December 1, 2008

I would be NAK, but I type faster with two hands.

Posted in Baby Talk, Things That Tick Me Off tagged , , , at 4:32 pm by junecleaverwouldbeshocked

Something recently happened on my favorite mommy forum that really burned my bottom. A good friend posted a link to the horrifying revelations about melamine in infant formula that is now surfacing in the U.S. Missed that story? Here’s a recap: babies in China have been dying because of melamine in formula. Our FDA slammed those formula manufacturers, mandating that there is no safe level of melamine for human consumption. Weeks later – surprise! There’s melamine in U.S. formula too. “Trace amounts”, but that’s still melamine. (There are “trace amounts” of mercury left in vaccines too, and look at all the damage that it’s still capable of.) The FDA quickly changed their tune, stating now that this amount of melamine is safe. And then – wonder of wonders – it’s revealed that the FDA is simply covering their giant lying arses, as they’ve known about the melamine for some time now, but preferred to go to the formula manufacturers with the news rather than alerting the poor, unsuspecting formula-feeding public that they’re happily shoving poison down their babies’ throats.

So, this was the news story that was posted. Just a link – not the full detail as I’ve shared it here, although I did (somewhat more nicely) share more of the details myself. Needless to say, this horribly offended at least one formula-feeding mommy, who promply reported the post and had it closed. God forbid actual facts be shared that stomp on her decision to use formula. Other mommies certainly don’t deserve to know. She (whoever she is) should never, ever be reminded that there is anything wrong with her decision to use formula.

I’ll admit, I am a lactivist in the truest sense of the word. I breastfed my first daughter until past her second birthday. She was supplemented with formula when she was less than a month old, when I had to have surgery, and I will never forget the pain of lying in that hospital bed watching my mom and husband shoving that bottle of nasty pseudo-milk into my poor, defenseless baby’s face. That hurt so much more than the pain from the gallstones. Thank goodness she was only too happy to be done with the bottle and have her mommy back when all was said and done. Boogie has never, ever tasted formula and, one week shy of her first birthday, I dare say now that she never will. I breastfeed because it’s what’s best for my children – best for all children – and yes, it offends me that people choose not to breastfeed for selfish reasons. Some women can’t, just can’t, and I respect that (and feel sorry for them, and in some cases, wonder if they did everything that they could…) It’s the ones who just plain don’t want to breastfeed, don’t want the commitment, don’t want to be tied to their baby, want freedom from their baby, are worried about sagging boobs, etc. – that I have a very hard time finding ample respect for. Motherhood is nothing but one big commitment, and a commitment to always do the absolute best that you can for your baby at that.

Is breastmilk really better? You bet your bippy it is. Want to know why?

  • It is nature’s perfect food for a baby (this is why it forms in your breasts during pregnancy and comes in just after your baby is born. It ain’t coincidence, people.) It contains *exactly* what your baby needs in terms of fat, sugar, water and protein, and changes to meet baby’s nutritional needs as your baby grows. Can formula do that? I think not.
  • Breastmilk is much easier for a baby to digest than formula. A baby’s digestive system isn’t fully formed – thus the sometimes alarming amount of spit-up. Just compare the consistencies of formula to breastmilk – formula is thick, almost like gravy, whereas breastmilk is thin and watery. Even adults reach for thinner liquids if they have an upset stomach – it just settles more easily. The same is true for babies.
  • Breastfeed babies are less likely to be overweight later in life – although they do tend to be chunkier as babies. And chunky babies are just darned cute.
  • Breastfed babies are healthier – they receive so many awesome antibodies from mama’s milk, and as a result are less likely to have colds, ear infections and respiratory illnesses. Some studies suggest that infants who are not breastfed have higher rates of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in the first year of life, and higher rates of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, lymphoma, leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease, overweight and obesity, high cholesterol and asthma. Also, infants who are not breastfed have a 21% higher postneonatal infant mortality rate in the U.S. 21%, people. You could reduce your baby’s chance of death by 21%, just by feeding them the food that God intended.
  • No bottles and nipples to sterilize. Not only are they just a general pain in the arse, but do a quick Google search about BPA in bottles. Yet another chemical that you could spare your baby from, were you so inclined. Breastmilk is always available, sterilized and at the perfect temperature – I dare you to explain to me how bottles are more convenient!
  • It’s not just about nutrition – breastfeeding equals bonding, and bonding with your baby is a very, very good thing.
  • Why throw your money away on sub-par nutrition for the most important little person in your life? Breastmilk is not only far superior, but it’s free.
  • Last but not least – breastfed babies are prettier. Nope, I’m not just biased – Google that too. Studies have found that breastfeeding promotes the development of a well-shaped jaw and (later on) straight teeth. Sucking on a bottle as opposed to a breast are, after all, very different techniques. Don’t hate my baby because breastfeeding helped her become even more beautiful.

