Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Nonnies and Art

I am a strong advocate for breastfeeding mothers and the babies who so need to be nursed.  I am a strong opponent of formula companies, who manipulate, throw money at doctors and hospitals, and all around do whatever they can to turn a buck, even though doing so is absolutely harmful to babies.  Formula was created for emergency situations when no real baby milk was available.  Formula companies then went on a rampage, a campaign to create as many "ohhh, baby can't nurse, let's make money" situations as possible.  Which is why such ridiculous things as "baby's allergic to mother's milk" (barring galactosemia, which is very rare, that's just not true), "baby isn't thriving" (formula companies create the growth charts that show the naturally slower growth of breastfed babies as "failure to thrive"), and "mom's just not making enough milk" (breastfeeding is supply and demand--give formula, and milk supply goes DOWN) have become common to our society.

To learn more about common breastfeeding myths, click below:

Before you think I'm downing women who don't breastfeed, think again.  I'm downing a medical establishment that gives women crappy information, a formula industry that absolutely misleads the public, and a society that has so sexualized and objectified women's breasts that using them to feed babies is considered nothing short of scandalous.  As someone who has both held a bottle and breastfed a baby, the difference is clear and deep.  I don't despise women who've missed out on that--my heart breaks for them.  I wish the doctors, the nurses, their families, their friends, and their community had risen up in support with accurate information and helped them to put those formula companies back where they belong--providing emergency sustenance for babies who have no other options (even donor milk).

No one I knew (hubby aside, of course) was particularly supportive when I decided to breastfeed.  I knew it was something I would do because it's the normal, healthy, natural way to feed a baby, and nothing else begins to compare.  I wanted to do what was right for my child.  Period.  It's not that "breast is best."  It's that "breast is normal, natural, and healthy."  Formula is none of those things.

When I first started nursing, it was tough.  I'd had an emergency c-section (after almost two days labor), and things went downhill from there.  We managed to take care of latch issues in the hospital, but then my incision ruptured, and then I wound up in the ER with a pulmonary embolism.  Practical upshot?  Pump and dump for a week because of the radioactive isotope used for the lung perfusion.  Getting back to nursing after a week of artificial nipples that early on?

That was tough.

Yes, I had pumped around the clock to keep my supply up, but I had a cheap, nipple-thrashing grocery store pump (these days, my insurance would cover a GOOD breast pump AND a lactation consultant, THANK YOU, PRESIDENT OBAMA!), and wound up pumping milk PINK with blood by the end of the week.  My nipples were cracked and miserable, and the pain when I finally was able to put my boy back to the breast was indescribable.  Think lemon juice and sandpaper.  On personal spots.

While this was going on?  My mother, who had steadfastly refused to lend me the 40 bucks for a good manual pump (an Advent Isis), piped up with an eager offer to pay for formula, telling me I'd tried so hard but it was okay, that I could stop trying.  I'm sure that my sister's failure to nurse had nothing at all to do with Ma's gleeful offers to supply us with formula.  

And my sister?  Lots of outward, "Oh, hey, cool, mmm-hmm" and a lot of snide, utterly unsupportive stuff around the edges (like spending every Sunday breakfast going on and on about how disgusting her mother-in-law was for nursing past one year).  But hey, she failed, she knew she'd failed, she failed for a crappy reason (not wanting to give up her caffeinated sodas), and she knew it.  That she even tried to act supportive is something.  I think she wanted to be supportive even if she didn't feel it.

My husband's family?


Let's just say that the overwhelming opinion there was "ew."  Yes, "ew."  It's one thing to be ill-informed and make mistakes because of it--we all do that.  But to strenuously defend your ignorance in the face of overwhelming evidence?  Well, there's a word for that.  A bunch of them, in fact.  Like they say, when you KNOW better, you DO better.

Or you just pretend you don't know better.  You pretend better is gross.

