My Kids Eating Lunch Under a Blanket in Honor of National Breastfeeding Month

godlessnurse:

It just doesn’t get any better than this. Nurse on, mamas. And get rid of that ridiculous cover.

Originally posted on OneGoodDad:

Kids eating

In honor of National Breastfeeding month, I made my kids eat their lunch under a blanket just like the old days of when they were infants. It turns out it isn’t the ideal way to eat. Who knew?

Other posts on breastfeeding that you might enjoy:

A Dad’s Thoughts During National Breastfeeding Month

Reaction to the Time’s Breastfeeding Cover

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Mammary Musings

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In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I felt it was time to express my thoughts surrounding the whole booby topic. I have had this post in my brain for some time, but I have finally decided to sit down and at least start the conversation. Well, that, and my daughter is enjoying a nice afternoon snooze, so I have some hands-free time as well.

Breastfeeding seems to always be a hot topic and one with no lack of debate. The only thing that has the potential to pit mommy against mommy like this is circumcision and sleep training. I guess I fall into the camp of ‘passionate breastfeeder’. Am I a Breastfeeding Nazi? Only when it comes to MY daughter. I honestly don’t give a shit how you choose to feed your child. But, I simply refuse to believe that my boobs deserve any less of a location to feed my baby than a mom who uses a bottle.

They are boobs. They are feeding a baby. As I have said countless times: If you don’t like it, don’t fucking look. (Okay, I don’t always sprinkle the word ‘fuck’ in that phrase). Why is that so difficult? Is it so scandalous to see a mom breastfeeding that you simply cannot look away? I just can’t believe that. Here, let me help guide you: 1. See a mom taking her breast out to feed her baby in ANY public place. 2. Feel uncomfortable at her ‘nakedness’ 3. TURN YOUR FUCKING HEAD. See how easy that was?

Three easy steps at joining the crusade to normalize breastfeeding.

World Breastfeeding Week was initiated in 2011. It’s one week, people. Yeah, your Facebook newsfeed will likely be clogged with photos of lactating boobs, engorged mams, milk drunk babies, and all sorts of nursing-related items. Your Twitter feed will include the same.

So?

It’s one week. Seven days. Surely you can survive the onslaught of boobs for seven days.

Breastfeeding is hard fucking work. It is a job unto itself. For anyone to continue to breastfeed in the face of ridicule surrounding the very method upon which they feed their child, they deserve a week of praise. A week of kudos. A week of pats on the back. Hell, they likely deserve more, but a week is a great place to start. In a way it is a shame that we have to highlight something that our breasts were meant to do in the first place.

Breastfeeding is beautiful. It is a bond like no other. I will take any opportunity to promote the bond that I feel has brought my daughter and I closer together than any other single thing we could do as a team. No, we all don’t look like Gwen Stefani, or Olivia Wilde, or Giselle when we breastfeed, but it is still beautiful. And so are we.

Breastfeeding is simple. Simple in that it is about feeding a baby. When I’m out in public and my daughter is hungry, I am not thinking about giving people a peep show. I am thinking that the sooner I stick my nip in her mouth, the sooner I circumvent a fussy baby. I would think that most people would rather sit next to a nursing, QUIET baby than a screaming one. No?

Breastfeeding is about support. If you have ever shamed a woman for breastfeeding, shame on YOU. If you have ever told a breastfeeding woman to cover up, fuck you. If you have ever whispered about a breastfeeding woman exposing her breasts, here’s your sign. If there is one thing I cannot tolerate, it is a lack of support from friends, family, and strangers. People have no idea how crucial they are in the early days of breastfeeding at providing needed support for that mother. We need to hear that we are doing a great job. We need to know that you support our efforts. We don’t need to hear that you are embarrassed at being with us when we choose to breastfeed in Target. Or at the park. Or on the bus. Or in a restaurant.

As the adage goes: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I’ll take silence over ridicule any day.

So, this week, and every week, I ask you to smile at that breastfeeding mom you see out in public. Better yet, if you happen to be at Starbucks, buy her a coffee.

Yes, I’ll be the one with my daughter on my breast.

At Starbucks.

214 Days

That’s how long I have been away from work. But it all changes one week from today.

I am nonplussed to say the least. It’s not to say that I don’t love being a nurse, but when I’ve been away from work as long as I have, it becomes somehow difficult to go back to ‘that life’. It seems somehow foreign now. I suppose I will pick up where I left off, wearing my manager’s hat, but my heart will be back at home. Fortunately, I am only returning to TWO night shifts per week, Saturday and Sunday, 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. and nothing more. This fantastic schedule allows us to dispense with the cursory daycare that most working parents have to deal with, and in turn saves us upwards of $2,200 per month.