There are plenty of benefits to be had for the breastfeeding mother, as well – less blood loss after childbirth, faster weight loss, delayed return of ovulation and menstruation, increased protection against osteoporosis and ovarian and breast cancers, and that awesome hormone prolactin, which has the potential to just bliss you out while nursing.

If knowing all of the benefits of breastfeeding doesn’t inspire you to at least give it a try, then nothing will. Even if you try and decide to stop later on, any amount of breastfeeding is beneficial to your baby – even the colustrum produced before your milk comes in is full of antibodies and helps prevent jaundice.

However, if you just don’t care…well, I can’t make you. If second-best (which isn’t nearly good enough) is okay for the precious little gift you’ve been given, okay. But don’t think that the formula you’re feeding your baby is good for them – it provides essential nutrients, sure, but it also provides things you probably wouldn’t otherwise choose to put into your baby’s body. And even though some formulas claim to be “the most like breastmilk”, there isn’t a formula made that will boost your baby’s immune system the way that breastmilk does.

Second-best is not, and never will be, good enough for my children. So formula-feed if you must, but know that you are going to read things about formula that will make you uncomfortable. Know that you can cry “I’m offended!” all you want, but that it still won’t change the facts. Know that you can have one post closed, but you will not stop me from talking about how wonderful breastfeeding is. And know that if you have another child someday, the choice is yours to do so much better next time…

October 21, 2008

Braggy brag brag…

Posted in Things That Tick Me Off tagged , , , , at 2:31 pm by junecleaverwouldbeshocked

The moment that a woman gives birth to her first child, something interesting happens to her brain: even if she was a model of humility before, she is suddenly compelled to begin bragging on every blurp and bubble her infant makes. Baby has gas? Aww, how cute! She smiled at just ten minutes old, you know – she’s practically a genius. And she’s the most beautiful baby in the whole wide world, cone-shaped head and all.

Okay, that’s all excusable – we all think know that our children are the most beautiful, intelligent and special children in the whole wide world, and they’re certainly brag-worthy. All kids do things that are clever or funny, and I love hearing about them.

What gets me are the parents that brag about things that…well, just really don’t seem like things to brag about. A few that I’ve seen online recently…

  • Proud formula feeding mommy! Okay, great that you’re secure in your choice – but what’s there to be proud about? Sorry, but anyone can walk into the Wal-Mart, pick up a giant can of powdered almost-food off the shelf and mix it with a little water to turn it into a drinkable substance. It doesn’t take an especial amount of strength or wit to formula feed, so why the pride? In fact, why be proud of feeding your precious baby something inferior at all? Granted, not everyone can breastfeed, and to those, I’m so sorry. But for those who choose not to…well, it’s just a decision that I have a hard time respecting, given all of the evidence that breastfeeding is far superior infant nutrition. “People need to understand that  when they’re deciding between breastmilk and formula, they’re not deciding between Coke and Pepsi… They’re choosing between a live, pure substance and a dead substance made with the cheapest oils available.” -Chele Marmet
  • Proud disposable diapering mommy! YAY, you’re part of the special, the elite, the…wait. Doesn’t everyone use disposable diapers these days? Ummm, yeah. Proud conformist. Sure. Truth be told, it’s far more uncommon to encounter a cloth diapering mama these days – and I’m betting that the majority of Pampers enthusiasts don’t even realize that a) cloth diapers no longer equal non-absorbent rectangles of cloth and scary pins or that b) there are some creepy chemicals lurking in their Huggies. Chemicals that you might not necessarily want leeching into your baby’s skin if you actually stop to consider that diapers are made of paper, and just-plain-paper ain’t especially absorbent.
  • Proud vaccinating mommy! I’m proud of forcibly restraining a person less than a quarter of my size while a doctor shoots her up with known toxins and carcinogens for his own personal gain! YAY ME!

As I’m about to vomit just thinking about these oh-so-special sources of pride, I’ll refrain from even touching on those that are proud of circumcising their sons (however needlessly).

