Breastfeeding came remarkably easily for me with both my second and third children. I was fortunate my milk supply was strong -- perhaps even a bit too strong. Leaking through those useless nursing pads happened on a daily basis. Busy prints, flattering or not, became my uniform and I didn't travel anywhere without a decorative scarf capable of camouflaging whatever excess staining the pads or prints had missed.
I was also working a very part-time, flexible schedule that allowed me, for the most part, to nurse "on demand." And the fact that both my of my younger kids were born in Madison, which I have found to have a very accepting attitude toward public breastfeeding, meant I could take them anywhere without having to worry about finding a private spot or open bathroom stall when either of them got hungry.
I breastfed my younger two not just for the health and bonding benefits, but also because I found unbuttoning my shirt and letting my little person latch on to be a whole lot easier than sterilizing bottles.
Son number one, though, was born in Chicago, which, at least in the late 1990s, wasn't quite so open to the possibility that a nipple might be flashed during a coffee shop feeding. And nursing him was further complicated by the fact that he suffered from an unusual allergy to cow's milk protein. It wasn't direct contact with cows' milk that was causing the problem, but instead an issue with my milk that stemmed from milk products I was ingesting. This meant I had to go dairy-free (very challenging for a cappuccino addict) for months.
And perhaps most difficult for me, since I was worked full-time in an office during his first year, was adapting to the ritual of pumping three times daily. I found it to be messy, uncomfortable and fairly unproductive -- I could never seem to get more than two or three ounces expressed, total, at a time.
So when my oldest was around nine months old, I gave in and began to allow my babysitter to supplement during the day with bottles of soy (he couldn't drink dairy, of course) formula. It wasn't so much that I couldn't keep up the pumping...I just didn't want to. I was tired of missing meetings and having milk leak all over my dry-clean-only blouses. I was looking for an excuse to not have to work so hard to feed my precious little guy.
So when I saw last week's Isthmus article on adoptive moms who choose to breastfeed, I was astounded. Not just by the fact that it was medically possible (I never paid much attention in biology class), but also by the lengths to which these women went to guarantee their much-longed-for infant received both the health and bonding benefits of nursing.
These women use Supplemental Nursing Systems (SNS)-- a bottle with tubes that can be taped to the nipple to provide additional milk while the baby is feeding. They tape and untape at every feeding, which means, basically, every hour on the hour. Now, that's sacrifice.
And these moms try medications, like birth control pills, and experiment with herbs that are known to enhance milk supply. There is no way I could have remembered to take a medication every day in the haze of infant parenting (which is probably one contributing factor to the fact I have three children).
But most impressive to me, these mamas pump and pump -- the bane of my existence with my first-born -- religiously. And I am guessing joyfully, as well. And to think I complained about having to do the extra laundry milk-stained shirts entailed?
Even though I didn't pay attention during class in high school, adoptive moms, you've taught me something really important about biology. In this case, that it makes certain aspects of parenting much easier and not something I should have taken for granted. And, I am truly humbled, by all you do to give your babies the beauty of breastfeeding.comments powered by Disqus
I think the first time in recent years that I've felt a real sense of shame, as both a parent and community member, was last Tuesday evening as I sat in a crowded elementary school LMC to listen to Ken Taylor, executive director of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, and his colleague, Torry Wynn, present key findings from the 2013 Race to Equity report to our PTO group.
It's Wednesday morning at Allis Elementary School on Madison's east side, and 16 third-graders " 10 boys and six girls " enter into an open-space classroom in typical wiggly, giggly style. Some are making goofy faces at one another, some are bouncing around hand-in-hand with friends, and others are just trying to stay out of the whirling-dervish path of activity.
Of the 789 poorly-composed, way-too-dark and out-of-focus photos currently living on my iPhone, I can count on two hands the number that show my kids and me together. And my husband is in probably no more than three or four of those.
Something kind of magical has happened these past two weeks during the Sochi Olympics. There is no question, debate or disagreement on what will be watched on television once all homework is done. Everyone in the family makes time to sit down together to watch an hour of so of the primetime televised games.
