Category Archives: WTF

Sometimes You Just Gotta Wear a Medal at Your Desk

***4/16/15 BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: Express Medals TOTALLY gets it and just sent me a 10% off code to share. Really, no excuses left.  http://expressmedals.refr.cc/4SLV364 ***

You guys all know I wrote a book that is coming out in September, because, well, I talk about it a lot. Sorry; I’m super excited. Anyway, this is relevant today because as part of that process, I submitted my book to the Axiom Business Book Awards. I had no idea if it was a big deal or if they would even consider a book about pumping breastmilk to be a “business book,” but I figured, what the hell.

A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by the folks at Axiom to tell me that Work. Pump. Repeat. had won the silver in the women’s business books category. I was pretty excited, especially since this Axiom thing looks legit. Winners in other categories include Walter Isaacson (the guy who wrote the big Steve Jobs bio) and motivational speaker Tony Robbins. I didn’t think much of it beyond that, though, probably because someone peed or spilled yogurt on me at that moment. And then…

…a big white package arrived in the mail. It included a certificate from Axiom (I am SURE I will remember where I put that thing…crap…) AND a huge silver medal on a blue ribbon. YOU GUYS, THE MEDAL HAS LATIN WORDS ON IT. It’s kinda heavy. This is a LEGIT medal. Also, apparently “laurus lego erudito” means “success through knowledge.”

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I decided on the spot that it had been WAY too long since I’d had my own medal. Like, middle-school-too-long, and that was for making a scale model of a Medieval castle (I had a LOT of friends in middle school). So now my medal lives on my desk, and when I’m having a particularly crappy work day – or, alternately, when I’m having a great day and just did something awesome – I wear my medal.

Continue reading Sometimes You Just Gotta Wear a Medal at Your Desk

Taking Back the Village

Last year, I wrote a post about being kicked out of a so-called breastfeeding support group on Facebook for asking for advice on gently weaning my 13-month-old daughter. It was a sad experience – one that really depressed me about the state of the breastfeeding wars, and about how even our attempts to re-create the village of maternal support can go horribly wrong.

Well, fast-forward almost a year (my baby girl is turning TWO next month!). I discovered this weird spam-esque inbox on my personal facebook account. (If you’re curious, go to your Facebook inbox and look for a tab called “Other”. That’s where messages from people who are not your FB friends end up.) It was a year-old message from a stranger, all about the Great Getting My Ass Kicked Out of a Breastfeeding Group on Facebook. And this message made me SO happy, I just had to share it. This total stranger came and found me on the internet to tell me she supported me and had my back and is part of my village. Oh my God, yes. THIS IS MOTHERHOOD. THIS IS SISTERHOOD. You have to read it.

Continue reading Taking Back the Village

Does breastfeeding protect you from postpartum depression?

My wonderful friend Ellie Stoneley, a popular blogger based in the UK (and a Bruce Springsteen fanatic, which won this Jersey girl’s heart straight off), wrote a piece this week that has gotten love from both HuffPo and UNICEF. In essence, Ellie notes a recent study that found that PPD “is more than double in women who planned to breastfeed and then were unable to, whereas the women who planned to breastfeed and then did are 50% less likely to be affected.”

Ellie goes on to talk about how essential it proved to be that she prepared for breastfeeding, through classes and reading, before the birth of her lovely little sprite Hope, and how important postpartum support was. She advocates strongly that every woman, in every country, have ready access to ongoing support in the early weeks and months of her baby’s life, because, let’s all say it together: BREASTFEEDING MIGHT BE NATURAL, BUT IT AIN’T EASY.

Ellie’s piece resonated with me on a lot of levels, and I am so proud of her for advocating for something that ALL women and babies, of all socio-economic levels, everywhere, need and deserve.  But it also got me thinking that something continues to be missing from this conversation. (I can say this, knowing that Ellie will have my back!)

Continue reading Does breastfeeding protect you from postpartum depression?

Breastfeeding Confidential: What “They” Are Not Telling Us…and Why?

I just got off the phone with a friend who is three weeks into her first baby. She was eating breakfast while talking to me, her baby asleep on her chest in the baby-wearing-thingie, dropping crumbs into the baby’s hair as we talked. She sounded happy – exhausted, but happy, and as at ease with being a first-time mother as one could expect.

All that changed when we started talking about breastfeeding. “I can’t leave the house,” she told me. “My husband is great and keeps telling me to go take a break, take a walk, whatever. But all I hear in my head, the whole time I’m gone, is the baby screaming with hunger. What if she gets hungry before I get back? I hate being the only way she can get food.”

GOD, I have been there. Being someone’s sole source of nutrition is one of the most physically and mentally taxing temporary jobs I have ever taken on. You get your “break” and all you do is stress that the baby got hungry before the normal feeding time, and next thing you know you’re texting your husband constantly – or worse, cutting your massage (side-lying, because your boobs hurt too much to lie on your front) or pedicure or coffee with a friend short and racing home to bring your boobs back within firing range of the baby’s mouth.

