is a whole week old! Woah!

It really has been an amazing week watching her start to grow. Already, she isn’t this frail tiny little 5 pound flopper. She is putting on weight and starting to chunk up and every day I can see this amazing change in her. It’s crazy! She’s finally starting to get those chunky little cheeks and her hands and feet aren’t so wrinkly anymore. At her pediatrician appointment on Friday, she weighed a whopping 5 pounds 7 ounces (when she left the hospital Tuesday she weighed 4 pounds 14 ounces) and she took in an ounce of milk while we were showing her latch to the lactation consultant just to make sure we were doing it right. Her jaundice is almost unnoticeable now and the doctor was really impressed. I was worried she wasn’t getting enough milk (since it’s so hard to tell exactly how much is going in) but apparently she is just fine. She nurses like a champ especially since my milk came in on Wednesday/Thursday.

She has really been the most mild-mannered baby. She sleeps about 3 hours at a time at night (Friday night she even slept for 4 hours, I was shocked when I got up and looked at the clock) and snoozes peacefully in her bouncer chair most of the day. We decided that we would only swaddle her at night, so that she associates it with sleep/night time, and so far it seems to be working. When we go to bed at night, I feed her, give her a change, and burrito wrap her and she passes right out. Only once or twice has she given us a fuss to go down, and I think part of that had to do with the fact that I was really stressed and emotional and she was probably feeding off of that energy. When she wakes every 2-3 hours, she never cries, just makes little fussy noises that are usually enough to wake me up. At first she hated getting her diaper changed, but she doesn’t seem to mind it nearly as much now and is very accommodating with getting her clothing changed too.

She isn’t displaying a ton of personality just yet, but a couple quirks are becoming apparent. For example, she usually double poops–one about 5-10 minutes after the first–so we have learned that when we hear her poo, we have to wait a little for the rest of it or else we will have to change her twice. I swear if we do it too soon, she gives us this devious little smile like “oh just wait, Mom.” She loves to wait to pee till she’s on the table too. She is learning how her arms and legs work more and more now too. She loves stretching those looong skinny legs out when she’s in her bouncer. Sometimes we’ll look over and see her feet way up in the air waving around. Last night I was trying to get her calmed down after a feeding and she was practically flailing her body around. It’s a very positive sign to see some more control over those muscles since that was one of her lowest scores on the APGAR.

Oh, and I love love love watching her facial expressions. I know most of them are involuntary at this point but some of them are hysterical. She scrunches up her face like she’s about to start bawling and then just relaxes, but it freaks out people who have never seen her do it before because they’re sure she’s about to have a fit. She seems pretty chill about being in her car seat, she has barely cried in the car even though she’s only been in it for about 10 minutes. This weekend we’re pretty sure we’re going to go down to my parent’s house, which is about an hour drive (now that a highway is open! YAY!) so that will be the real test. She wasn’t super excited about being in her stroller the one time we tried to take her for a walk around the block, but I think she was also pretty hungry and fussy when we went out, and it was really windy, so we’ll try again with that one soon. I brought her outside with me to fill the bird feeders the other day, and she seemed to like the fresh air. I’m excited for her to get big enough that I can put her in the Baby K’Tan and take her outside with me for easy walks without the stroller. (The instructions say they are only rated for babies 8 pounds and up, so I probably have a little while to wait.)

The animals are doing pretty well with the new addition. The dog is nervous around her, and I have a feeling he recognizes that she’s a member of the alpha pack and automatically above him on the totem pole. Hopefully when she starts getting bigger and isn’t always in the chair or crib he will start to come around. The cats were sort of aloof at first, but as you can see from the picture above, it didn’t take Sherlock too long to get comfortable with her. Whiskey is relatively indifferent, but he was the first to do that face rub thing on her, meaning he obviously accepts her even if he doesn’t pay her much attention.

Cam is doing great. He is willing to change diapers (even the really gross ones) and get up with me at night to feed and change her. He was stoked to give her her first bottle yesterday (which she took like a champ) and every day I can see him totally embracing his daddyhood. Today he is going to build a ramp off the front porch so that I don’t have to lift the stroller off the steps by myself once he goes back to work. Mostly he has been a rock for me, since parts of this week have been challenging emotionally, and that is invaluable to me.

