I just wanted to clarify my last post a bit. I definitely understand why some women are shy about breast feeding in public and I totally get that lots of women are more modest than I am. It's just that I feel like the marketing of these nursing cover-ups is very much akin to the type of advertising we get for other (largely unnecessary) products like douche, scented tampons, "feminine deodorant" sprays and the like. It's like the underlying message is that women's bodies and their functions are gross and dirty and need to be covered up, perfumed and otherwise appropriately obscured from men because they shouldn't have to deal with the nastiness that is the natural smell of a vagina, a period or a breast during the function it was designed for. Our bodies are apparently only good for titillating men and they better look damn good while doing it, too. And if not, then you better cover that shit up!
picture via Vintage Ads
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I know this is a really hot topic and people get really worked up over it. But what is the big deal about nursing in public? I don't get why people have such a visceral reaction to a mom feeding her baby the way babies were intended to be fed. Is it because it reminds them that, at the end of the day, we are all just animals, no different from monkeys and dogs? Is it really because they are so offended at the thought of seeing a breast? I see more boobs when I watch TV or go to the beach then what is visible when I nurse my son in public. But even if a mom doesn't want to be discreet, that's her right in most states. An exposed breast for the purpose of feeding an infant is, legally, not obscene.
I remember when I was pregnant and creating my registry at Babies R Us and I saw this
OK, who in the hell would use this to feed her baby in public? Are you seriously that insecure? I understand modesty, but that thing is ridiculous. How can a baby even breathe under there? I feel like if you need that cover, you should probably just stay home. How do you even rig that thing up when your baby is crying and hungry? I can't even imagine my son waiting patiently while I covered myself in that burqa for fear that someone might see a small piece of my nipple.
I personally have never used anything, except maybe a receiving blanket, and I've never felt exposed. I did see this Slurp and Burp extolled on some other sites.
At least this provides coverage of the breast but doesn't suffocate the child. Although really I don't get why there is even a market for these products.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Tricky Vicky now sells nursing bras! I haven't seen them in any of the stores, but they're available online. There is a bit of sticker shock, but I suppose that's to be expected from the brand. I love the leopard print bra and the cami is sexy, yet practical. It would look great with just some jeans and maybe a light sweater. Has anyone purchased these? I'm wondering if I can justify spending the $50!
One of the many reasons people give for choosing to breastfeed is that, unlike formula, breastfeeding is free. Now, I am a huge proponent of breastfeeding and I think everyone should do it, but free it ain't. I have invested a lot of money while breastfeeding my son. I'm sure it still works out to be cheaper than the $100 per month formula would run you, but I think we need to be realistic and open about it when talking to new mothers about breastfeeding. I think if we had a real conversation about the costs associated with breastfeeding, we could get some of them covered by insurance providers. We know breastfed babies have fewer infections and colds and require less trips to the doctor and moms who breastfeed lower their chances of getting both ovarian and breast cancer. We deserve a break on some of the costly breastfeeding accessories! Here's what I've spent so far.
Breastpump: I bought a Playtex Embrace double electric pump when I was pregnant. I did some research and found that this was a middle-of-the-road option, cost-wise, that was endorsed by Dr. Sears and had good reviews on Amazon.com. At Babies R Us, this pump retails for about $180 and comes with a bag, bottles and some replacement parts. I was getting pretty good results with this pump, but I was worried about my milk production falling off when I returned to work. I know that lactation consultants in general only recommend the Medela Pump in Style and the Ameda Purely Yours. The Medela pumps are around $300 and I couldn't justify spending that much, so I got the PY for $140. I also bought some replacement parts for this pump after a piece fell down the garbage disposal. I am assuming I'll probably buy more as they are tiny and easily lost and broken and just wear down over time.
Bottles: Yeah, even though you're breastfeeding you do need to purchase bottles (or cups) so that other people can feed your baby when you're away from him. I also had to purchase an extra set of bottles for pumping into at work and storing breastmilk in the fridge/freezer.
Storage bags: I also bought breastmilk storage bags for building up my freezer stash before I returned to work. It's pretty much essential to have at least a little bit of frozen milk for when you return back to work. Baby's gotta eat your first day back and what if you get stuck in traffic one day and can't be there in time to feed him? What if you really tie one on and have to pump and dump? You need some sort of back-up milk.
Nursing bras: I invested in 4 really nice nursing bras and a few not-so-nice ones from Target that offer no support but are very comfortable for at night and on the weekends. Any nursing mom will tell you that you live in your nursing bra so you need to at least have 3: one to wear, one in the laundry, one in a drawer.
Creams and pads: Most moms will have leaky breasts at some point (mine don't leak anymore) that require them to wear cotton pads in your bra to sop up the extra milk so it doesn't show through to a blouse. Sore nipples also require lanolin cream. Some women even have to buy gel inserts for their bras.
All of this and I'm not even taking into account all of the women who have difficulty nursing and have to rent hospital-grade pumps (at about $50 a month, plus $50 for accessories), SNS systems, herbs and prescriptions to boost milk supply, etc. It's also not uncommon for a mom to have to purchase a mini fridge to store her milk in while at work and some sort of cooling bag to transport it home in. I'm sure there are lots of other products that I am forgetting. What else have you spent money on to foster your breastfeeding relationship?
Monday, June 9, 2008
Yesterday was my first day back at work after a long and enjoyable 6-month maternity leave. As difficult as it was to leave my baby, I knew he was in good hands (his father's) so it made the transition easier. When he has to go to regular daycare in August I am sure I'll be a wreck, but that is another post for another day.
So yesterday was my first day pumping full-time! To all the moms out there who are exclusively pumping for their babes because they had latch issues or supply issues....god bless ya! I don't think I could do this full-time! It's so time consuming, painful and arduous. Watching that slow drip into the bottle is like Chinese water torture. I was so stressed about making enough milk for the baby to eat for the next day that I could barely concentrate on anything else. I was able to get 4 oz my first pump, which was great. The second two only yielded 3 oz, but 10 oz is actually just enough. I have a decent freezer stash built up so I am not worried yet. I am drinking my mother's milk tea, trying to get enough rest, trying to stay stress-free. Here's to all the working moms who are pumping in order to continue giving their babies the best food possible. It's tough but so worth it. An extra special shout-out to those of you pumping in bathroom stalls, your car, janitor's closets and other less than ideal spaces. You are amazing and your babies are lucky to have you!