Tuesday, March 13, 2012

breastfeeding (a PAIL theme post)

In the 1970s, my mother was a La Lec.he Lea.gue group leader. I remember, as a child, sitting on the floor with other kids whose moms were similarly passionate about breastfeeding. We sat though so many damn meetings. She was hardcore about breastfeeding, too. Apparently, she not only allowed me and my brother to nurse LONG past the time when we could ask for it, she also allowed a close friend who had a child around my same age to feed me if my Mom had run to the store or was otherwise busy. I assume she fed her friend's child in the same manner. WTF. Feeding another woman's baby, just because you can, strikes me as odd. And breastfeeding a preschooler just isn't for me. I have nothing against it, per se, but I think there are many interesting foods out there beyond breastfeeding by the preschool years that are/should be more nourishing than breastmilk. (Yeah, yeah...I know it's the perfect food and all...I'm just sayin'.)

All that said, I'm a pretty passionate breastfeeder. I have been committed to it with both kids. I breastfed W, my two year old, until he chose to quit at almost a year old. I was getting ready to quit it if he hadn't, but even so, I felt a bit disappointed when he refused the breast the first time. And now, with baby #2, my 6 month old, we're still breastfeeding well. It's a very different experience the second time around. My son would nurse constantly, even when not hungry. He got the comfort-nursing thing. E, the baby girl, is more interested in breastfeeding for food. She is much quicker to reject it if she's not hungry.

I fought hard to be able to breastfeed. In both cases, my kids started life with a few days back in the hospital drinking formula from bottles. I pumped and pumped to get my supply going (I'm a late starter...my milk doesn't tend to come in until at least a week after birth). And I tried finger feeding and other measures to keep them both from loving the bottle and refusing the breast. I'm very lucky that it all worked--it was just as likely as not to have failed.

I'm also a very poor pumper, and I'm not sure if it's just that I'm not doing it well (I sometimes forget when I'm at work) or if I'm just a low producer. Perhaps both are true. So when E is at daycare, she gets one bottle of breastmilk and at least one of formula. To me, formula is a total blessing. It allows my child to eat while I'm away from her and it takes some of the pumping pressure off of me. And for so many people, formula is the only option and I really hate when someone looks down on that choice or situation. A good lactation consultant will say that the first thing all mothers should do is feed their child, whether it be breastmilk or formula.

When I meet a pregnant woman and she asks me about my breastfeeding experience (it does happen!), I almost always tell her how difficult it is going to be. It's painful for the first few week and worrying about whether your child is getting enough food will drive you nuts, but if you can get it all to work, it's wonderful. And if you can't get it to work and you don't breastfeed, either by choice or by situation, it's also wonderful. Feed your child and don't worry too much about how.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

update on W talking at school

This is a follow-up to my last post.

After we got home from the strange discovery that W is not speaking much at daycare, we had a brief talk about it at the dinner table. I told W that it's totally fine if he chooses not to talk at daycare (or anywhere, for that matter). I said that I respected him and want him to take his time doing new things if he so chooses. But I also said that it might be nice to talk at daycare a little bit more than he does now. He might enjoy participating in circle time or story time. W didn't really respond. I didn't expect him to. But I figured it couldn't hurt to briefly address the situation with him.

Well, when I picked him up yesterday, the teacher said, "W has been talking all day! He shouted out animals and colors during story time with the other kids!" and the note on his daily report said that he was chatty and seemed to have fun all day.

Is it possible that my toddler understood our dinner conversation and changed his behavior as a result? Fascinating!