On the subject of me, this week has been a pretty wild roller coaster. Physically, I feel great. I’ve dropped almost 25 pounds already (which seems hard to believe) and since I am getting an average of 6-8 hours of sleep a night, cumulatively, I feel pretty put together most of the time. Most of my days are great and I feel upbeat and happy and positive. Most nights, though, I end up in tears at some point. Over the weekend I started feeling like all I had done since coming home from the hospital is sit in my chair and wait for the next feeding time, so Cameron made me go out to breakfast with my mom yesterday so that I could get out of the house a little. I started getting it in my head that our house was this safe little bubble where I knew what to do and I felt comfortable here with the baby, so the idea of taking her out and about with us was freaking me out a little. My parents said we should come down to visit this weekend and I sort of panicked thinking about all the things that could go wrong and how scary it would be to not be inside our house, our little bubble. I have to remind myself that I can’t stay in here forever and I need to try to trust myself and be confident that I have the resources to be able to take care of her when we are out and about. Today we are going to take her out to the library to pick up her complimentary book bag and find out what the storytime schedule is so that I can start going out and meeting other moms which will be especially important once Cameron goes back to work. After the library we are going to go to Starbucks and visit his employees, and then as long as everything goes well we are thinking we will go out to lunch too. It’ll be really helpful for me to get out and interact with other people and escape the bubble for a little and see that it’s not as scary as I have built up in my head. Everything gets a little easier every day but I have to remind myself to take it a day at a time and not panic about the next week or the next month or the next six months. I also need to start doing things around the house when I am just sitting around, which will help me feel more structured and that I am doing something other than sitting here waiting for the next feeding time. I think I’m going to pull out my knitting loom and get back to work on that, maybe make a baby blanket or something like that. I’ve also been cruising Pinterest for craft ideas especially now that Christmas is coming up. If I keep myself moderately busy, my days will not feel quite so “empty.”

In the meantime, it is awful nice just to spend time snuggling this little bean. 🙂

Everybody Gets One

I really wanted to be that pregnant lady who kept a calm head and didn’t panic about some little minor event that happened in pregnancy. I really wanted to be the one who didn’t show up at the hospital in a panic only to be checked and sent home by a sagely nodding OB.

And I guess I didn’t do that–but I did go to the hospital yesterday when I didn’t have an appointment scheduled to get checked out. I guess everybody gets one.

Nothing serious, lest you be worried, I was just having some really quite annoying cramping/slightly stabby sensations in the general area where my uterus normally hangs out for the better part of the afternoon, and given that we’d just had a conversation with our OB about diagnosing pre-term labor early so we have time to get me out of Estes, I decided to play it safe, and I called and went over. My OB did the routine 34-week check (since we were supposed to have that appointment today anyway) and then did a whole bunch of poking and prodding, asking me where the pain was, etc, and then decided to do an internal check. It made me a little nervous (why couldn’t he determine what was going on from the outside??) but probably was for the best in terms of my peace of mind. He did a test that I can’t remember the name of now that started with the term “feta” (but had nothing to do with yummy cheese, damn) but is done to determine if there is any risk for going into labor in the next 2 weeks or so. That came back negative, which is good. He also did a cervical check (which was not particularly pleasant, holy ow) and he said that was fine, no effacement or dilation yet and it is still around an inch and a half long. Also, baby’s head was down and she is presenting vertex! That surprised me because I was sure from the movement/placement I was feeling that she was sideways, but I guess not. So, in the end all was well (he said more than likely it was a mixture of being mildly dehydrated, bad Steph, and the baby’s head was probably sitting on an uncomfortable spot on my bladder.) and I’m glad we called because I probably would have been stupid worried all day if I hadn’t. No harm no foul and Dr K is pretty confident that the baby will not be born early (or at least not in the next 2-3 weeks, which is our window for full term anyway) but he did say that if she is, more than likely everything will be fine and we shouldn’t worry much. (Unless she is born before November 6, in which case we have to face my mother’s wrath for making her a grandmother before she turns 50.)

