Tag Archive | breast feeding

The ‘Family Bed’ is a sham, and not the kind with a duvet and 1000 thread-count sheets.

I’m going to catch so much hell for this. I’m just waiting for all the mommy groups to grab their pitchforks and torches.

But just hold on a sec.

I’m a cuddler, nurturer, breastfeeding parent like anybody. Okay, my kids are 9 and 12- I do NOT still breastfeed them. We need to specify this nowadays since you can breastfeed children until they go to college.

If you’ve read my blog these last months, you know I dote on my children. Love them, shape them, keep it real for them. They are great kids. But having them sleep in my bed is just a no-no.

I need my space. I need to have my ‘self ‘ to myself. And I think there comes a time when children need to learn how to soothe themselves, and be happy with being alone. Not lonely. Just alone in their beds.

I can see the family bed working for newborns. When you have one child. Not several. Then everyone decides your bed is a free for all. Maybe this idea originated in some Third World country. But I’m guessing that if those little cramped dwellings in Third World cultures had bedrooms and mattresses in every room- they’d be sleeping separately too.

When my children were really itty bitty newborns, co-sleeping would work sometimes. In fact, we did it with Emma often since I had such a hard time breast feeding that this was how I got any sleep. Once she would nod off while latched on, I would nod off too. But as she grew older she needed more and more cuddling to sleep and it wasn’t until she was 5 did we get her to sleep through the night without her coming to our bed, or us going to her bed.

And if letting her sleep in our bed from the start would’ve helped, then I suppose we would’ve continued this, but a fist in the face, or a foot in the nuts, isn’t a way to get a good night sleep. What child sleeps without flailing? Both of mine flail like windmills. I’ve been punched in the mouth before. I’ve been awoken by gasps and grunts from the husband as he’s had a heel sharp to the crotch. Or a knee in the gut. Let me tell you- I have skinny children. They have sharp elbows and knees. All bony and shit. It hurts.  This is no way to sleep folks!

And then there’s the contortion efforts to maintain them asleep, if you should wake up to go pee. Or when you’re stuck between your husband and the child and both are squishing you, or it’s summer and it’s so freaking hot you can’t breathe and you just want your

S P A C E!!!!!

Am I making myself clear? The pictures of family bed families, all comfortably spooning each other is a complete fairy tale. If anyone who sleeps in their family bed and loves it, I’m happy to hear that for you. I am in no way saying people shouldn’t have their children sleep in their bed. But for heavens sake people- do you see the monster you are creating if you even open that Pandora’s box?? They will NEVER LEAVE. NEVER.

Do you and your spouse want some alone time? Do you want some nookie time? How’s that working with your toddler between you?

Hey- the dog is always nearby when we are doing the marital relations. But honestly, she hangs her head in shame and walks over to her doggy bed in the closet until we are finished. You can’t do that with a kid!!

Making parents feel bad for using cribs, strollers and baby swings isn’t cool. I could only Baby Bjorn and sling my kids so much. Owen was born during May and was 3 weeks old during a June heat wave. You think I want that sack of ham strapped to me when it’s 95 degrees out and I’m sweating postpartum buckets? NO!

When I was postpartum with Emma, I needed to do 6 weeks of physical therapy because I kinked my neck carrying her all the time as well as the positions I was breast feeding created tension in parts of my body that hadn’t been used before. Obviously I started bad habits or posture or just using muscles that hadn’t been used before. Also I was on bed rest for 10 weeks before she was born, so I had very little muscle strength when she was born after atrophying on the couch for 3 months.

I love snuggling my kids. The idea of being cuddled in their beds together falling asleep with them is idyllic. But it’s the ‘idea’ not the reality that is idyllic. We snuggle lots. I rub their backs when I tuck them in. We are physically affectionate in lots of hugs, holds, back rubs, hair stroking. All that good stuff.

I hear of many folks that have slept with their children as babies and are trying to get their children to sleep in their own beds because they aren’t babies anymore! This is the disconnect. So much emphasis is placed on sleeping as a family when they are little, but what happens when you need to get your 4 year old to sleep in his own bed? Or when my friend says their 10 year old still can’t sleep alone in his bed? Once in awhile one of my children will crawl in to bed with us from a nightmare. This is okay. But even they will say, I didn’t sleep well last night, I hope I stay in my bed tonight. HA! They GET IT!

We don’t have to be pressured under Mayim Bialik’s parenting philosophies. Remember- she wore a flowered hat and overalls for many years during the 90s. Just because she does it, doesn’t mean you need to also.

