Thursday, December 15, 2011

"And our daughters' daughters will adore us..."

..and will sing in grateful chorus, well done, Sister Suffragette!"

I can't explain why my brain connected this email to Mary Poppins. Or how it narrowed it to Mrs.Banks' song. But they mesh in my mind.

Forgive me for getting it trapped in your head.

Dear Friend:

Fired for breastfeeding?! That’s what happened to Heather Burgbacher, a technology teacher and coordinator in Evergreen, Colorado.

Heather had recently come back to work after maternity leave and was using every spare minute to pump breast milk for her baby. She just needed a little support from her employer: adequate break time and a private place to pump. But the Rocky Mountain Academy refused to help, and told her to consider switching her baby to formula. Worse yet—after she complained, Heather was fired.

So how can we ensure that ALL moms, including teachers like Heather, get the support they need and deserve from their employers?

Tell your Representative and Senators to co-sponsor the Breastfeeding Promotion Act:

WE know that all major medical authorities recommend that mothers breastfeed exclusively for six months and continue breastfeeding for at least the first year of a child's life. WE know that breastfeeding saves lives and dollars. WE know that moms need and deserve to be supported to reach their personal breastfeeding goals. And WE know that workplace lactation support is actually simple and cost-effective...but do your Senators or Representative?

All mothers should have the opportunity to breastfeed their infants, but policy and environmental constraints make this inaccessible for many families. The Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2011 tackles one of the most challenging barriers faced by moms today: returning to work. More than half of women with children under one year old are in the labor force, but without adequate support in the workplace, these mothers are more likely to stop breastfeeding early.

The bill aims to protect and expand the rights of working moms by 1) ensuring that breastfeeding mothers cannot be fired or discriminated against in the workplace, and 2) extending the existing federal provision to ensure that an additional 13.5 million executive, administrative, and professional employees, including elementary and secondary school teachers, have break time and a private place to pump in the workplace.

Write to Congress today!

Let's make our voices heard! With a few clicks of the mouse today, you can help to build critical support for this bill and to ensure that all moms are supported to reach their personal breastfeeding goals. Thank you for your support!

*copied from an email sent to me by USBreastfeeding in response to my emails to Congress!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


My back hurts.


A 16+lb Smushy is teething. And wants to be attached. ALL DAY AND NIGHT.

He nurses 23.5 hours of the day. Okay, maybe not that much. But it feels like that. He is either chomping on his fingers or on me. And I'm ready to pass him off. Anyone want to borrow a baby until the teeth break through?

I love my Smushy. Really, I do. But between the constant newborn-esque nursing, trying to wrap Christmas presents, trying to keep Diva out of said presents, cleaning, cooking, laundry....

There is a blog floating around in my head. It was sparked into life through aggravation. And, damnit, I will write about it.

Smushy is whining. The whines are getting louder and at a higher pitch.

I tried.

Honest. I did.

I'll be back...

Thursday, December 01, 2011


disclaimer: this is by no means an attack on any one who formula feeds. these are my thoughts and my opinions and are not directed at anyone in particular.

There are things that I am passionate about. There are things that I have to bite my tongue to heed myself from offering unsolicited advice, information, and opinions. Breastfeeding is one of them.

I nursed Diva until she was 16 months. Then, she was over it. She had better things to do. At that point, she was only nursing once a day, in the morning. And by nurse I mean 30 seconds tops before she had to go explore her world and all that was in it. However, I am the first to admit, it was not easy in the beginning. Until giving birth to Smushy, it was the hardest thing I had ever done.

Diva was induced when she was 10 days late and showed no signs of EVER coming. After 23 hours and 30 minutes, she came into the world. Her birth was exhausting. Thinking of it makes me want to cry still. It was not what I had pictured or wanted. For the vast majority of the time, I had zero support. I felt like I failed when I accepted the epidural after 12 hours of pitocin. I felt like it was my fault when her heart-rate started to go erratic and she needed an internal monitor. After 4 pushes, she was out. And she was blue. Her lips were blue, she was pale, and she wouldn't breathe. She wouldn't breathe.

