World Breastfeeding Week

One of my favorite people to follow on twitter is Nicholas Kristof. He is a columnist for the NY Times, and his twitter just alerted me to  the fact that this week is world breastfeeding week. Kristof points out that encouraging breastfeeding can save lives in developing nations. Too often the discussion of breastfeeding is a tad myopic (like most things). As an avid breastfeeder, I liked being reminded of how vital it is in places where resources are limited. It’s not a choice issue like it is here; it’s vital.

I love the bonding time with my son, but I also use it as an excuse to read the morning paper and watch my TiVoed shows.  I nursed Vivien till she was about 2 years and 2 months. How lucky I am to be able to nurse in my calm, non-war-torn nation with Trader Joe’s a few blocks away. Color me spoiled.

So raise a breast this week; its importance can’t be underestimated.

I have shots of me breastfeeding but didn’t post them. I was a little uncomfortable with showing the world my areola, but more uncomfortable with the double chin I have when lying down. And I love this picture with my breastfed babies at a park we went to in Santa Fe.

When Do You Leave the Baby?

I’ve kind of been itching for a night.. or two away on my own.  Either solo or with my husband. When Vivien was 6 months I took off for 24 hours by myself for a birthday present to me.  I took the pump and she was with my husband and my mom.  When she was about 14 months, I went on a 48 business trip.  I have done a couple of those since then.  But, now with baby Rex I’m finding leaving to be harder.

Money wise I’m looking at stuff that wouldn’t cost a lot, use miles, stay at a friends, stuff like that.  But, here is my thinking if it’s with my husband we can’t leave for more than 24 hours.  If he stays I can go for 36 hours.  If I can bank enough milk.  And then I hear my mom’s voice, “leave a nursling?”  And it stops me in my tracks.

I was just playing with Rex, singing “itsy bitsy spider”, which he loves.  Kissing his toes which made him laugh like Ed McMahon (God rest his soul). And I think, sure I ‘d love to have wine with friends, go to a show, sleep all night, but what is better than this and more fleeting?  Stay at home, save up for a big trip. Get over it.

But, I still want to go…

I once met a woman who said she left her 6 week old for two weeks to go Italy with her husband and I almost threw up.

On the other hand I have a friend who has not spent one night away from her daughter who is now 4.  That makes me itchy.

When did you leave your baby, if ever?  And for how long?  Can one justify it if it’s not related to work?

Mother Inferiority Complex

Okay, now I don’t often feel in competition with moms. If I see a mom more patient than me, I give her credit for it. If I see a mom more crafty than me I say, “Gosh, I wish I did more art projects with my daughter.” But recently one mom really made me gulp. It’s my new friend Ellen who has FREAKISH AMOUNT OF MILK PRODUCTION.

This photo doesn’t do her milk supply justice. I was at her house, and she was about to move. She said, “I don’t know what we are going to do about my breast milk.” I was confused. She was moving very close by, and I thought, “Well, you throw it in a Coleman cooler with square of dry ice, and you are done.” Then she opened her freezer, and it was about 8 feet tall tower o’ milk. My eyes were saucers. Then she said:

“We have  a freezer in the garage that has the same amount.” What? She works all day 5 days a week and can pump at work. And boy does she pump. She has a lovely big and plump little 7 month old. His nanny says he takes in about 6 oz in a feeding. Woof. “I’m just finishing the December milk”

Now, I am no slacker in the breast feeding department. I nursed Viv for over two years. I have no problem getting milk for Rex, but I have maybe 4 to 12 bags of pumped in milk in the fridge AND the freezer at a given time. I suddenly felt about 2 inches tall in the mom department. I suddenly got how my friends who for one reason or another were not able to nurse their kids. Their milk didn’t come in; they had had breast reductions, whatever. I really think there is an innate confidence that comes with having milk for your baby. Like, yeah, I’m doing my job!

That night I dreamed of her milk. The next few days I practically was walking up to stranger, “You will not believe this woman’s milk supply.”  It’s a good thing she is a nice, modest person, or it could be annoying. You know, like your friend who always got A’s but didn’t brag about them?

Ellen said she was looking into donating the milk. Wonder if there is a tax deduction for that? ‘Cause for a mom who wants to get out of the house for a few hours, it’s as good as gold.