If you think I let my kids cry it out, well, I didn’t. But I learned my mistakes from the firstborn and changed them with the second kid. Ha! Don’t we all! I would put him down in his crib when I saw the sleep signals. I would swaddle him all snuggly so he felt secure. He slept for hours on his own in his crib. He didn’t sleep through the night until he was 18 months old. He would still wake up for a 4 am nurse session. And then I realized that this was detrimental to me and wasn’t working anymore. I resented the sleep lost. I didn’t like the feeling anymore of breastfeeding. So one night I just cuddled him instead of nursing him and put him back in the crib. He went right back to sleep. It was just a habit to wake up. He didn’t need to eat. He didn’t need to be held. He needed to sleep really. I broke his habit, and we were all better off.

And now my boy is such a mama’s boy. So I don’t think I scarred him for deciding to stop breastfeeding before the age of 2. Our children will love us and be loving people regardless of how long they are nursed or if they’ve slept in cribs and beds by themselves. My kids love going to bed at night. They think their beds are cozy and safe and their own place for dream land.

Okay, so there’s my rant on the Family Bed. Just remember, it’s MY OPINION. I’m not writing child-rearing books here. I just don’t get it. If it works for you. Great. If it doesn’t- here’s a cup of coffee, you look a little tired.

Thank you for posing so perfectly for the photographer. Now everyone- start dreaming, full REM and flailing. Go! First one with a black eye wins.

I rest my case.

Our cat is a boob man. Or teat guy.

This is a true story. No pets were harmed in the making of this blog.

They've lost that lovin' feelin'. The dog does NOT get this close anymore. Despite the cat's efforts, flowers and chocolates...

When mammals feed their babies it’s not called breast feeding, I know. It’s called nursing. Is nursing the only term that is correct? And why are cow’s udders called udders and not breasts and why are any non-human mammal’s parts called teats or something and not milk bags like we say in the ‘hood?  And when my son was 5 he asked why we drink cows milk but babies drink from their moms and why don’t we get human milk delivered by the milk man? Geezus! I don’t know! And so now my brain thinks of the county fair and a bunch of lactating women hooked up to those giant machines like they have in the dairy barn display and it’s just so wrong. So wrong.

So- onto my post.

Our cat, who I should just call Shazam, but is really named Pluto, has issues. He’s over a year old. He likes to nurse on our dog. They are almost the same size. She has nipples on her belly. So do I, but let’s not go there.

When the cat first came to live with us, he was tiny. 6 weeks and probably not weaned completely.  We got him from a man in the Safeway parking lot that had him in his van. He was under a pizza slice and a Whopper carton behind the back seat. We gave him $40 bucks for the little flea bag. Literally, he was covered in fleas. We stopped at Petco on the way home and got flea spray that I doused him with while holding him in the car while James drove. He fit in the palm of my hand and there wasn’t much he could do to fight it. I think he still tells me to ‘fuck off’ with his eyes.

Thankfully,  he got used to Sophie doggy pretty quickly. Sophie thought we got her a new play toy. An electronic one that moved. But once we were convinced she wasn’t going to eat him like a squirrel, we let them snuggle.

And so it began…. the cat found her nipples. Teats? What do you call them? Anyway… he began to nurse. Sophie let him do this. Three separate times. Each session lasted a good ten minutes.

I’ve nursed two children in my lifetime. It’s not fun. The first few times hurts like a mother fucker and I don’t mean that lightly. So I’m thinking the dog was very tolerant to allow this to occur.We thought this was like an Animal Planet miracle! Maybe there would be a book deal and we would be millionaires bringing our pets to book signings for this beloved children’s picture book of our pets!

Not so fast.

Well not long after this it was clear that Sophie didn’t like the idea of being the cat’s wet nurse. I was video taping the occurrences like crazy. Doesn’t the Today show or Ellen love this kind of stuff? It’s so cute- interspecies breast feeding- teat sharing, spayed dogs gone wild… whatever, this stuff is crazy good!

During the 4th attempt the cat made to dry nurse the dog, she snarled at him. He got the message and they haven’t cuddled since. I wondered if I needed to get some Lansinoh cream or a nipple shield for the dog. But she wasn’t going to play any longer.  Now they play and chase each other, wrestle and tussle. It’s really cute. But since Pluto isn’t buying Sophie dinner anytime soon, there’s no more foreplay from this bitch (only in the dog sense, she’s actually very sweet). For the record, she’s never had puppies and is spayed.  Sometime after his rejection by the dog,  Pluto resorted to sucking on this blanket we had.  He would drool and suck on the fleece nubbins until they were soaked.  Is there therapy for this cat? Wait- I haven’t Googled it, but I bet there is.

And soon after all this anyway, we had Pluto neutered. So now he is really confused. He’s a castrated cat with mother issues. He still tries to get near Sophie. She still thwarts him with her snarls. If only she understood his pain…

If you thought this was marginally funny- click over on the Circle of moms badge and vote for me. I just want to make it into the top 25. I’m quite the underachiever.