More than anything I appreciated that Dr K took the time out of his day to sit down and listen to my concerns. That really goes a LONG way with me. Normally when we have these appointments he rattles off a list of any warning signs and goes through it all at a normal pace, but yesterday he came in, immediately sat down next to me and went through each issue individually until he was sure that I (and Cameron) were comfortable and worry-free. He didn’t seem annoyed or exasperated with us for pulling that typical first-pregnancy move of jumping the gun and coming in for a little cramp. He was even the one to call an hour later to let us know the not-Greek-cheese test was negative, which he could have just passed off to a nurse to do but didn’t. So that helps a lot in the long run because I honestly feel like this doctor has our best interests at heart and will continue to do so until we are there for labor and bringing Caroline earthside.

Speaking of which, 6 more weeks till the due date whaaaaaat? We finally get our childbirth classes this weekend, yippee! I’m still a little sad that we have to do them marathon-style and probably won’t get a breastfeeding/infant care class, but I guess the labor and birth parts are the most important, and it’s all better than nothing. Plus we (well, I, Cameron already knows her) will finally get to meet the other gal whose due date is only 2 weeks away from us, who I am hoping will be the start of my new mommy network. And, assuming the delivery truck arrives as scheduled today, the final pieces of the nursery should be delivered and I can FINALLY be ready in that room.

And before I go, here’s a picture of my corgi. Because why not.

Personal space is not his forte.

Just Sayin’.

Or, The post in which I use .gifs to express myself.

So I know I’m still roughly 3 months away from becoming a real, bona fide, actual parent, but I’ve already decided to stay out of the whole “mommy wars” thing. In general I don’t think it’s helpful or constructive and generally leads to a lot of stress because people get so out of control. So I’ve decided not to ask for advice or make my opinions known online, since it usually devolves into nothing more than mud-flinging. That being said, I have to comment on something that I think all parents should have generally the same opinion on, though I know I’m probably opening up a can of worms in doing so.

It’s about breastfeeding. Ruh roh. Everybody stay calm.

sherlock breatheMore importantly, it’s about the people who think that breastfeeding in public is shameful, disgusting, immodest, wrong, or generally anything other than overall awesomeness.

sherlock eyerollThe reason I got to thinking about this is because last night I was, against my better judgement, lying in bed watching the VMAs on MTV. I don’t normally do this, because I think the music industry these days tends to be a bunch of sparkly poo and I don’t watch music videos anyway, but there was an NSYNC reunion. And it ended up only being for 110 seconds, but IT WAS AWESOME.

(And this is the place I would put a .gif of NSYNC performing….IF I COULD FIND ONE)

Anyway. The show opened up with a performance by Lady Gaga, which is awesome because she’s been really quiet recently and I’m happy to see her doing things again. I mean, she did look like the bread cat at first, but, it is Lady Gaga after all.

gagabreadcat breadcatThe performance ended with her stripping down to a seashell bra and a thong bikini. And you know what, I’m okay with that. I really don’t have a problem if you feel comfortable enough with your body that you feel like you can perform in front of millions of people with basically a naked bum. Rock on with your bad self.

What happened shortly thereafter, though, was a little more upsetting and made me throw up in my mouth a little. What I’m referencing is Miley Cyrus’s performance with Robin Thicke. She, too, went the ultra-skimpy bathing suit route, (in what looked like latex) but at one point in the performance she got down on all fours and grinded her behind on Robin Thicke’s genital region.

sherlock gdjskfdjkIt’s at this point that you’re probably wondering what on earth the VMAs and Miley Cyrus’s twerking and Lady Gaga’s butt could possibly have in common with breastfeeding. Nothing, directly. It’s more about perception and the things that we, as a society, are okay with.

See, this is the problem that I have with all of this. We (speaking on a highly generalized zeitgeist level) are totally, 100% okay with watching women parade around on stage and do a hip-gyrating, boob-shaking routine wearing little more than pasties and a thong. I’m okay with that too, usually–I mean, I think there should be a point at which we draw some kind of line, but I think if female performers want to wear that sort of stuff and dance like that, okay. I’m not a prude, and I’m not offended by that and neither, it seems, are a lot of people out there. It’s sort of the “norm” isn’t it? So, point #1, we’re okay with women dancing around nearly naked and swinging their boobs around to the beat. Gotcha.

But we’re not okay with a mother sitting in a restaurant or in a public park trying to quietly, modestly, privately breastfeed her child.

sherlock internal screamingI know I’m not the only person to see the giant, glaring, ugly double standard here, right? RIGHT? The whole concept basically makes me wish my head would explode so I don’t have to listen to it anymore because IT’S JUST THAT FUCKING RIDICULOUS.