So, this friend and I got to talking through learning to use her pump, then beginning to build up a stash of milk by pumping once a day, immediately after the morning feeding. We talked about giving the baby a single ounce of formula to make sure she could tolerate it, and then having the can of formula on hand in case of absolute emergency and for some mental relief that there is a back-up method if it’s needed. We talked through introducing a bottle to the baby, and how she shouldn’t freak out if it didn’t go well at first (when my son first seemed to be rejecting the bottle, I went immediately to a dark place of I’m Never Going to Be Able to Go Back to Work, I’m Going to Be Tied to This Baby Until College). These tactics, together, create a tiny space for independence: get to the end of the pedicure, sip the cup of coffee slowly, take an extra loop around the block with the dog. Little victories that can lead to bigger ones later. And, for working mothers, these things also set up skills and resources for the back-to-work bonanza.

In the midst of this conversation, the second big thing my friend said to me rang just as true: “Why don’t any of the books tell me how to do this?” I asked her what she meant specifically, and she replied, “You know, they say ‘start pumping to save up milk for when you go back to work’ – but they don’t ever say HOW to do that. They say ‘introduce the bottle’, but they don’t tell you what that’s going to be like. You’re just totally on your own.”

Continue reading Breastfeeding Confidential: What “They” Are Not Telling Us…and Why?

I’m Ready To Wean My Baby, And I Need Your Support

I’ve decided it’s time to wean my daughter off breastfeeding. She turned one this week, and it was a breastfeeding milestone I never thought I would reach. And now, I’m ready to stop.

I’m ready to stop because breastfeeding exhausts me: emotionally, physically, mentally. For me, it is a blessing but a huge challenge.

I’m ready to stop because I work full-time, which means I have to make time to pump breast milk during every single work day, and this is not easy. In the past year, I’ve been on a dozen business trips, which involve incredible planning and logistics to leave enough milk at home, and to pump and travel with dozens of ounces of milk.

I’m ready to stop because while I love the bond that nursing created, it’s exhausting to be the sole source of a baby’s milk. It means that every decision – see a friend, work late, exercise (just kidding!) – requires an extra set of plans about how long I’ll be away, whether I’ll need my pump, whether I will have a private place to pump, whether I will need a cooler and ice packs, and what I need to wear to get access to my boobs.

I’m ready to stop because breastfeeding is starting to keep me from other great things about parenting a small child. I watched my husband this morning, laughing with the kids. I spent the first 20 minutes of the day nursing, so while he was playing, I was showering, shoving breakfast in my mouth, and making my son’s lunch before work. Sometimes I want to be the one to play with the baby while someone else sorts out, you know, nourishing her.

Continue reading I’m Ready To Wean My Baby, And I Need Your Support

Has Breast Is Best Jumped The Shark?

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I’m a working mother of two small children, and I’ve breastfed them both. In fact, I’m currently somewhere in the middle of breastfeeding my second child, who has cut two teeth recently and knows how to use them, so we’ll see how much longer this continues. And it’s been interesting, being alive and mothering and breastfeeding during a time of historically high intrusion into women’s nutrition relationships with their babies. I’m not a breastfeeding crusader – quite the contrary, actually. I’ve found the whole situation to be exhausting and crazy and difficult. I’ve never participated in a “nurse-in” (a whole bunch of women nursing their babies in public to prove a point). I am already sad about how fast my baby seems to be growing up, but I look forward to the day when I am not the source of her nutrition. I’m just kind of middle-of-the-road on this whole thing.

But I care about how our culture treats women, and there is one specific dynamic that I’ve been tracking, and been bothered by, in that way where you can’t put your finger on what bothers you, and you turn it over and over in your mind, until one day in the shower it hits you. So here it is:

The “breast is best” thing has totally jumped the shark. I understand, and applaud, and am grateful for, the early crusading work of women who have fought the fight to make sure that breastfeeding is promoted, valued, and legally protected – because there was a time when it was none of these things.

Continue reading Has Breast Is Best Jumped The Shark?

Nursing Moms Have All The Fun

In a recent piece on The Shriver Report, I talked about the awkward necessity of discussing your breasts, at least obliquely, with your boss. (That is, if you plan on working and breastfeeding. Otherwise, maybe don’t bring them up in conversation.) This discussion is a necessary evil: You have to use a machine to pump milk from your breasts, and in most cases you need your boss’ buy-in (or at least blind eye) to do that.

But, did you know that when you’re breastfeeding, you get to talk about your breasts with many, many more people? In study after study, researchers have focused on the health benefits of breastfeeding to child and mother. Why are none of these scientists pointing out the enhanced social opportunities that breastfeeding triggers? Unsolicited questions, judgments, and opinions represent yet another unsung benefit of breastfeeding, and it’s time we started celebrating them.

Some of the people you will discuss your breasts with are boring, obvious types, like doctors and lactation consultants and your spouse. Yawn.

But some of these people are much more fun and exciting – people with whom you would never otherwise get the opportunity to discuss your body! They include (but are not limited to):

  • curious/nosy/inappropriate co-workers
  • strangers who want to judge, shame, or sometimes effusively praise you for nursing in public
  • your mother or mother-in-law, who keeps asking when you’re going to stop
  • acquaintances who ask you things like “are you going to breastfeed until she goes to college?”

 

Continue reading Nursing Moms Have All The Fun