Posts filed under ‘breastfeeding’

Dude, where’s my post?

I’m having serious blogger’s block.  My last post was a big giant spa treatment for my soul and since then, I’ve tried to sit down and write again, some more…something.  Anything.  The words, they don’t come. 

So, I thought that what I could do is have a bit of an open mike jam session and put it out there to anyone reading.  Since I get emails every day with some kind of question relating to my blog, why dontcha just ask me here in the comments following.  Go ahead and be anonymous if ya want to.  Ask me anything.  Or, take me to task.  Whatev. 

The floor is yours…




June 10, 2008 at 10:27 am 21 comments

Only Slightly Crunchy…or How Do I Measure Up To My Mom?


My mom, June Smith, with her camera.

crunchy-granola (crunch·y-gra·no·la): adjective, slang.  People who embrace such practices as eating whole, organic foods, home gardening, wearing only natural fabrics, lean to the left, practice yoga, make their own yogurt, spin yarn from the wool from their farm, (SHEA), whilst eschewing the pressures to conform to society’s standards of beauty and, as a general rule, tend to wear Birkenstocks, and drink Chai or green tea. 

I am good-naturedly and gently poking fun at this way of life because that’s how I grew up.  I was born in the summer of love (a result of free love, no less…another story…) and my parents, well mostly my mom, were raising me in a way that most people my age weren’t.   My mom made everything and taught me what she was doing while she did it.  We picked berries and made jam from it, she learned to tool leather and made sandals for me.  We never ate out.  My mom had an “ecology NOW!” bumper sticker on her  ’63 volvo.  She was an artist and photographer.  We only vacationed by camping in the Sierras.  And while she didn’t wear patchouli oil for perfume, she was constantly announcing what to, or what not to believe in.  “Question authority!”  “Subvert the dominant paradigm!!”  She went to women’s empowerment groups. 

I went to a pre-school co-op where we made our own tofu and drank coconut milk.  Then, as time marched on and I came of age in the 80’s.  I embraced cosmetics and hair products (we still said products back then…not product) I saved all my babysitting money so that I could buy Esprit clothes from the outlet in San Francisco.  But, I drove my mom’s old volvo, bumper sticker and all.  I only kinda sorta looked the part. 

So as I have evolved and got growed up, I kind of dip into both worlds of polished outside, crunchy inside.  I like to decorate my house but I’m also really into organic gardening and other crunchy pursuits. 

When it came time for me to be a mom, I was planning on heading back to my mom’s way. I had it all figured out.  I would have an unmedicated birth, nurse perfectly for 2 years, use only cloth diapers, make my own strained, organic baby food, and sew Zannie’s clothes myself.  We would never eat at McDonald’s or buy frozen, prepared foods.   We would never watch tv, or buy Disney princess movies that showed women that they were rather useless until they found their princes.  I was only going to buy wood toys and Waldorf dolls from The Magic Cabin catalog and not one single thing that even remotely resembled a video game. 

I fully admit and state for the record right here and right now that I’ve broken every single one of those rules.  You know why?  Because real life gets in the way.  Zannie was in fetal distress and I had a c-section.  Nursing was difficult and once established I ‘only’ nursed for her 16 months.  Cloth diapers and me were not a match made in heaven and I found that there were great organic baby foods ready for the buying at most any grocery store I went to.  I have yet to sew a dress, and the freezer is fully stocked.  Suzannah fell in love with Elmo at the age of two like he was a rock star.  She has fully embraced the color pink as a lifestyle, not just as a color and adores all Disney princesses.  It hurts my inner hippy, it really does.  But I’ve totally given in come to terms with all of it.   I have softened as I’ve grown up and older and I’m glad for it.  So now, oftentimes while I’m cooking quinoa and local vegetables from the farmer’s market, Zannie is watching Mulan for the 150th time and I’m thinking, “Wow…that Mulan, she really kicks the huns’ ass.” 

I was going to try and be a perfect mom.  I was going to be like my mom in the ways that I had loved.  But, I got over myself one McNugget at a time.  So, while in my last post I found out that I’m a Phat mom, I’d like to think that under all that phat is a groovy mother hen whose heart is tye-dyed. 

I know that my mom would be proud of me and the kind of parent I am if she were still alive.  I keep her alive through lots of the things I teach my girls.  Zannie, at the age of 4 had planted an organic herb garden with me and had put in the red wiggler worms in herself.  She eats spinach and tomatoes straight out of the earth.  She colors outside the line and that is celebrated.  I see that fighting spirit in her that is a result of the example my mom set. I really wish she were still alive to enjoy her granddaughters and to teach them the things that I’m forgetting or too tired or lazy to do.  It would be wonderful to have the three generations of women all together. 