Truth be told, though, this month I'm feeling a bit cinematically fried. In some ways, I already feel like I've spent the last week or so at a film festival. A festival specializing in minute-long glimpses of ordinary lives all ending with credits that feature the ubiquitous blue thumbs-up. Yes, it's been the February of the Facebook movie.
Just last week, on precisely the same day the Momastery post was getting over a million well-deserved views, Madison mom Suzanne Buchko was telling a similar story. Not on a blog but instead in the confines of the modestly circulated Franklin-Randall Elementary School weekly newsletter.
Late last month, the Madison Metropolitan School District adopted a five-year, $27.7 million technology plan calling for all district students, including those in the primary grades, to have significantly increased access to their very own tablet or notebook computer by 2019. Some parents, as well as education professionals, questioned whether elementary-aged kids, especially kindergarteners who aren't even able to read or write yet, will gain much benefit from introducing yet another screen into their lives.
This past Monday, had winter's unrelenting weather allowed, Middleton Cross Plains School District teacher Andrew Harris would have once again been at the helm of a classroom. After nearly four years of fighting his dismissal from Glacier Creek Middle School for viewing and passing on sexually explicit material on district computers, MCPSD has been legally forced to reinstate Herris, this time as a seventh-grade science teacher at Kromrey Middle School.
In a study published last week by the National Bureau of Economic Research, academics have found that the 16 and Pregnant series may have played a significant role in the recent decrease in U.S. teen pregnancies.
In our house, sad but true, we've rarely spent the Martin Luther King holiday discussing race, social justice or the power of non-violent civil disobedience. Instead, the third Monday in January has historically been treated as just another day off school, just another long weekend. And it's been a missed opportunity.
It's not something that happens very often, but last Friday, as news of the impending arctic cold snap reached our house, my kids were rooting for Governor Scott Walker. They were rooting for him to take Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton's lead and cancel school throughout the state. They couldn't care less if he had the authority to do such a thing -- if he called off school, he'd be their hero.
Late last semester, as students were packing up their backpacks one final time before winter break, Middleton High School principal Denise Herrmann and assistant principal Lisa Jondle were co-authoring a note home to parents informing them of a widespread cheating scandal involving nearly 250 calculus students at the school.
Breathe in, breathe out. Have you ever been in the heat of a parenting moment with these words ringing through your head? Then you're on the right path toward mindful parenting.
The week between Christmas and New Year's is famous for all sorts of things. Malls are packed with folks exchanging those holiday sweaters that don't fit just right. It's the week those same folks pledge to never again eat another frosted sugar cookie or candy cane (hence the sweater issues). It's also the week the media saturates the public with dozens of "Best of Year" lists.
This will not (although it could) be a treatise on the value of "alone time" for a healthy marriage, though. Nor will it be an ode to how nice it was for me to have a few days off from lunch-packing, carpool-driving and homework-nagging.
For those of you who haven't yet seen it, the eight-week-long transit campaign, placed both inside and on the outside of buses, features a photo of an orange tabby with a stainless steel bar drilled into its head accompanied by the line "I am not lab equipment. End UW cat experiments!" Just as PETA hopes, the image is shocking and demands an immediate response.
If I had my druthers, I'd sit out the entire shopping week that follows Thanksgiving. Black Friday, for starters, has corrupted the fine art of bargain shopping and turned it into a gladiator sport. There is no percentage off that is worth losing sleep, or even worse an eye, over. Especially if you have kids in tow.
When you shop for toys, there is always the conflict between what you think is appropriate/adorable and what the child being shopped for might actually want/play with.
Many of the pop-culture seasonal touchpoints of my youth are completely lost on my kids. You see, while I may have memorized every word to both the Snow Miser and the Heat Miser's songs from The Year Without a Santa Claus, I'm pretty sure the only Rankin-Bass stop-motion Christmas special my kids have ever seen has been Rudolph.
I am so thrilled that the United Way is sponsoring a Teen Gift Drive this holiday season. Sure, teen "wants" often aren't as fun to shop for as precious baby dolls and sweet Lego sets. But middle and high school kids still "need" to feel valued and loved during this time of year. And helping a family in need to provide this for their child is a wonderful way to get in the spirit.