One night, hubby went over to his sister's for some family thing or another.  I was still recovering from the blown c-section incision, so I was home.  My father-in-law was dawdling our boy on his knee, bouncing about, when up came a bit of blat.  Father-in-law laughed, said, "Oh, I've been spat up on by a whole lot of babies in my time--it's just formula!"  Hubby grinned and said, "That's breastmilk."

Father-in-law nearly dropped our boy in his disgusted rush to get it off him.

That was my support system.  People who didn't care, people who wanted me to fail for weird "family politics" reasons, and people who were disgusted by breastfeeding.

I did it anyway.

While we're on the subject of breastfeeding, if you ever find yourself, for any reason, feeling the need to throw out some insult that describes women who nurse (and shame on you for that)?  Don't make it "nipple Nazi," okay?  One, it's stupid, and two?

It's too soon.  I think it's always going to be too soon to compare a maniacal freak who oversaw the murder of millions to ANYONE who isn't also overseeing genocide.  Okay?


Talked to my Dad today.  I do enjoy talking to him, it's fun, and it's interesting.  We talked about a lot of things, our conversations always range over a broad array of topics.  Our politics sometimes merge, often don't, but we're good at staying out of the hairy stuff.  Not sure why that's so hard for some folks.  Today, we talked about my Mom's car accident and how my Dad, who was busy helping run a military base in Saudi Arabia, had to get himself smuggled out of the region because, same day my Mom was broadsided by a drunken teen, Israel and Egypt went at each other.  It took almost two weeks for him to get back to the States, and it involved him sometimes having to pretend to be things he wasn't.  Very cloak-and-dagger/action-adventure.

We also talked about playing guitar, and how the both of us had tried so hard at different times to learn, but just don't have it in us.  Then he said, "I've still got this damned electric acoustic here--I'm about to drag it to Goodwill."  Without even thinking, I said, "Whoa, are you serious?  Send it here for my boy!"

Bad form, I know.  It was out of my mouth before I knew it.  But my boy would LOVE to have an electric acoustic, and it's out of our range.  My Dad didn't say what kind this is, but he said it ran him around 400 bucks a few years ago, so it's probably a nice enough instrument. He says he's going to look into packing it up with UPS and shipping it.  Thank you, Dad.  Sorry I'm such a slob.

We also discussed a statue he just bought of the Capitoline Wolf suckling Remus and Romulus (speaking of breastfeeding, huh?).  Apparently, he had a version when he and my Mom were married, but has no idea what became of it.  I don't think I remember it.  I might, there's a tickle there, but nothing I can grab.  

This is exactly the piece my Dad purchased

We also discussed a pair of large-ish (maybe 3x2) paintings he and my Mom purchased in Europe back in the early 60s.  One of a hill beyond a swamp, with a fence post and some grasses, the other of a windmill on a hillside.  These painting are a big part of my childhood, I loved them even though I have no clue what they REALLY looked like--years of heavy smoking made them markedly darker and more morose-seeming than they likely really were.  Sadly, flood after flood in my Mom's basement left the swamp picture, ironically, water damaged and, eventually, molding.  We left the poor, molding swamp pic in Utah, but we brought the other with us.  The artist's name, my Dad says, was Wolfgang Stau.  He was the "company artist" when my Dad was stationed . . . somewhere in Europe, I've forgotten.
I have no doubt that, cleaned, the colors would be much more vibrant

Someday, I'll have the money to have this painting repaired and framed.  Until then, it hangs in my husband's office.  We love it.

And that's about it for today.  I really don't have much political or otherwise to say (well, there is Utah kicking around letting folks carry concealed WITHOUT a permit, but jeez, only so much I can type in one sitting).  So that's it--I hope y'all are having a wonderful day, and I hope tomorrow is even better.

Cross your fingers those fools on the hill get a budget going before they put my husband out of work with a shutdown, huh?  A budget that doesn't include the petty, pissy, childish "full repeal of OBAMACARE" BS.

And there.  There's the politics.  G'night!

Do not reprint without permission. © KAQ

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