Another Relatively Babyless Day
September 23, 2013
Yes, you read that correctly. I am spending yet another day using and abusing the service of grandparents. I think I’ve eaten more in the past three days than I have since I came home from the hospital. And you know what? I don’t hate it.
Tonight, I get to do exciting things, like take the subway! I never thought I would enjoy taking the gross, metal tube beneath Manhattan. But, next to diaper duty, NYC public transportation is a treat. We’re going to a Richard Dawkins lecture in Brooklyn. My pre-baby self was much more excited for educational evenings like this, but my inner-mommy would much prefer chugging a bottle of rum and sleeping through the night. So, I guess being a mommy has brought out my inner-trash monster. And, to think, I’ve tried to hide it for so long.
Why KellyMom, Lactation Consultants, and the Mommy Boards are Not Valid Resources
September 23, 2013
Although I’m sure I’ve already hit a nerve in some of you, allow me to explain my title. Women seek advice from other women, mostly on the mommy message boards of the Internet. Most of the time, the suggestions, advice, and support is wonderful. But when it comes to feeding your baby, the help is not.
KellyMom is passed around as an authority on breastfeeding. The KellyMom website says it provides “evidence-based information”. The site owner boasts that she is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), but she does suggest that you see your own IBCLC, and that the information on the site is for “educational purposes only”.
Please tell me when in your life you’ve been told that something is for “educational purposes only”, and that you shouldn’t put it into practice at home? Are you thinking of the “don’t try this at home” disclaimers? Because, that’s essentially what KellyMom is telling us.
You see, you don’t need to be an expert in lactation to know that KellyMom is a fraud. Simply read her articles and compare the “evidence” to other “evidence” on her very own site. You’ll find it’s fraught with contradictions. For example, in the article titled “How much expressed milk will my baby need?“, KellyMom writes, “In exclusively breastfed babies, milk intake increases quickly during the first few weeks of life, then stays about the same between one and six months (though it likely increases short term during growth spurts).”
To which I say, “Oh, really?” It’s interesting that KellyMom has built her claim to fame as a resource that women share, overwhelmingly, for the truths of breastmilk. Yet, right here, on her very own site, KellyMom is telling you, “You’re trying to increase your milk supply? Go screw yourself.”
Also, if you’re going to use the “milk calculator”, you’re going to have an extremely scrawny baby. My baby is almost 8 weeks, and drinks about 50oz of milk per day. The milk calculator on KellyMom suggests he needs only half of that. If you’re going to argue that my evidence is anecdotal, and there’s no real research to support my claim, then you better take a closer look at KellyMom, because while she seems to be providing medical research and facts, KellyMom is extremely one-sided. And, guess what? Bias doesn’t make science.
I’ll write more about KellyMom in the future, but let’s shift gears and discuss IBCLCs and how they “diagnose” every baby with tounge-tie or reflux, and make mothers feel like total d-bags for even thinking about the word “formula”. Thanks to IBCLCs (and, actually, KellyMom is in on this, too), women think that drinking alcohol while breastfeeding is okay. I’ve actually been told (or, rather, scolded) on the mommy boards for providing the Mayo Clinic and WebMD as sources over KellyMom, because “statements such as the the one you quoted are rarely based on scientific evidence, regardless of the source. It’s medical lingo for, we don’t have any data because nobody has actually done a clinical study to determine a safe level. Doesn’t mean that a safe level doesn’t exist”.
To clarify, here’s the statement I made in response to a woman dumping breastmilk that tested positive for alcohol:
You did the right thing. It sucks that you had to dump so much, but better safe than sorry.
And, I know this will be a controversial statement, but I would trust real medical sources about the dangers of alcohol and breastfeeding, such as the Mayo Clinic: www.mayoclinic.com/health/breast-fe…
“Breast-feeding and alcohol don’t mix well. There’s no level of alcohol in breast milk that’s considered safe for a baby to drink.”
Yes, clearly the Mayo Clinic does not base its facts on scientific evidence. And, maybe the baby would be OK with a little alcohol-tainted milk. You never know. Alcohol in breastmilk is better than formula.
Um. No. Alcohol and drugs are NOT safe for infants, regardless of whether these substances are found in breastmilk or not. You know what the best thing to do is? Don’t drink, don’t smoke weed, and definitely don’t smoke cigarettes. Breastmilk is not a magical elixir. It does not protect against all illness. It does not cure disease. And, while a very popular insult against formula-fed babies, breastmilk will not make your baby smarter. If the reason you breastfeed is to give your child academic advantages in the future, your child is already on the road to failure, because he/she has an ignorant fuck like you as a parent. Seriously.
And mommy shamers on the mommy boards should listen up. Because sharing KellyMom and IBCLC as the only true sources make you look ignorant, uneducated, and, quite frankly, bitchy. If you have confidence in your parenting abilities, you won’t be offended by your inability to support KellyMom and IBCLCs as medically relevant sources. Breast is best, but honesty is better.
Life Without the Baby: Anxiety Attack or an Extended Weekend of Bliss?
September 22, 2013
Furthering my campaign for “Worst Mom of the Year”, I had a meltdown yesterday which included the shocking request of “please-get-this-baby-away-from-me-before-I-lose-it”. Surprisingly, my husband had more difficulty handing over the reins than I did. Last night, we had our first real “outing” that wasn’t baby centered. By outing, I mean shopping trip. And by not “baby centered” I mean the only thing we bought for Clark was diapers.