Yes. That’s right, folks. $2,200 per month. That is not a typo.

In any event, I shouldn’t complain, and I won’t complain. But, I will pout. Just a little bit. I’m easing back into the workforce, and I’m hoping that it goes smoothly. I couldn’t ask for a better person to be with Julia in my absence, and I know James will roll with it and relish the times he gets to spend with Julia one-on-one. As dark and depressing as those early days of Julia’s life were for me, I cannot imagine life without her, and I remember this familiar comfort as my baby gets older each day, becoming more interactive, revealing more personality. These days remind me of when my son was her age. Everything is new, and every day is filled with the possibility of new skills and new discoveries. I am honored, humbled, fortunate, lucky, and happy that I have been with both of my children during these early days.

Two 12-hour shifts per week.

Easy breezy.

I can so fucking do this.

No drama. No muss. No fuss. No bitching. No complaints. I realize how lucky I am to be in this enviable position. I will only work two nights per week, yet maintain the same pay and benefits as before.

Shit, I better end this whiny post now.

One week from today I will add ‘working mother’ to my list of accomplishments.

Living The Dream

It’s been a while since I have posted. I always have these grand ideals, fantastic blog post ideas, and then one thing leads to another, and weeks and weeks pass with no entry.

Life is good. Really good.

I have been enjoying every single day at home with my little gal, and I am once again feeling like my old self. I bid my Zoloft a fond farewell over a month ago, and I haven’t looked back once. Honestly, once I stopped taking it, I didn’t feel any different than I did before. Whatever. It was either effective, or it had one helluva placebo effect.

I am typing this as I finish my lunch with Julia swinging contentedly in her swing, surrounded by her best and most-beloved buddies in her arms. I can’t stop looking at her.

I look at her near constantly.

I know all mothers think their babies are beautiful. I think we moms are hardwired to only have eyes for our offspring, but honestly?

She really is beautiful.

I have watched her transform from a small newborn, doing nothing more than cry, poop, pee, and sleep, to an interactive, fun, hilarious infant. Julia is a good-natured baby to say the least. She rolls with it. She goes with the flow.

Breastfeeding has been an amazingly transformative experience for me. I will save those thoughts for another post. Suffice it to say that I now completely understand why some women choose extended breastfeeding. The bond is indescribable.

My husband is still fucking amazing. He continually surprises me with just how much he shows affection and adoration for our daughter. I sometimes catch them having their own private conversations after she has awakened from a nap or first thing in the morning upon rising for the day. The only thing that tops the way he looks at her is the way she looks at him.

In the past few months I have overcome my almost irrational fear of going out with Julia to going out somewhere every single day, even if it’s only to fuel my ongoing love affair with Starbucks iced coffee. Julia just smiles and goes along for the ride.

Things are very different this time around. I no longer obsess about a nap schedule or even whether or not Julia gets a nap. I don’t care if she happens to break a long-standing sleep-through-the-night streak with a freak 2am awakening. Who cares? I don’t. It’s probably due to the fact that even if every single day looks different, there is one thing that remains the same:

She just smiles and squeals.

That’s not to say that Julia doesn’t have her moments, but those moments have become far and few between. Julia has transformed into one of those babies who cry when they NEED something: a dry diaper, a nap, a change of scenery, or a boob to pacify and feed her.

I am savoring this.

And I am savoring certain moments like last night…..

I woke up around 1am for my requisite pumping session, only to be greeting with a few squeals, squawks, and light cries around 45 mins later. Ultimate irony. I had pumped 10 ounces and was ready to head back to bed.

Nope.

James did his best to get the little night owl back to sleep, but it was one of those nights when only mommy’s boob will do.

I brought her into bed with us, pulled her close and offered her my breast. Julia settled immediately. Her breathing became regular and deep. Her arm draped lazily across my breast as always. I reached down and she clasped my hand with her free hand. Tears immediately welled in the corners of my eyes.

The boob isn’t always about food. It’s about our closeness. It’s about our scent. It’s about our touch. It’s about our bond. And, unfortunately for daddy, it’s a bond that not even he can share.

In that moment in the stillness of the night, it was just me and Julia. The rest of the world melted away. As we lay there dozing together, I realized that this moment would be one that I would share with my daughter in the years to come, and I hope she cherishes it as much as I did.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a napping baby I need to admire.

Things My Mama Taught Me

I just bid my mama farewell after a 10-day visit, and it reminded me of all the things she has taught me….

 

-Sit up straight. There’s nothing more slovenly-looking than someone slouching. It doesn’t cost a dime, and it will most likely make you feel better.

-Don’t shuffle your feet. You sound lazy and look even worse.

-You can’t unring a bell. Think long and hard before you say something you might regret. You can’t take it back.

