For those about to complain about me breastfeeding in public, I salute you: A sarcastic open letter

Are you the kind of person who feels uncomfortable when you see a woman breastfeeding in public? Don’t you wish she’d just go home- where she belongs, AMIRIGHT?- and handle that icky stuff in private like a rational human being? Never mind the hungry, probably wailing baby she has with her. You’re just trying to finish your Big Mac over here and I get that.

Well, I am guilty of breastfeeding in public because I’ve got this crazy idea in my head that when my baby has a need, I should meet it. I’m sure you’re sympathetic to the fact that I’d rather my son not grow up to be a woman hating sociopath because he never felt like his mother cared about him, but also I mean, at what cost? Y’know?

I’m so sorry that you can’t handle knowing that my boobs are exposed under this floral print Eddie Bauer privacy cover that I paid twenty bucks for just in case I needed to hide my shameful milk bags from the innocent gaze of a supposedly mature adult. I know it must be traumatic for you: I’m over here with these big, luscious, fleshy mammaries that you’d typically be more than happy to stare at, but they’re practically bursting at the seams with milk and existing for a purpose other than your sexual enjoyment. This baby gets to pop a nipple in his mouth on demand but you’ve got to stand behind the counter here at Smoothie King with your eyes focused somewhere other than my amazing, massive cleavage or else you’re considered rude. What’s up with that?

Look, I know where you’re coming from. It’s downright un-American for boobs to do anything other than fill out white ribbed tank tops that become see-through when sprayed down with the same hose you use to rinse off your Dodge Challenger right before you coat that bad boy in Turtle Wax and drive on down to the beach for an epic game of ultimate frisbee with your bros. I can appreciate that. Why should I be over here sustaining life in the same public space as you? Perhaps it IS bad etiquette for me to expect a little bit of common courtesy when I just want to discreetly feed my son while carrying him around the zoo in a Baby Bjorn. You’re totally justified in telling me how gross it is.

I also understand how unfair it is that I chose to go and get myself knocked up but then expect special treatment when I need a fifteen minute break at work to pump so I can relieve the excruciating pressure and discomfort when my breasts get engorged with milk. It’s definitely not your problem. If you can’t get fifteen minutes to sit in your car, listen to Nickelback, and smoke a joint, why should I be able to sit somewhere other than a broom closet and kick my feet up, jam my boobs into suction cups, and express milk? It’s just ridiculous.

There are so many compelling arguments about why breastfeeding in public is disgusting, weird, and just plain wrong. In fact, the more I think about it, maybe we should just outlaw breastfeeding altogether. I mean, it’s not like it’s a beneficial, magical practice that provides babies with awesome developmental advantages or anything. It’s not like it’s the most natural thing a mother can do and it definitely isn’t as though it makes it easier for moms to accomplish tasks while out and about that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to leave the house to do. We aren’t talking about something important here; we’re just taking about breastfeeding.

Boobs are for fun, not for food.

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Just shameful.

Little thighs, big needles

Today was a lazy day. Aside from a trip to Freebirds for lunch and a quick jaunt into Toys R Us, we stayed in the house all day. Lord knows, Mommy needs the rest. The road trip drained me, despite the dangerous levels of Red Bull that Liz and I consumed. (Despite? Because of? You be the judge.) Yes, I am a flawed human being who occasionally poisons her body with Red Bull, that most toxic and detestable of chemical concoctions.

At least we looked good as a unit.

Elliott Olivia's romper

Elliott Olivia’s romper

Grayson in camo

Grayson in camo

 
I originally intended to go to the grocery store, but everything on my list could wait except for the baby Tylenol for Grayson and- lucky me- Toys R Us sells baby Tylenol. My poor little man had his two month checkup yesterday and I actually let them immunize him. I’m so on the fence about vaccines for babies. On the one hand, I don’t like it. At all. I think it’s silly that a two month old baby should have three needles that look as long as his little thighs are thick jabbed into him to prevent a slew of diseases that he could easily be vaccinated against at a later, more developed age. I didn’t have Ellie vaccinated after we left the hospital until well after she turned one and, lucky me, she didn’t develop polio or get tetanus. The only reason I gave in and let them vaccinate Grayson is because of the hassle I dealt with when I finally put Ellie into daycare and had to have her vaccinated for admission. She had to get so many vaccines at one time that it seemed like I did her a disservice by waiting for something that the public school system makes unavoidable. Because of the fact that Grayson may have to go into daycare at an earlier age than she did, I figured it would probably make more sense to have it done now.

