This is a bad week for breastfeeding. I just read that a judge has rejected a Harvard student and breastfeeding mother's request to be given a pumping break during her nine hour medical licensing exam. (A medical exam no less!) The AOL report I read includes a poll and at the moment the majority of readers are agreeing with the judge. So sad. This + Bill Maher = serious disconnect between much of the country and the reality of breastfeeding mothers. I think even those who consider themselves supportive of breastfeeding really DO NOT understand what it takes. And the only way they will is to institute some kind of basic national education campaign that doesn't JUST talk about the benefits of breastfeeding but literally explains how milk supply and demand works. It's sort of pathetic to have to get to this. But I can't see any way around it.
How about this: From now on ALL HIGHSCHOOL STUDENTS are taught how breastfeeding works in either sex education or ninth grade biology. Take your pick. But make it mandatory. It's too exhausting for us to have a debate with a public that just doesn't know the facts.
oh, bill. I have to say, i never liked you much. I guess I'm just suspicious of smart guys who don't seem to like smart women. But still, I never expected this. And Ceridwen, who watches you every week, felt truly betrayed. Apparently none of your bright young writers learned much about breastfeeding up there in Boston. Why should they, since it's a subject roundly dismissed by anyone who isn't directly faced with lactation. But a little homework would have been helpful. If someone had researched, you could have saved yourself the vitriol of many. Look, we know you're not into the kid thing. That much is clear. It's one thing to prefer your own relationships unencumbered by the burdens of reproduction, and another thing to publicly seethe with derision at those who choose to litter the world with their offspring. If you consider procreation a narcissistic act, fine. Say that, instead of foisting the blame on women who are fighting for their reasonable, legal rights: rights which are too often still challenged, no thanks to people like you. Your rant was bald misogyny, and it told us a lot more about you than we wanted to know.
Bill Maher on public breastfeeding, from YouTube (skip to middle at 2:59):
I am obsessed with Roger Federer. I sit in front of the TV talking about the many, many ways in which the man just gets it right. Look at those other players, grunting, cursing, futzing with their shirts, grabbing towels every five seconds, adjusting what seem to be costume pirate bandanas on their heads. And over on the other side is Federer, calmly and sweatlessly crushing in his elegantly tailored black togs. He doesn't have a coach. He doesn't need to discuss an opponent's game “for an hour,” he says he can size it up in "15 seconds." Then at the end of the match he’s charming, gracious and humble. What does this have to do with motherhood? More than you might think.
We’re a generation of over-coached parents. How can we trust our instincts when we are bombarded with so many opinions and conflicting data? Getting just the right amount of information in the age of information might just be the key to success. Federer is not without coaching. He has had the best training. But then at a certain point he walked away. And let himself be the authority. When you trust yourself you’re less likely to screw up. Or second guess. And you’re more likely to feel great about what you’ve accomplished. So if we are to apply to the Fed Factor to parenting it would go like this:
• Information and opinions should be in service of your instincts. Read the basic spread of info and walk away. Your ability to adapt and think on your feet will be undermined if there are too many voices in your head.
• Never be smug about success. Accept that as a mother you are never “done.”
You won the Grand Slam today (the baby slept through the night), but there are other Grand Slams (nights) to come.
• Acknowledge your work. Fed is not afraid to say “I played really well.” There’s no false modesty. There’s no, gee wiz. You are working hard. Own it!
• Wear clothes that fit. You are busy (playing the US Open/raising kids), you should not have to deal with a wedgie.
Fresh off the family Mac and onto YOUTUBE, Brooklyn pre-teen band, The Care Bears on Fire have released their new video !
Ahh... the skateboarding, the hipster kids, the basement in the 3 million dollar brownstone are all so easy to mock and, well, envy. But come on! I listened to "Kids in America" as a pre-teen and wore new wave boatnecks. And I performed. It was Annie Get Your Gun rather than the Gun Club, but still the 8th graders I partied with were all about putting on a show. Aw shucks, it's such an innocent time- right before the other (adolescent and crushingly self-conscious) shoe drops! Makes perfect sense and frankly the Care Bears are WAY sweeter to these ears than The Sun'll Come Out Tomorrow. AND music is marketed to kids! Why not let them in on the action? OK,that's my defense. Somehow I felt I needed to mount it even though the kid rock trend is doing just fine without me.
It was a struggle to get past the opening paragraph (when will it stop being necessary to describe the streets of Park Slope as clogged with mothers and nannies? Can we just slap a stroller symbol onto that part of Brooklyn in the next version of the MTA map and be done with it?). But I powered through and was rewarded with that trademark Modern Love Aggravation. This week's Urban Agita subject: saying I love you to babies. I have a vague memory of feeling a little dopey saying I love you to my son at first, so I get what the author is saying. I'm actually just as interested in the phenomenon of the "Wheels on the Bus" lyric evolution as anything else. I always thought it was kind of nasty that the moms had to spend their bus rides trying to shut their kids up. But the kindler, gentler version (more apropos to the current mommy model) apparently has its down sides too.
We went to a beautiful country fair in Maine this weekend, and while Alfred was thrilled with the rides and cotton candy....
... I found myself drawn to other "attractions."