Thursday, February 26, 2009

More on Nursing In Public

Crazy week. You people LOVE that Belly Bandit, don't you? It's all Bob and I can do to ship those puppies out and keep them in stock.

But I've been watching the comments on my previous post with interest, and thought the best thing to do would be to clarify my personal, not-at-all-humble opinion on the matter.

Here goes:

Yes, it’s a sin that American culture is so uptight that you’ll be asked to leave a room while breastfeeding, but you’ll never be asked to leave that same establishment if you hit your child. Go figure. Someone else, somewhere else, said the most helpful thing you can do to advocate breastfeeding is simply to nurse everywhere. I do. And I mean, everywhere. I pride myself on the fact that even friends who tought I was a freak for nursing a toddler (or, heavens forbit, nursing twins!) comment on how they’re never visually offended (thanks … I think).
  • While brings us to Style Tip Number One: Never, ever let them see your nip. Breasts are beautiful. And a nursing breast is doing what nature and God intended. But you’ll be doing a huge service to American babies (who are breastfeed less than almost any other industrialized nation’s babies, even though it’s the best thing for them) if you can nurse in public without showing the dreaded areola. Remember the Seinfeld where Elaine loved her sexy Christmas card picture and its attendant cleavage — until it was revealed her nipple was revealed? Same principle applies here. How can you do this? Keep reading.
  • Dress for nursing. Seems a simple enough concept, but even I was caught having to half take off a dress at Cameron’s first pediatrician visit in order to feed him (a good doctor, like mine, will want to see that baby is nursing properly).
  • Don’t do a striptease. People are confused enough about the sexualized nature of breasts without seeing you slowly (quickly?) unbuttoning your suit to access the desperately needed milk.
  • Pull up, not down. If you lift your shirt, baby’s body and head should cover your lower half, and your raised shirt should mostly cover his head and top half of your breast. Opening a shirt or dress from the top just leaves you exposed. My personal rule is, if your breast is bigger than baby’s head (mine was for a long time) never leave it hanging.
  • Turn your back for the tough part. Latching on, especially in the beginning, can take a minute, so turn away until everything’s working (but not in shame, you’re feeding your child, for God’s sake) and rejoin the conversation.
  • Maintain eye contact. Once you’ve gotten a lot of practice, you can reach under, unsnap the bra, latch on and keep talking without a break. A lot of people, having never seen a nursing baby, won’t even realize what you’re doing.
  • Practice makes perfect in baseball, piano, and public nursing. When baby isn’t screaming at the top of his lungs, and you’re at home alone, see if you can be the Quick Draw McGraw of breasts. Go to a La Leche League meeting, and check out other mothers’ nursing styles. (You can even do this before your baby is born)
  • Ask for help. As in all things mother-related, someone somewhere has been there before you. It’s a pretty good bet that a woman with a baby or toddler in a sling is or has nursed. Say hello and ask for advice. Even in the mall. You’re not meant to do this alone.
  • Did I mention a sling? It’s a godsend. If you have an Over The Shoulder Baby Holder, it’s got enough fabric that you can lift the extra up to cover baby’s head. Another fave, created by Dr. Sears' family, is the Balboa Baby Sling. We also have the Ultimate Baby Wrap, which has 5 different positions to try.
  • If you’re out, pop in the boob at the first sign of hunger from your newborn. Public nursing isn’t discreet at all when the recipient is wailing like you’re flaying him alive.

Remember, you’re doing something natural, incredible, miraculous and necessary. Even if you can’t quite get the discreet part down, anyone who looks at a nursing baby and thinks "that’s obscene" is themselves obscene. I once went to the bathroom in a restaurant and bumped (literally) into a woman standing in the 4 x 6 space nursing her infant. When I asked why, she replied that she was having dinner with her in-laws and they were uncomfortable with her nursing. Clearly, they had no problem with their three-week-old grandchild having his dinner in a cramped, dirty john. Don’t let that be you. Let the other people leave the table.

Happy nursing! Any tips I’ve left out? Something that worked for you? Think we should go hide in an all-women nursing room? Do let me know!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How NOT to Nurse In Public

Had a fabulous time at Baby Loves Disco this Saturday in the happening Cinespace in Hollywood. So many adorable kids and mommies, I was very proud of you all. Everyone looked great and was having fun -- which, come to think of it, kinda go together, don't they? If you've never gone, well, you just have to. Way more fun than the zoo (not again!).

So what could I possibly have to gripe about?

I noticed a disturbing trend -- several hot mamas nursing their babies UNDER goofy, attention-grabbing aprons, for lack of a better word! Oh, I know what they're called. I get approached to carry them in our happening store all the time. And I even know some of the well-meaning mamas and designers who truly think they're offering a service by making these nursing cover-ups.