I know vaccination is a controversial issue. I’d love to get some opinions from readers. Did you have your children vaccinated at the recommended ages? Did you wait? Did you skip it altogether? What were your reasons for your personal decision?

The Great Foreskin Debate

I’m in a bunch of Facebook groups dedicated to parenting. From cloth diapering to natural parenting and even just parenting in general, the groups are a great place to share funny stories and advice and ask questions and get real life answers from other mamas and just kind of come together to appreciate all of the wonderful and frustrating and rewarding and often comical experiences that go along with being a parent.

Earlier this evening while my older sister Liz and I were on our way to dinner [at Fadi’s. yum!], we got to talking and breastfeeding came up. I admitted that I have judgmental thoughts about women who don’t breastfeed their babies, but I would never want to make someone feel bad about their decision. While I don’t agree with it, every woman has the right to decide what she does for her children (as long as she isn’t harming them) and I do understand that breastfeeding isn’t the easiest thing for everyone. I was lucky enough to have a pretty easy time with it, or rather, as easy a time as you can have with something that leaves you with tugged-on, chapped, achy nipples and leftover stretch marks from your breasts inflating and deflating every few hours. (I went from a B cup to a D cup and back down to an A cup with my first pregnancy. I’m somewhere in the vicinity of a D cup now after my second.) I know it’s a personal decision and that’s why I wouldn’t want to make anyone feel bad about it, though if someone is weighing the pros and cons, I’m happy to deliver my most compelling argument in favor of sharing their precious mommy milk.

That particular conversation made me reflect on one of the groups I’m in on Facebook and a post that has since been deleted. A cloth diapering mama posted a question about having to switch to disposable diapers because her son’s circumcision wasn’t healing properly and she needed to put vaseline on it to keep the skin from fusing together and, as most veteran cloth diapering mamas know, petroleum is not cloth diaper friendly. A few of the responses to the question were very opinionated mamas shaming her for circumcising her son. It was pretty disheartening, not because those mamas were so strongly anti-circumcision, but because the group was supposed to be a safe place for mamas to ask questions and get honest, real life answers from people with experience. It kind of felt like a betrayal of the entire idea of a support group, which is essentially what these groups are. Not all support groups have to be about negative things. I love the idea of a group of women having a forum for their positive and negative experiences. One of my favorite things to talk about is my children and parenting in general. I like listening to other people talk about the way they choose to raise their children and the conscious decisions they make to maintain a certain lifestyle that they believe in. Whether it’s “crunchy” mamas or their “silky” counterparts who take advantage of all the modern-day conveniences that are available to the public, I like to hear their stories because it helps me realize what I feel strongly about and develop the opinions and convictions that shape my own lifestyle and parenting philosophies. How can mamas share freely and honestly when they’re afraid of the backlash of other mamas who don’t agree?

I can understand both sides of the circumcision coin. It is a pretty gruesome procedure when you think about it. You’re electing to have part of your newborn baby’s body sliced and it isn’t a particularly necessary thing to do. You are making a decision on your child’s behalf that is irreversible. In the context of females, circumcision is horrific and, in the United States, illegal.

The arguments on the flip side are just as compelling. The procedure itself is quick and isn’t traumatic. It’s a completely unnecessary flap of skin that will not be missed. It makes personal hygiene much easier for boys and, according to some studies, makes the likelihood of transmitting HIV much lower. Unlike its female counterpart, male circumcision doesn’t effect the quality of sex. And then there’s the religious aspect.

All of these factors played a role in my decision to have my son circumcised. In the end, it came down to a simple comparison. My dad isn’t circumcised and adamantly recommended that I have my son circumcised. My step-dad, who’s Jewish, is and was also on board with my decision. I don’t know a single circumcised man who laments the loss of his foreskin, but I do know a few uncircumcised men who wish their parents had made that decision for them and had it done and saved them the hassel of dealing with it. If my son ends up disappointed because he doesn’t have it, he can make the decision not to have his own sons circumcised and chock my decision up to the inevitable mistakes that parents will make throughout a child’s lifetime. I let my two year old eat mac and cheese even though I know it has artificial coloring in it. I had my son circumcised. I am not a perfect mother.

I guess that’s part of why I felt so strongly about the people who responded by shaming the mama who posted the question. None of us are perfect as parents. No matter what decisions a parent makes, there will always be an argument against it and in favor of something else. There is no such thing as the right answer when it comes to choosing how to parent your child. All we can do is our best to raise happy, healthy children who become positive additions to the world. At least, that’s my two cents.