Here’s to you mom.  I do my best to continue on with the things you taught me.  Mostly you taught me that usually the hard way produces the best results.  Don’t waste time.  Always have a project and keep your brain busy.  Read good books and teach yourself how to do stuff.  Don’t read the directions.  I’m trying mom.  Without you here, it’s not as fun, but I’m doing my best.  And I’ve come to accept that my best is good enough.  My girls are proof.

January 28, 2008 at 9:44 pm 33 comments

Reasons for Bottle Feeding


Disclaimer:  I am very much in support of breastfeeding and did so with my daughter Zannie for nearly 18 months which only came to an end when I had surgery and my milk supply went away for good.  When Zannie was born, I spent ten days with a hospital pump and a supplemental nursing system in order to get my milk to come in.  I went to La Leche meetings.  I was into it and so glad I didn’t give up during those first weeks.  So, it is with that in mind that I state the following…

Some People need to bottle feed.  OK?

I live in the land of patchouli and granola girls.  I live in a wonderful community where individuality is celebrated.  I grew up here and I love it here.  But I have to say that I keep getting this double take when people see me feeding Isabel with a bottle.  I ignored it at first, but it keeps happening.  Now it’s beginning to annoy me.  Finally, I think I’ve figured out that what people are reacting to is that Isabel is a small baby and I’m bottle feeding and people are wondering how I could possibly be giving my baby formula.  I was thinking about it and there are many reasons that people might be excluded from breast feeding and so why are we so quick to judge one another?  Is it the mommy wars? (My boobs are better than yours…)  Is it a general feeling of superiority? (Only an idiot would choose not to breast feed…) I mean, really….what is behind that knitted brow I see when you look at me feeding my beautiful baby.  I’m grateful for these bottles.  (PVC-free, natch…)  For the first time in her life, she is getting the nutrition she needs. 

It would have been wonderful if I could have breast fed Isabel.  (For that matter, it would have been wonderful if she could have been breast fed by her first mother too…) Nursing was a wonderful time I had with Zannie and we both miss it.  (She swears she remembers it…)  If Isabel had been a newborn, I might have tried what some adoptive mothers have successfully done and attempted to breast feed.  But, Isabel was 8 months when we brought her home and had only been given those wacky, Russian bottles with n.ipples that let the baby drink 8 oz in about 5 minutes.  I could never replicate that when I was nursing Zannie, let alone in an adoption scenario. 

So, here was my immediate short list of good reasons why mothers bottle feed and I think I might laminate this and hand it out to the more obvious people whose disapproval is rather evident.

Top 10 Reasons For Bottle Feeding Your Baby

(Or, give me a break ok…I’m doing what I need to do to feed my kid)

1. You’ve adopted

2. You’re babysitting

3. You take medication that is contraindicated to nursing

4. It makes your lovely breasts crack and bleed and then your baby screams

5. You had surgery and the anesthesia made your milk supply weak or go away completely. (Happened to me!)

6. Your baby weans herself on her own.  (My friend’s baby refused to nurse after 4 months)

7. Your husband or partner wishes to experience the close bonding that bottle feeding affords to him/her with the baby which is very important.

8. You’re exhausted, haven’t slept in weeks, & not getting any support for breastfeeding or even those around you are against your breastfeeding.

9. There weren’t enough community resources to help you right after giving birth.  Getting your milk to come in is difficult for many women.  Without my lactation consultant, I don’t think I would have been successful in breastfeeding.

10.  And last but not least, sometimes women just decide not to.  And while I absolutely support breastfeeding and think that all women should at least try to breastfeed, it doesn’t mean that if I walk by a mom in a restaurant or a park and I see her feeding her baby with a bottle, that I should whip my head around to make sure if I was seeing right.  Her baby will be fine and is getting proper nutrition from the formula in that bottle.

That’s what I wish would go through other people’s heads when they’re watching me feed my girl.  No, that formula isn’t full of all the incredible goodness of mother’s milk, but the whole time Isabel drinks a bottle, we are looking at each other and she is tapping her fingers on mine and she is curling into me while I’m rocking her gently.  It’s very, very sweet and intimate.  It’s wonderful. Heavenly even. 

I just had to get that out there.  Carry on.

July 6, 2007 at 10:59 pm 18 comments

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