Tag Archives: breastfeeding

Paying for Childcare

This article at Kindred Community raises a question I’ve wanted to know the answer to since forever (emphasis mine):

Our society needs to recognise the far-reaching developmental importance of breastfeeding and close, responsive mother-infant relationships in the early years, along with the close involvement of fathers, and aim to create social settings that facilitate and support them. If we are going to pay for quality infant care, why not support mothers to do it? Infancy cannot be re-run later.

Why would the government be willing to pay strangers to watch a baby but not the mother? It has always struck me as a punishment for poor people who dared to reproduce when they “couldn’t afford it.”

The underlying attitude of the family-values-right-wing policy makers has always sounded to me like: “Stupid poor people, having offspring in accordance with their animal urges. They’re just lazy and trying to get out of work! We’ll show them. You get a couple weeks off and that’s it! Back to the factory! Pop out another one and see what happens!”

I’ve always been violently disturbed by the fact that we in our supposedly civilized society allow conditions under which people “cannot afford” children. I believe that children are the only true wealth, insurance policy and retirement plan.

I’m not saying people should have to have children. I believe it should be entirely optional. If a person would rather completely dedicate themselves to a career, hoard money, invest in an IRA account, buy property and make investments, that’s one way to shore up resources for the future.

But when you’re old and you slip on one of your wads of cash and fall and break your hip in the middle of your castle, who’s going to come wipe your wrinkly butt and spoonfeed your shriveled mouth? Oh right, you’re going to hire a stranger to do that. That’s much more pleasant that having someone you love, who actually cares about you, treating you tenderly.

Or NOT.

And shouldn’t a baby have the same courtesy, of having the person they love and need more than anyone else in the world be the person who wipes their cheruby bum and nurses them lovingly at the breast?

But if you can’t afford such an idyllic life, then forget it. Park the kid at the licensed facility and punch that time card, or you’ll be under a bridge faster than you can say, “Subsidized childcare.”

 

Can’t Let it Go…

I woke up to find the same story of the breastfeeding mother being harassed, this time in another local po-dunk paper. Here’s part of it:

Allison Stanard never intended for a dinner out to turn into a battle over the right to breast-feed in public.

The Hickory woman met a friend at a Lincolnton restaurant last weekend. Both of the women had their three children with them. Stanard’s youngest just 5 weeks old.

Stanard and her girlfriend were regular customers of Mooosse’s Pizza, a restaurant that opened more than two years ago and recently relocated to a larger location alongside North Generals Boulevard.

The women and their children were sitting in the restaurant when Stanard’s baby got fussy. Stanard began breast-feeding her infant as she’s done with her other children in the past.

According to Mooosse’s general manager Larry Turner, that didn’t sit well with other customers in the restaurant.

People at three tables complained, which prompted Turner to go over and speak to Stanard, he said.

According to Stanard, customers at other tables had children who were gawking at the sight of an exposed breast.

“If she was the only table in the dining room, I wouldn’t have said a word,” he said. “I didn’t get mad about it. I just said, ‘Ma’am, I need you to cover up.’”

But Stanard said the incident wasn’t so cut and dry.

She said that Turner rudely asked her to cover up or go to the bathroom to breast-feed — both requests that infringe on her rights.

“A woman may breast-feed in any public or private location where she is otherwise authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother’s breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breast-feeding,” the North Carolina general statute states.

When Stanard and her friend pulled the statute up on a smart phone and attempted to show it to Turner, she said the restaurant manager was uninterested.

Turner said Stanard and her friend were the ones who raised their voices and made a scene.

Stanard said Turner raised his voice first and made a bad situation worse.

“Everyone started staring at us at that point,” she said. “I was just kind of like in shock.”

The women quickly paid their bill and left the restaurant, vowing never to return.

Apparently what it comes down to is, if a customer feels uncomfortable, it’s okay to violate the law to make them comfortable. So, if the customer is a flaming racist, you can ask a black person to leave? How far can you take this? How much of an ignoramus are you allowed to be?
I love how the Mama is accused of raising her voice and making a scene. I think punching the manager in the face would be getting a little carried away, but I think foot stomping, hollering, arm waving, and maybe a couple of times pulling one’s shirt to one’s chin to show him what flashing ACTUALLY looks like, because he obviously hasn’t seen it before, all that would be appropriate. And she did none of that. So I think she showed remarkable, heroic restraint.
Yet another thing she should be applauded for.
Here’s the link, if you wanna read the whole thing: Breast-feeding mom riles restaurant manager
Like the headline?
It makes me sick.
How about “Restaurant manager sets public health back 100 years.”
Because that’s what you do when you “protect” children from seeing breastfeeding.
Idiot.
Plus what he did violated her rights. Broke the law. How about “Restaurant manager flagrantly breaks law, humiliates mother feeding her infant.”
And if one more person uses the word “discreet” I swear I’m going to lose it completely.

Night Nursing = Cavities?

Baby Girl has two cavities. Of all my five kids, only one other kid has ever had a cavity (knock wood!) and she got it when she was about 6 years old. And this is counting a 19 year old, a 15 year old, a 9 year old, a 4 year old and Baby Girl at 2 and a half years old. So, that’s a lot of years of potential cavities.

When I was about 4 months pregnant with Baby Girl I broke my wrist. I’d also been breastfeeding Hank, who was almost 2 at the time, so I was wondering if maybe Baby Girl didn’t get a whole lot of calcium with that kind of situation.

And like a moron, I asked the dentist his opinion. Nice guy. Friendly, young, approachable, listens intently.

“Oh no,” he assured me. “That wouldn’t have anything to do with it.”