Going shopping without our munchkin was incredibly liberating. I missed being that totally obnoxious, lovey-dovey couple. Yes, we hold hands, grab ass, and kiss in public. No, we don’t make-out. But I’m sure some insecure women would judge me. And, notice, I did not say “us”. These women would judge me, and think nothing of my husband’s “behavior”. But, that is a rant for a different post.
Who am I kidding? That’s a rant for right now. I love the way some women constantly bash men and universally agree that the fault is always on the husband/SO/BF, whoever. It’s my biggest pet peeve, because as a woman who is educated and firmly believes in equal rights, I strongly disagree with blanket gender arguments. As women, we deserve and desire equal treatment, but some women are confused about the responsibility that comes with egalitarianism. We’re just as responsible for our behavior as men are. And, while some fearlessly hold men accountable to impossible, imaginary standards, they simply can’t take it when the same rules apply to their behavior. And this is a huge problem.
I don’t want to raise my son in a way that teaches him that, someday, the person he falls in love with should always be right. I don’t want to teach him that his thoughts and feelings do not matter. I don’t want him to learn that he needs to suck it up and “be a man” about things. I want him to learn to treat others with respect; but I also want him to learn that he shouldn’t put up with someone who doesn’t respect him equally. We all make mistakes. We all say things we don’t mean. We all have words we wish we could take back. If we don’t, then we aren’t being honest. I want my son to be honest. To live honestly. To love honestly. Honestly.
Anyway, let’s get back to the good stuff. You know, before I mommy-jacked my own post. My husband and I were looking for a scale for our apartment while shopping in Target. Afterwords, we drove through Wendy’s. Because, although we’d both like to get in better shape, neither of us are overweight, and we decided to adopt the less-stress-is-best policy when it comes to late night meals and having a newborn. And, if you’re reading this right now, denying yourself a second jelly donut, I give you permission to dive in. Eat the bad stuff. Cheat on your weight loss plan. You’ll never get this time back. But you will get your body back. Just not by Christmas. And, really, who wants to starve themselves on Thanksgiving? Not I, my friends. Not I.
Today, I’m going to let my in-laws watch our baby again. Because, you know what? I miss my husband. And I’m not afraid to admit it. I’m not afraid to admit it even if it makes me a “bad mom”. I don’t want to spend the next 18 years growing apart because we had a baby together. We had a baby because we love each other. We’re crazy about each other. And that’s something I never want to forget. It’s important. It’s just as important as our baby.
And, adding to my awful mommy moments, Clark is getting babysat once again tomorrow. My parents are going to watch him while we go into the city for a night out with friends. No, not a “night out on the town”. We’re going to a bookstore. For a lecture. By a professor. Because we’re nerds like that. And, if you want to get down and dirty, maybe this makes me a better mom. Because idiots raise idiots. I’ve gotta keep up with my intellectual game. I’ve got to practice for the toddler years, fraught with “What’s this?” “Why’s that?” “Mommy-can-you-tell-me-why”. I’ve got to prepare. This way, I can maintain the parenting charade of mommy-knows-best for at least a couple months longer. No?
So, here’s to days with my husband, date nights, and falling in love all over again. Every day. With the man who made my dreams come true, and the baby who will one day thank me for not being a helicopter parent. Here’s to maintaining my integrity and identity in marriage and motherhood. And here’s to hoping that you can, too.
In case you were wondering, it’s been a weekend of bliss. Much more than a sleepy afternoon.
Entertaining Himself: Ways in Which My 7 Week Old Doesn’t Need Me
September 21, 2013
In the past week, I’ve been waking up to a very smiley baby. He looks into my eyes, coos, and giggles. I thought we were bonding. I thought he was happy to see me. I thought wrong.
This morning, as I was boiling water, making coffee, and cleaning the kitchen (yes, at the same time. It’s possible), I heard a faint chuckle echo from across our living room. Had my husband snuck over to play with little Clark? Was it, indeed, possible that my super baby was watching me from 15 feet away?
No. No, neither of those things were true.
What I discovered, in fact, broke my heart: Clark was laughing, smiling, and giggling on his own. All by himself. With no one else participating. With no toys. With no sounds. With no nothing! Staring at a bookshelf, moving his eyes to his little hands, and wiggling with enthusiasm.
Um. Excuse me? I thought we had something special, Clark. I carried you for 9 months, I’ve spent countless sleepless nights with you, and, yesterday, I actually had poop underneath my fingernails. Gross, gross, gross. And you mean to tell me, Clark, that what I previously viewed as our special, morning moments were merely coincidence?! All this time, I could have been eating, sleeping, or taking a shower, and you would have just laid there in your swing, laughing away? You bastard!
After a few minutes of independent time, Clark called out, demanding a pacifier. Or so I thought. After inserting the teal, plastic part into the noisemaker, I walked back to the kitchen. Pop. I heard the pacifier slip from between his lips. I turned around, ready to face what had previously resulted into beast mode. Instead, I found a perfectly content newborn, who had managed to put his fist to his mouth in place of a pacifier. As he drifted into dreamland, I became even more upset. What do you mean, he doesn’t even need a pacifier? Is there nothing that I’m good for anymore, besides cleaning and feeding? Who the hell do you think I am, your mother?
And once again it hit me: yup. I am.