But you're fooling no-one when your baby disappears under a graphic tablecloth that leaves you looking like you accidentally left the table with it tucked under your chin. You might as well get a neon sign that says, "Bare boobies -- right under this fabric!" I know, I shouldn't get all worked up. But the joy of nursing was (for me, at least) that it required no forethought or special tools. Other than remembering not to wear a dress that zippers in the back when you leave the house with your baby, you're set. So why spend $35 on something that makes nursing more trouble and less discreet? Here's a tip -- if you have a couple of spare twenties, toss them at a Glamourmom nursing tank you can wear under everything.

I don't bitch without providing an alternative, however. These Rules of the Road for public nursing are all you need to get out and about with baby and boobs in tow. Nowhere does it mention putting on some sort of sack and hiding your baby under it. It doesn't even mention buying fab-looking nursing clothes, although that's how we actually make money to feed our family now that everyone's weaned. Seriously, those are a great help, but with practice, any top that lifts up can keep your ta-tas private without wearing a body burkha.

Nursing should equal freedom. To borrow from someone else's ad campaign, you are now free to move about the country. Do it without the lame bag over your breasts. :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

See One Hot Mama at Baby Loves Disco (LA)

Hey, what are you doing for Valentine's Day now that you're a family? Spending a bundle on a sitter to have an overpriced meal? How about twisting the day away with your little one?

Check out Baby Loves Disco -- wherever you are, it's bunches of fun. But this weekend, we'll be there with OHM tattoos and giveaways for hot mamas who like to dance. If you go to the Los Angeles page, you'll see our baby Georgia as Disco Baby of the Month -- until they change it. Of course, she's been baby of the month for a couple years, so I think we're safe!

(That's Saturday, February 14th for those of us with momnesia!) :)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Interesting ...

Thought y'all might like to see some vintage Sesame Street -- it's about breastfeeding! :)

The Worst Advice From A Doctor to A Pregnant Woman, Evah!

A really sweet mama-to-be came into the store this week. It was hotter than heck outside, so she was in shorts and a tee, and didn't look at all pregnant. Turns out she was just about five months along with her first baby, and she was in One Hot Mama because her doctor had said,

"If you don't wear maternity clothes, it will be bad for the baby."

Now, my four kids and husband and I would love people to feel compelled to shop at One Hot Mama, but what the hell? Has this doctor not heard of amniotic fluid? Or high schoolers who give birth to healthy babies in the restroom at the prom? I mean, it was bad enough when someone told me last week that a saleswoman at a nationally-known, very pricey maternity store had exlaimed,

"If you don't wear maternity clothes, you'll get stretch marks!"

while trying to get her to buy a pair of $200 jeans, but what was this medical doctor thinking?

The point of this rant is to remind you mamas to be that not everything your doctor says is gospel. Sometimes it's obviously stupid, like the quote above, but something like, "you'll need a Caesarean because you're so tiny" is less obviously complete, non-medically based idiocy.

Read. Educate yourself. Read some more. Go to a certified, well-respected prenatal yoga class. Talk to midwives and doulas. And always remember the best follow-up question -- "why?"

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Why Moms Shouldn't Work Outside The Home

Okay, the truth is, I am just thinking and writing about myself, here. But I'm being honest; most of the articles and opinions we read about the work-vs.-home divide are also written from the point of view and personal experience of the writer. You can pretty much guarantee that they will present arguments and evidence from the side of the divide they live on.

Not me. I'm back at our family's business full bore these days, and I have now forgotten to pick up some of my children twice. The good news is that it was the twins on Friday, and my other daughter today. So far, that's not enough damage to give anyone a complex, but it is sure a reminder that the kind of work that requires sustained concentration and thought and physical presence and performance for one's boss or customers as the case may be, is not entirely compatible with thinking about one's kidlets.

I could never understand how a person could leave a baby to bake in a car all day, for example. But now, scarily, I see how it could happen. When you are (read: I am) consumed with all the details that your high-intensity job entails, your (read: my) mind just doesn't have room for pesky details like clocks and pickups.

So things that were always second nature to me -- pick up children, get food, make sure house is not a hovel -- are now being entered into Outlook with little reminder bells. My kids are old enough that they will call me when they're neglected -- and that's cold comfort.

Just so you have a little perspective, I have always multi-tasked with the best of 'em. Acting (yes, with actual lines for actual money), helping some with our business, volunteering at school, menu planning for nightly family dinners and being team mom for my son. But this 110% effort to grow a real business in, as people are wont to say, "this economy," is crowding out some really important stuff. The best way for me to work this way would be for my husband to be at home, but he's at work with me, for right now. Time for a new strategy.

Or maybe the headline is that Moms Shouldn't Work Outside The Home If They Suck At It Unless They Are Being Paid Mountains of Cash To Pay For A Nanny Who Drives. But I couldn't get that to fit!