Breastfeeding in Public – yay or nay?

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I whipped them out in front of the Apple store.  Yup.  That’s right.  I bared my breasts in the middle of the mall.  And I liked it.  And so did the elderly woman sitting next to me.  She actually applauded me.

This was the second time I’d whipped them out in public and BIP’d (insert obnoxious use of mommy blog-o-nym…means breastfeeding in public).  My little love bug got hungry while we were at Whole Foods having a delicious lunch with some visiting friends and my husband.  But does BIP really count at Whole Foods?  I’m not sure it does.  Just like it doesn’t really count when I’m at my mommy group or my breastfeeding group.  Granted, I was in the MOST high traffic area – the tables at the end of the check-out line, closest to the exit, where EVERYONE leaving the store had to walk by.  But, I just think the clientel at Whole Foods is far more accepting of things like breastfeeding – I mean, they’re spending about five times more for everything just to make sure it’s organic!  What is more organic than breastfeeding?  So, anyways, that experience definitely gave me the gusto to whip them out at the Mall…

I share this, though, not to recount my weekend activities.  But, I’ve come to find out that breastfeeding in public is a really controversial topic.  Before having a child I would have never thought twice about this!  Being the feminist I am, I’m really fascinated (ok, pissed off) with people’s thoughts as to why women should cover up or go home to breastfeed their babies.  But let’s be honest, I’m really just hell-bent on doing it to prove that I can.  Yup.  If you tell me I shouldn’t do something just because I’m a woman, I’m going to make darn sure I do it just to show you I can.  But really, folks, weren’t you hanging off your mother’s boob at some point, too?  A little hypocritical, no?  I mean, a kid’s gotta eat when a kid’s gotta eat.

It’s not my problem that you can’t walk by and realize there’s nothing more natural than a baby breastfeeding…that breasts aren’t a sexual organ…that there’s nothing unsanitary about FEEDING my child at the mall (umm, there’s a whole food court full of kids eating – do you walk by and give them the evil eye?).  It’s not my problem that you’ve been programmed to think of women, and women’s breasts, in a hyper-sexualized way.  Or maybe it is my problem.  Maybe that’s why I’m determined to BIP.  So that we can begin to normalize breastfeeding.  I mean, if I didn’t BIP, I’d be at home ALL day – that’s how much my little milk-monster eats!

But before I start sounding all self-righteous, I’ll be honest – I’VE been socialized to feel uncomfortable with breastfeeding…and as much as, ideologically, I believe in our right to BIP, it’s been a bit nerve-wracking and it probably will be for a while.  But that doesn’t mean that I won’t do it…I’m determined to BIP whenever my little love bug wants to eat!

So, what do you mamas think?  Bare it anywhere or barely acceptable?

Yours truly,

MomME

Image from http://www.raisingthefawn.com

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Top 10 mommy “blog-o-nyms”…and how to decode them!

Who knew I would have needed a third degree just to decipher the acronyms that pepper the world of mommy blogs? I wasn’t prepared for this…a trend I’m starting to notice…

I’m no stranger to acronyms. I can pick them up and throw them down with the best of them. I mean, I’m on maternity leave from one of the top non-profits in the country where we practically speak in acronyms. When people join staff we give them a million-pager as part of their on-boarding process. But, where was that one-pager for new moms? Where was the chapter in “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” that told me I’d first need to master a new language before I could extract any shred of information from any one of the thousands of blogs? I’m your typical Type-A, over-achiever and I HATE feeling out of the loop – especially when it’s something I could have prepared for. I mean, if I’d known about these crazy acronyms, I might have made some flash cards. I probably would have color coded them. I definitely would have quizzed myself in the weeks leading up to my due date. Yeah, that’s just the kind of student I am. And yeah, there are that many acronyms that this kind of measure would have been an appropriate action step.