Then he raised an eyebrow. “Did you breastfeed?” After I confirmed this and added, “Still am,” he nodded knowingly.

“It’s those night nursings. I see it all the time in breastfed kids. Very common.”

“Didn’t happen with the other four,” I pointed out.

“They got lucky,” he said.

So, if night nursing causing cavities was a COMMON thing, then wouldn’t FOUR of them have suffered from it, and just the ONE have gotten lucky???

Sounds to me like the others experienced a normal eating/tooth health situation, and poor baby girl got unlucky.

But what the hell do I know.

Multi-layered Joy of Breastfeeding

 

Gwen asleep/nursing in her boobie beanie

In the Jan. 19, 2009 issue of The New Yorker, there is an article entitled, “Baby Food” written by Jill Lepore. I got to this quote and it just about made me cry:

“When the babe, soon after it is born into this cold world, is applied to its mother’s bosom; its sense of perceiving warmth is first agreeably affected; next its sense of smell is delighted with the odour of her milk; then its taste is gratified by the flavour of it; afterwards the appetites of hunger and of thirst afford pleasure by the possession of their objects, and by the subsequent digestion of the aliment; and, lastly, the sense of touch is delighted by the softness and smoothness of the milky fountain, the source of such variety and happiness.”

No offense, I swear I’m not a genderist, but I can’t believe it was written by a man; in 1794, Erasmus Darwin (Charles’ grandpappy) included this passage in his “Zoonomia; or The Laws of Organic Life.” I feel like it so beautifully expresses the whole, multi-layered experience. I realize it is written from the perspective of the child, and I wasn’t ever breastfed, and most of us wouldn’t remember it if we were, but it reflects so well the feeling of total satisfaction and well-being that pervades every aspect of existence when a child nurses. Even though as a mother nursing, we don’t directly experience these exact sensations of satisfaction, I think we know and can feel that they’re there, and it’s contagious.

Just thought I’d share.

Breastfeeding as a Right, not a Choice

Upon reading this article: 1 in 8 low-income parents waters down formula my first reaction is, of course, how horrible for those children.

But my strongest reaction was to this statement:

While some might point to breast feeding as a solution, not every mom is in the position to do this for her child. In some jobs it’s virtually impossible to express milk during the day when a mom is away from her baby.

This statement, so casually tossed out in a conversation about malnourished Americans, reveals that as soon as we dub breastfeeding as a “choice,” then we allow the possibility that, gosh, some people are just not fortunate enough to have that “choice.” Too bad!

But we are scared to death to declare that babies actually NEED breastmilk. We don’t want to take away the illusion that formula is “almost just as good” because we, as a country built on freedom, want the freedom to not be tied down by the hungry little brat.

Or is it that we don’t want to have to give maternity leave, secure a woman’s job if she takes time out to raise the next generation, take away a jillion dollars from formula companies, or lose all our cheap labor that is forced to leave their children in daycare because they are economically trapped?

For some reason, we love supporting a woman’s right to choose formula.

And if I hear one more time how we are making women feel bad who genuinely can’t breastfeed, I’m gonna puke. The incidence of being physically incapable of nursing a child is so rare, and I’m sure those women know in their hearts that they are doing the best they can. I wish women would stop saying “I just can’t” when the truth is they have no support, or they can’t afford to stay home and their job is unsupportive, or they just don’t feel like it, or whatever the real reason is. We must stop accepting the statement “I can’t” as though it were physically impossible and beyond help, when almost always it is a circumstantial problem that COULD be changed by SOMEONE. And that someone is all of us. Once we begin to identify the real reasons that a woman doesn’t breastfeed, then sympathy for that tiny minority who really can’t will be genuinely available.

And adoptive parents? Don’t they already feel awesome enough knowing that they’ve opened their homes, hearts and arms to “someone else’s” child? Is there anyone on the planet who would say, golly, you’re feeding your adopted child formula, that’s a bad choice? The argument that a pro-breastfeeding, anti-formula attitude would even touch these wonderfully generous families is downright silly.

And women who “just don’t feel like it” or “think it’s yucky” or whatever other weak excuse they come up with? Why should I care that they feel bad that they are choosing to feed their children an inadequate food? How is that my problem? Why should I soften the reality of the situation to make them feel less horrible?

I believe that babies have the right to adequate food and shelter. Breastmilk is adequate; it is the natural standard.  The myriad miracle components are what a baby is supposed to have, assuming there is no emergency, extenuating circumstance. Formula is sub-standard; it provides inadequate nutrition, inadequate protection from disease, it is just all around not as good and less than. If there are occasions where formula is actually, genuinely needed, it is obviously better than starving, and no one is going to judge a parent doing the best they can under the circumstances. Just like if a child for some reason needs a prosthetic limb or constant medication for a chronic condition or whatever, no one’s going to say, “Well, the prosthetic limb isn’t as good as a real limb, so you’re a bad parent.” That would just be stupidly cruel.

If we saw breastfeeding as the natural birthright of every child, then, as long as circumstances physically allowed it, mother and baby would be provided with what they needed to have a healthy breastfeeding relationship. There would be no “I can’t” for anything other than an extremely rare medical condition or not being the biological mother. Every mother would be able to afford to breastfeed, would be supported in pumping if that was what needed to happen, would have the information and emotional support, and whatever else was necessary in her particular situation.

Of course, in the United States of America, people go without food or adequate housing or health care, etc. every single day. So I’m just speaking hypothetically. We as a country don’t give a crap about each other when it comes to the very basic necessities of life, much less for something as luxurious and alternative as breastmilk.