Thursday 11 October 2007


I really wish magic 8 balls worked.

Or that all baby books and articles and studies said the same thing.

Or that "right answers" fell out of the sky.

Because then these no-win issues wouldn't exist.

It seems that no matter how much I read about vaccinations, I just don't get any further ahead, any closer to that one perfect "correct" answer.

On the one hand, I can continue to delay my son's vaccinations and to be selective about which ones he gets in the first place. I'm very fortunate to have a doctor who accepts this without question or objection. But how would I feel if my son ended up with a vaccine-preventable disease? And is it really fair to take advantage of everyone else's vaccinations?

On the other hand, I can have the vaccinations done. I can allow the doctor to inject them into my baby. And then I can hope and pray that he isn't adversely affected by them, and constantly wonder whether this or that is a result of the vaccines.

Either way, I'm gambling. Either way, I take a risk with my son's health, with his life. It feels like either way, I lose.

My perfect little baby boy is napping a few feet away from me, blissfully unaware that on Tuesday, when he turns six months old, we will go see the doctor and once again his mom will say no, not today, we're still delaying. No, not today will we inject him with substances that could have lasting negative effects on his health and development. No, not today will we increase his protection against this, that, and the other. What does that make us? Good? Bad? Thoughtful? Negligent?


I know there probably is no right answer here. But for now, I'm doing what I think is best, after months of research. I'm continuing to delay. In the meantime, I'm breastfeeding, the bit of protection I can give him without worry. I'll keep delaying until I feel it's time to do otherwise - and maybe that day simply won't ever come.

Monday 1 October 2007

Ode to Breasts

I have a much deeper appreciation for breasts now that I have a child.

(I also have much bigger breasts. Bonus!)

The subject arises after a brief conversation with an online friend who feels that breastfeeding is one of those weird hippie things to do, much the same as homeschooling or using apple cider vinegar as a facial toner. She has no intention of breastfeeding her babies.

As I was thinking about it later that day, I was struck with the utter uselessness of breasts if you refuse to use them to feed your babies!

That's what they're there for.

(I shared this sentiment with my husband, who looked at me with those big sad puppy dog eyes and said, "is that all they're for??" I conceded that yes, okay, they're also playthings for husbands. That perked him right back up.)

I just don't understand not wanting to use your breasts for their intended purpose. It's like refusing to use your eyes to see things or your nose to smell things. Can you imagine if we walked around with our noses plugged, only using them as sexual objects?? Foolishness, that's what it is.

Likewise, though slightly less so, the myriad of mothers who "wean to formula" when their child reaches that magical six months. As though something happens to your milk to make it utterly worthless and void of all nutrition the day your child turns six months old. Why substitute formula when the good stuff's right there? It's wonderful and admirable that you made it six months - keep going!

And then - of all places! - churches that discourage breastfeeding. A church should recognize the God-given purpose of breasts. I am so grateful to belong to a very baby-friendly church where I am free to breastfeed my baby in my pew in the middle of the sermon and often see other mothers doing the same thing. I keep my baby with me the entire time and have never had anyone "politely hint" that there's a nursery for babies.

Oh, but my distractible babe! Our mid-sermon nursing sessions go something like this (as far as I imagine it):

"Mommy...Mommy...Mommy! Mommy! Gimme mommy milk! Milk! Mom! Now! Mmm, mommy milk, mmm, mmm. Oh look, a fly! Mmm, mommy milk. Hey, did someone sniffle? Can't see anything, back to the boob juice. Woah, a sneeze! I wonder if I should cry? No, no, Mommy seems pretty certain that things are okay, crisis averted, back to the good stuff. Ooh, Daddy moved, gotta check that out...okay, nothing exciting, back to - hey! Mommy! Gimme back that breast! Don't put it away! I'll pay attention this time, honest! Mommeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!" *belch*

So, you see, it's not even that he's a nice inconspicuous public nurser. Not in the least.

I so love being able to breastfeed my son. I feel awful for those mothers who truly want to and try everything in their power to make it work but just can't. But that's a far cry different from those who simply won't.

When my son was only a few days old, it morbidly occurred to me that if I knew my son and I had only a few more minutes together (end of the world, certain death, impending separation, what have you), I would want to spend those few minutes breastfeeding him. It is (during his less distractible sessions) our quiet bonding time. He is happy, content, peaceful. He snuggles in, grabs my breast with both hands, sometimes pats one hand gently against my neck. I love his grin-around-the-breast when I smile down at him. It is our peaceful way of drifting off to sleep at night and before naps.

There is simply nothing else in our day that makes him so content and makes me feel so much like a Mother.