So, ladies, let me share a few of my favorite mommy blog-o-nyms so that YOU don’t have to experience the same outsider-ness that I did when I turned to the web to answer some of my most burning, post-baby questions. Selfishly, too, I’ll probably be obnoxious and use some of these in my future posts and that would be unfair to not provide you the code beforehand! Be sure to read these, and more at the link below, before venturing into the world of mommy blogs:

1. LO = little one
2. DH/DF/DP = dear husband, dear fiance, dear partner
3. BIP/NIP = breast feeding/nursing in public
4. EBF = exclusively breast feeding
5. FF = formula feeding
6. FTM = first time mom
7. SAHM = stay at home mom
8. WOH = work out of home
9. BM = breast milk (but be CAREFUL!! can also mean bowel movement…)
10. EBM = expressed breast milk

Yours truly,
MomME

You can find even more here: http://www.babycenter.com/community-help-abbreviations

All my single ladies…

Unlike B’s club-banger, if you’re a single mom you’re probably NOT up in the club. Most new moms, single or not, can barely make it to the grocery store without forgetting to brush your teeth, let alone get dolled up to hit the club. But I digress – mommy outings aren’t the point if this post.

This afternoon my husband suggested I go take a bath and have some “mommy time.” That small gesture got me thinking. Again, I have the privilige of having someone there 24/7. Bottom line is, single moms, you have my utmost respect.  Hats off to you.  I often hear mothers comment, sometimes lament, that even with a supportive partner the mother often ends up shouldering the most responsibility.  Especially if you’re EBF (I’ve deduced that this means “exclusively breast feeding” – future post to come about the ridiculous world of acronyms that accompany parenting blogs!). But let’s get serious, that’s not the same and single-moms are serious warrior-goddesses.

I’m not going to muse more, frankly, because I can’t begin to know the challenges single-moms face. But this popped into my head and I couldn’t pass the chance to verbalize this.

Rock on, girl.

Yours truly,
MomME

Red lipstick in labor

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My birth plan included red lipstick and fake eyelashes.  I’d even Googled “red lipstick in labor” to see if anyone else was feeling as bold as I was.  Not much luck.  I got a post telling me to wear waterproof mascara – not what I was looking for.    Call me shallow.  Call me narcissistic.  But I called it living out my inner feminist and I was hoping to find another momma who’d shared my gusto.  I mean, at what point in a woman’s life is she more in touch with her inner warrior-goddess than when she’s giving birth?   I wanted to look as radiant, glowing and ferocious on the outside as I felt on the inside.  I was even resolved to do it without meds, something many of my mommy friends raised their eyebrows at.  I mean, my mom did it without meds so I should, surely, be able to do the same right?

When I mentioned my vision of labor – red lips, glam lashes and no meds – I opened up the door to a flurry of strange looks, raised eyebrows and I’m sure many an internal dialogue that friends didn’t verbalize.  These two tenants in my plan seemed to be polar opposites to other folks, but honestly, it wasn’t their labor.  They hadn’t carried this little bundle of joy for nine months.  They weren’t going to try to squeeze something the size of an orange out of something the size of their nostril (proportionately speaking).  So, thanks for the thoughts, y’all, but this is my baby, my vagina, my birth plan and my way 🙂  I was sticking to my guns.  I was going to rock some red lipstick in labor and do it the old-fashioned way…

As much as I champion women who want to rock red lipstick in labor, I’m also a staunch believe that women have the right to change their minds.  And change them again.  Thus, scrawled across the top of my birth plan, in big bold letters, was “This is the plan until I say it isn’t.”  As all of you reading this who have been in labor before know, this is especially true during childbirth.  Labor isn’t really something you can plan.  Let’s be honest, the term “birth plan” is really an oxymoron.  Now, it should be known that I wasn’t THAT naive to think labor would happen exactly according to my plan.  I mean, I’d been to classes, read my Ina May Gaskin book and was totally at peace with the fact that our little love-bug would make his entrance into the world however he saw fit and there wasn’t anything I could do to change that.

I had a flexible mindset regarding labor.  The kicker here, though, was that in my mind “labor” (the intense, screaming, otherworldly experience) occurred at the hospital.  In my mind, we’d lounge about at home in between contractions until they got to 3-4 minutes apart for an hour.  In my mind, and written in my birth plan, I’d have time to take a shower, blow-dry my cute bob, put on my mascara, fake eye lashes and throw on a coat of my favorite MAC Lipglass.