Oh, sorry, I should have warned you that there is language in this post. If you haven’t guessed yet by reading my blog, I really couldn’t give 2 sparkly unicorn shits about censorship. (But it would be awesome if I could…)

Here’s the deal. The recurring theme I see online coming from people who are against breastfeeding in public say that it’s disgusting because…wait for it….children might see.

john are you seriousYes John, I am serious. Let that one sink in for a moment.

hahanojohnYeah, sorry, but I’m calling bullshit on that one. Because guess what. There’s quite a few things I worry about my children potentially seeing on TV or out in public. Gratuitous violence, drug use, really explicit Game of Thrones sex, (good for Mama, not good for kiddos) Miley Cyrus twerking in a latex bodysuit, etc etc. You know what I’m absolutely NOT worried about my children seeing in public? Breastfeeding. I mean, let’s get real here, if a woman is breastfeeding in public, what are we actually seeing? Not much. Maybe the top of the boob. Maybe, shocker of all shockers, a flash of nipple for a second. Hey, Janet Jackson got away with it and we didn’t seem to mind all that much. (Ooh, am I dating myself with that one?) You see a whole lot more of the whole boob/cleavage area just by walking through the mall.

Here’s another thing. There is nothing sexual about breastfeeding. Nothing. And if you think there is, you probably need to seek professional help because you might have a weird fetish. Lots of cleavage at Hooter’s is super sexual, though. There’s only one reason to dress like that other than to attract attention to one’s self (and probably get better tips–hey, I used to be a bartender, I know how it works.) Now let me cover all my bases here and say that I don’t have a problem if you want to show a little cleavage. Or a lot. It’s your body, you do what you like with it, and if you feel like that’s something you should be doing, fine. I think tasteful cleavage is pretty. Generally, I am totally chill with boobs. Boobs boobs boobs.

But here’s where the line gets squidgy. If we, as a society, are going to be okay with lots of cleavage and bikini thongs on national television and what some people see as an exploitation of the female body, we have got to stop pretending that we are offended by a woman feeding her baby in public. Have to. Because that is one of the worst double standards out there that I can think of. There are already enough double standards about women, let’s at least try to cut at least one out. Because we can’t say that we’re okay with super-sexualization on TV and not be okay with a little top boob poking out over a baby’s head in the park once in a while. For god’s sake, what if a woman was wearing a thong bikini and pasties in the park feeding her baby with a bottle? We’d be totally okay with that, wouldn’t we? So what’s the difference? Because I have yet to figure one out.

About the only thing that I can think of as far as the “children might see” logic is that in fact, we are placing our own insecurities about the female body onto our children. By saying “I don’t want my children to see that” we are really saying two things: 1) “I don’t want to see that” and “I don’t want to be bothered to explain to my children what’s going on when they ask what that woman is doing.” What’s wrong with telling our children the truth about breastfeeding? It goes something like this: Baby is hungry. Mom has food. Mom is feeding baby. Sounds simple enough to me. And if we’re going to be uncomfortable with that notion it means we’re really uncomfortable with ourselves and it’s just being projected onto mom and breastfeeding baby. And you know what? I am way more uncomfortable explaining to my child what Miley Cyrus is doing when she’s simulating sex on tv than explaining that that mom is feeding her little one just like I used to do when they were tiny.

And one more thing: let’s stop forcing women to cover up while they’re breastfeeding. If you personally want to do that for your own comfort or modesty, rock on. Go for it. Nursing covers can be super cute! But we can’t tell a woman she has to cover up, and I don’t give a rat’s tail if you’re on a plane or at a play or in a movie theater or in a restaurant or on the beach. How would you like to get inside a dark stuffy sleeping bag and eat your dinner? Or sit in the bathroom and chow down? Sounds pretty shitty to me (pun intended). So let’s quit asking our mothers to feed their babies in awkward places and positions if they don’t want to. Especially if we’re going to practically expect our female celebrities to show up on the red carpet nearly naked.

Basically, my point is this: Boobs are made for feeding babies. And that’s awesome. Boobs are also pretty and lots of people like them. That is also awesome. So it’s also okay if women want to show them off and dance around in any state of dress/undress that they want. But we can’t be okay with one of them and not okay with the other. It just does not work like that.

Just sayin’.