-Write thank-you notes.

-Ladies, take the time to look your best.

-If you’re on time, you’re late. Be early.

-When you remove an album from its sleeve, hold it by the edges.

-Tell the people you love how you feel. Every day.

I love you, mom.

Naked Hypocrisy

So, let me get this straight.

Rhianna can walk the red carpet in a see-through gown, but my breastfeeding photo may be reported as ‘offensive’ and possibly violate Facebook’s nudity policy?

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Gimme a break.

Society needs to get their collective heads out of their asses and stop this ridiculous double standard.

Until that happens, I’ll be the one flopping out my extremely large, milk-filled breast to provide my daughter a meal. If you choose to look, that’s perfectly fine. I will probably smile and say hello.

I’m certainly not embarrassed that I’m the primary and solitary source of nourishment and comfort for my daughter, but you should be for thinking anything less.

I Can See Somewhat Clearly Now

I sit here and type this latest entry while my husband takes the baby for a long, much-needed stroll. My arms ached from holding Julia and rocking, fighting with an almost 11-pound mighty, crying, and feisty opponent. The sweat dripped down my back as I walked back and forth in our small apartment waiting for the telltale weight and even breathing of a sleeping baby.

I finally waved the white flag.

Uncle.

Mama needed a break. And she wasn’t ashamed to admit it.

I would love to say that a lot has changed with our darling daughter since my last blog entry, but alas that would be a lie. Julia is still quite fussy most of the day, and I just keep telling myself that this too shall pass in good time. I wish I could pinpoint the exact date so I could circle it on the calendar and then proceed to draw big black x’s on the days leading up to this milestone.

But, I cannot.

One thing is for certain: I love Zoloft and I love the departure of my pregnancy hormones. I can definitely FEEL a difference in my demeanor, my attitude, my outlook, and my interaction with my daughter. Yesterday was my first solo day with Julia while daddy went to work. I would say it went rather well, although Julia was indeed a challenge. She fought no fewer than four naps, the longest lasting a grand total of 50 minutes. I got more blissful silence as I held her in my arms in the rocking chair, as she dozed on my shoulder. Fuck it. I don’t care. She was quiet, and at this point in the game, that’s all that really matters, right?

I have to be honest.

I’m jealous.

I’m insanely jealous of those moms who enjoy ‘easy’ babies. You know the ones. Those babies that are happy to be in any number of extravagant contraptions such as swings or bouncy seats who look up at you with absolute adoration, all the while smiling and cooing and just basically chilling the fuck out. You know, those mythical babies who only ‘cry when something is wrong’ and then they are blissfully silent once again.

Do they really exist?

If so, it’s probably best not to tell me right now. Nah, that’s okay. I know they exist in small numbers.

I guess I figured I paid my colicky, fussy dues with Julia’s big brother, but nope. I have also entertained the idea that perhaps I genetically don’t make babies who aren’t high-strung and high-needs and high-energy. It may just be my lot in life.

Sorry, James. I should have mentioned that back when I saw those two lines on the pregnancy test.

Perhaps the biggest ‘downer’ is that with such a fussy baby, I feel a tad bit isolated here at home. I’m not that mother who can just throw caution to the wind, say ‘fuck it’, and take her fussy baby out and about, only to subject everyone else to her fits of crying. No way. Why? Because, I don’t know about you, but that’s the furthest thing from enjoyable that I can imagine. I long for those days where I can casually stroll around a marketplace, an outdoor mall, visit friends, take in activities with a calm, interactive baby.

But those days aren’t today. And they aren’t likely to start tomorrow.

So, until then, I wait here at home. Thankfully, the sun shines most days, and the days pass one by one. Please tell me I’m not alone here. There ARE other fussy babies, RIGHT?? Even if you’re lying, leave me a comment and tell me you had one.

I’m thinking I should start a business. A safe place for other moms to bring their crying babies and nobody is allowed to pass judgment. Moms can feel comfortable with their high-needs, fussy babies in this place, and of course, we will ALL have the finest earplugs made today.

Who knows? This could be a niche market that no one else has thought of quite yet. I could be rich. Or crazy. Or both.

In any event, our feisty gal is five weeks old today, and I only have a few things I wish for: longer stretches of sleep (what new parent doesn’t want this?), more calm, mellow moments of interaction so I can truly GET TO KNOW her, and yes, I wish this gal would figure out the simple mechanics of sucking on a pacifier. We have purchased no fewer than five different brands and 20 different models. Do your parents a huge favor, Julia. Suck it.

And then in between the crying jags and countless hours spent bouncing around singing nonsensical songs to calm the baby beast, Julia does this:

See? I CAN SMILE!

See? I CAN SMILE!

And this is quite possibly what saves her.

And us.