Well, my water broke at 7am on Sunday, February 3rd – a day after my due date.  But, contractions didn’t start right away.  I was thinking, this is what I’d planned – let the lounging and prepping commence.  When I felt my first contraction, I decided it was time to head upstairs and take a shower so I’d be ready when it was time to go in a few hours.  By the time I reached the bathroom, I realized that things were happening a bit faster than anticipated.  Go figure.  I could barely get dressed – the contractions were so intense and left me with no time to recover before the next one hit.  As I stood over my vanity, barely able to put on my Bare Minerals, I was beginning to think that applying my fake lashes might result in me gluing my eyes shut it I attempted them in my current state.  So, I grit my teeth and put on my Bare Minerals until the next contraction hit.  Then I’d walk to the closet, bend over the window seat in pain, and when it was over head back to the vanity to apply the next step in my make-up routine.  If there wasn’t time or physical ability to wear my fake lashes and red lipstick, I was at least going to put on some blush and mascara 🙂  Though it was a bit of a hack-job application, I left the house feeling like the warrior-goddess I was.  I was also feeling pain like I’d never known, but I was a warrior-goddess nonetheless.  To make a short story shorter, we arrived at the hospital in active labor.  I changed my mind – because I had the right to – and requested an epidural.  However, by the time they got it all ready I was 10cm dilated and ready to push.  Back to the original plan it was.  I closed my eyes and imagined my inner warrior-goddess rocking red lips, and pushed.  Several pushes later our little guy was in my arms.

While, in the end, I didn’t rock my red lips and lashes…I don’t look back and think it was silly of me to want that.  For the most part, my “plan” to rock my inner and external warrior-goddess happened in some way, shape or form.  In fact, next baby I might just wake up every day in the days leading up to my due date, and put on my lashes and lips just to make sure I don’t miss the chance again.  I share this not to start a trend of women laboring with red lipstick (though that would be amazing), but because it’s symbolic of my greater beliefs.  Symbolic of our strength as women.  Our beauty – whatever that means to you.  Our agency.  Symbolic of a woman’s right to make choices that are right for HER, and HER alone, at that moment.  Knowing that she might make a different choice in the same situation in the future that doesn’t mean that one choice was right and the other wrong.  So, don’t let anyone talk you out of wearing your proverbial red lipstick.  Whatever your “red lipstick” is, rock it proudly, ladies, and reserve the right to change your mind.

Happy International Women’s Day.

Yours truly,

MomME

photo courtesy of Pinterest here http://pinterest.com/pin/259519997247135810/

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Babies don’t care…

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Do you ever wish your life were more like a fairy tale?  Well mine is.

I don’t say that to sound coy or pretentious.  I say that in full recognition of the fact that I live an incredibly privileged life full of all the material and immaterial things anyone could ever ask for.  My husband and I are high-school sweet-hearts who re-kindled our love after having gone our separate ways in college.  We’ve been dating on and off now for over 14 years and when he proposed in November of 2009 I eagerly said yes.  We were married in January of 2012 on a cold, sunny winter day after a fresh-fallen snow.  Two years and a few weeks after we said “I do”, we welcomed our little bundle of joy into this world.  (It was a far less tranquil arrival than that description alludes to, but I’ll save that for another post…)

But, let’s be honest, babies don’t care about your fairy tale life.  He doesn’t care if you’re wearing your favorite pair of designer jeans or the latest trendy blouse – he’s still going to poop that seedy, breast-milk, pea soup-like poop all over it.  He doesn’t care that your hair look hideous if you don’t shampoo it at LEAST every other day – he’s still going to fuss at the exact moment you’d planned on taking a shower.

But that’s just it – babies don’t care about all the things you once would have worried about.  He doesn’t care if you’re wearing designer jeans and he doesn’t care how greasy your hair is (or even if you have the WORST morning breath in the world when you wake him up with a smothering kiss on his pouty lips).  To him, you’re the sun and the moon.  You represent all that he needs and wants.  You fill his most primal needs.  You are the boob (and wow, did THEY get huge!) that feeds him and the heart beat that lulls him to sleep.

My hope is to to capture all of the messy, stressful, hilarious, joyous and hair-pulling moments that can only happen to a first-time mom in Maine.  And as I write this, my little milk-monster just woke up screeching for the boob!  Alas, duty calls.

Yours truly,

MomME