People, do your homework. Your children are the single most important people in your lives, yet you blindly accept “the norm” as good enough for them, without bothering to ask “why?” or “is there a better way?” So many people do so much harm because they settle for “good enough”. If good enough is truly good enough for you, then so be it…but you’ll never know how much better things could be if you’d just research the decisions you make concerning your child’s health as much as you research a new computer or new car.

If you’ve done that research and are truly proud of your choice, then let your formula/diaper/vax flag fly. But if you just want something to be proud of and brag about…just wait. Bubba will burp again in a few minutes.

August 5, 2008

Since I’m a slacker…

Posted in Baby Talk tagged , , , , , , , at 5:55 am by junecleaverwouldbeshocked

I started this blog because I had become so horrible at updating my old one. Apparently, old habits are hard to break. So before I forget entirely what’s happening right now, a quick rundown of what Boogie is up to at not-quite-eight-months-old.

  • Considering crawling. Thinking very hard about it, but not quite decided yet. She’s very good at getting onto her hands and knee, while sticking her other knee out to one side like a chubby little kickstand and getting utterly stuck for several seconds, before finally plopping down onto her belly and assuming the scooting position. She’s very good at scooting backward, and around in circles, and sometimes sideways. She’s definitely mobile, just not in any traditional or easily describable way.
  • Clapping is fun. Even more fun is clapping your hands, for you. And then gnawing on them.
  • She gnaws on them because she has two pearly whites now, on the bottom. They’re the cutest teeth in the world, incidentally.
  • She subscribes to the “eat to live, don’t live to eat” theory. Real food comes along but once a day, at dinnertime, and usually consists of either peas, sweet potatoes, green beans, apples, pears or oatmeal. Sweet potatoes and apples are by far the favorites. She is still breastfed on demand, and demands loudly and often. Broken up Cheerios are a recent discovery, although the verdict is still out.
  • The three things that relieve teething pain every time: her sippy cup, full of ice water (apparently makes the spout cold, as she chews on it); “icy cold teethers” that her sister loves to fetch for her from the fridge; and an ice cube in that funky mesh feeder thing that her sister would never touch as an infant.
  • She knows the sign for “milk” and ain’t afraid to use it.
  • Loves to talk. Started out with “dadadada” non-stop, but has since ditched him in favor of “mamamama”. However, the vast majority of her babbling sounds exactly like “BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH”, and I have no clue how she makes the “l” sound.
  • She instigates games of peek-a-boo by hiding her face in your arm/leg/shoulder/whatever is available, and leaving it there until you say “wheeeeere’s Boogie?” Then she pops her head up and grins. It’s only the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen, and she’s an absolute genius for figuring it out all by herself.
  • We are still happy co-sleepers. It’s been nearly a month now since she stopped nursing to sleep, and I am still amazed every. single. time. she goes to bed without a boob in her mouth. I nursed her sister to sleep every night, every naptime, until she was eighteen months old. For Boogie to be able to go to sleep without my assistance feels like a little miracle. She goes to bed around 8 now, sleeps until I come to bed (usually at a ridiculous time), nurses and goes back to sleep until 8-ish, or whenever her sister sees fit to wake us up.
  • My only complaint is that separation anxiety hit hard and early. Woe be unto me if I attempt to sit the child down and move more then three inches away. On rare occasions, she’ll play happily in the floor while I wash a dish or check my email, but usually my moving away from her is rewarded by banshee-like screams of displeasure, which are quieted only by picking her up again. Needless to say, it is difficult to accomplish much of anything while lugging around a twenty pound cling-on.

Having two children is much more difficult than I imagined that it would be – and that’s a complete understatement. There are days when none of us get dressed, simply because she won’t allow me to put her down for long enough without her screaming – and while sometimes it’s just necessary, I don’t like to let her cry unless there’s just no way around it. There are days when I don’t get to do anything one-on-one with Princess, and I feel horrible about that. There are days when I don’t do anything to the house, and I feel horrible about that. In fact, it seems as though I always feel horrible about something. Mommy guilt is an unforgiving master.

However, there is one thing that helps alleviate some of that guilt. I was utterly convinced, before Boogie was born, that I could never, never love another child the way I loved my first. And as much as I wanted another girl, I almost thought that a boy would be easier to love, since that love would be, somehow, different. But, I’m happy to report that I was wrong, wrong, wrong. I love her more than I thought possible, and without sacrificing one iota of my love and devotion to my first daughter. Weird how that works for us mommies. And very, very cool.