I got to touch my baby for roughly 30 seconds before she was whisked away. I didn't get to see her again for six hours. Those six hours were horrible. No one came to let us know how she was doing. No one gave a damn about us. When the doctor strolled in around 11:30pm, she was rude and brief. They didn't know what was wrong. She was in the nursery. She had to stay in the nursery. She had tubes in her nose. Her temperature "wasn't stable." She had damn IVs. They gave her binkies, formula, and sugar water WITHOUT EVER ASKING ME. They gave her chest x-rays WITHOUT ASKING ME. They kept her away from me for SIX hours. It was the worst experience of my life.

I didn't realize how upset I was about it until I was at my first Doula workshop, which was led by Nichole. Nicole rocks. She said a lot over the weekend, but several things stuck with me. She talked about how she used to be the good girl who listened to everything the doctors said. She didn't want to raise a fuss. She didn't want to offend. She wanted to be a well-behaved woman.

We know my philosophy on that, right?

Stepping off the soap box...but, those words struck a chord within myself. I had been that woman. Instead of demanding updates, demanding to see my baby and suggesting the nurses shove their "advice" somewhere the sun don't shine....I was well-behaved. I thanked them. I was polite. I apologized for calling the nursery. I apologized for crying. For making a mess.

I never realized how much the entire experience hurt me until Nichole stood in front of me and gave me permission to no longer behave. I had tears in my eyes and slipping down my cheeks as I acknowledged how much anger, pain, shame, and hurt I had held onto since April 2008. Standing there, surrounded by women who had shared the same ideals as I do, was a defining moment for me.

This started out as a blog about some fantastic articles I had read on The Leaky Boob. It started as a rant towards people un-supportive towards breastfeeding. It started out as something very different from where it has ended up so far. I wrote the first part and then had to step away to get my emotions in check. I remembered this blog after someone I know posted a blog about how proud she is to be a formula feeding mom. I read her angry words and was upset. Upset for her and upset by her. I was upset that people tried to push their beliefs on her and told her how she was going to provide nutrition for her child. I was upset that at a difficult moment, people were un-supportive of her.

After that, I was upset by her. I was upset by her attitude. I want to demand that she look to why she thinks breastfeeding is gross. But, by demanding, I am no better than those who told her she had to breastfeed. Is it what is best for babies beyond a shadow of a doubt? Yes. Is it the perfect food for our children? Yes. Is it my responsibility to provide encouragement, support, and any manner of "evidence" for someone who requests it? Yes. But, is it someone else's right to try to shame a breastfeeding mom because of their own comfort level? No. No, no, no, no, no!

If you don't want to look at my boobs, don't. It's that freakin' simple. Amazing, right? Don't ask me to cover up because it is gross. Advert your eyes. Put a blanket over your head. When Smushy is nursing, he looks into my eyes and just stares. It is one of the best blessings any mother can ever hope for. It is a look of complete love, complete trust, and complete peace.

I feel the doctors and nurses were right to suggest pumping to her. Her child was a preemie. She's right; that is all she could do for him. Did she try? Yes. I'm proud of her for that. I never told her I was and that is my fault. I should have. But I know the reason I didn't is because of her feelings towards breastfeeding. And that is sad. I can only try to not make the same mistake again.

When I was "well-behaved," I missed many chances to stick up for myself and for others. Once, at a bridal shower, my best friend and I were told how gross we were to be breastfeeding 4 month old Diva and her 2 week old bff/partner-in-crime, Ollie. I wish I could go back in time and be very rude and get up and leave. I wish I could be very rude and make a snarky, witty come-back as I stood up for myself and E. But I can't. Now, I'd like to see anyone tell me that. I have enough nerve to fire back, "No, what is gross is how uninformed you are. I'm sorry your issues make you feel that the natural and best way to feed an infant is with a man-made powder. If you do not like it, put the blanket over your head."

Booby-traps come in all forms. It can be from a stranger, a doctor, your best friend, or simply an idiot who decides they can't handle the idea of breastfeeding. Next week, I'm going to dive head first into more. Right now I have to go right my friend and email and apologize for not standing up for ourselves so many years ago.