Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Breastfeeding is giraffe

I realize the title of this blog is grammatically incorrect. Stay with me...I'll explain it soon.

Photo by Michael Sheridan.

This will probably be my last post before baby. He is due this weekend, and while I realize babies don't always come on time, I am convinced I won't encounter anything as odd as my recent visit to interview a pediatrician.

In my search for a pediatrician, I set up a few interviews with recommended doctors. Not knowing what to ask, I also downloaded a list of questions from babycenter.com. Having never interviewed a doctor before, the whole arrangement felt strange to me. However, my first doctor interview went very well and was encouraging.

Last week's interview felt more like meeting a politician. Kind of a slimy politician.
We're going with a nature theme here. Slugs are slimy! Leopard slug courtesy of fcps.edu.
He was over a half hour late. I was willing to forgive that because he was probably tending to sick children. Though, he didn't mention his lateness at all. Hmm...

His handshake was a vice grip, like he was he trying to crush the tiny bones in my hand. This may be wrong, but I judge handshakes. Too limp and I think someone is uncomfortable in their skin or with people. Too firm or too much squeeze, I think they have self-confidence issues and want to dominate everyone through their hand. (I don't think about what either of these assumptions means about me. Let's leave self-reflection for another post.)

So that's two strikes against future baby doctor. Not to mention my hand was sore.

I proceeded to ask him a few questions. He gave me stock answers to the basic questions (on call, after hours, email, etc.). Then I asked him if he recommended any parenting books.

"I tell my parents not to read. Rather they should trust their intuition." Okay, so as a doctor he tells people not to read. Also, he had strong objections to the book I was reading as I waited in his office, Nurture Shock. "Nurture," he went on to say, "is inherent. Every person knows how to parent."

Really? Why then do so many people fail? I'm not talking about the people who think they fail. I'm talking about the people who starve their children or beat their children or sell their children or murder their children and leave them in a trash can. They haven't tapped into their nurture instinct. They may not even have it.

Clearly, I don't agree with the doctor. So that's strikes three and four. (As a writer, I am a fan of reading.)

But the final blow came when he interrupted me to say I wasn't going to "try" breastfeeding, I was going to breastfeed without fail. "Every woman can breastfeed. The hospitals make it difficult on women to breastfeed. None of my home birth patients have any trouble breastfeeding. Look at the pictures on my walls. I went to China, I went to Africa, I went to India. There were no lactation consultants. They just did what came naturally when their milk came down. They were all fine. Look at the giraffe'" There is no giraffe on his wall, though he is pointing to one, "Its baby is born and then it suckles. No intervention needed!"

I wanted to stand up and scream crazy demon lady at him that he was lying. One of his patients, who recommended him, had a home birth and needed to call a lactation consultant. Strike Five!
I envision myself as the old demon lady from Legion.
We are also not damn giraffes (no offense to the beautiful creatures) and not all baby mammals and their mammas breastfeed inherently or properly. Some baby animals die because of this. Just like not every child in China, India, or Africa survives. Hence the history of wet nurses. We have supplanted our tribal communities, from which we could have utilized that generational knowledge of breastfeeding or called upon our sisters to help us wet nurse, with lactation consultants and midwives. These aren't sacrifices, they are changes we should embrace.

It was time to go. I stood up and said thank you. He shook my hand again; it felt pulverized. "What are you going to do?" He asked. Never see you again, write a blog about this, rail at your stupidity to my husband. "Um, breastfeed?"

"Yes!" He replied. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

How to: Swaddle

Either, I have a lot of free time on my hands (true) or I am a little obsessed (also, true) with swaddling.

See Exhibit A below.

Poor ET. Not only was he dressed up by Drew Barrymore, tortured by government scientist, and stuffed into the front of a bicycle when he only wanted to get the F* home, he was also my swaddling demo doll. 
A family member asked if I knew how to swaddle. This particular family member has no children and likes to tell me how easy every aspect of baby care is. Of course, I said "Yes, I know how to swaddle. I've done it a bunch of times."

I've never swaddled. But, hey, I've seen it on TV! Or at least in my baby care class video. This time my family member was correct; it is easy. Though, less so on a 20+ year old decaying ET doll.