I Just Can’t Resist!

This has been an eventful week. President Obama gave his two thumbs up in support for gay marriage while the entire state of North Carolina gave all gays the middle finger. (Interesting tidbit, courtesy of my smarty-pants husband: You can marry your cousin in North Carolina. But not if you and your cousin are gay!)

While this was happening, there were other fascinating events going on across the country, like breast-feeding. Since I am somewhat newly pregnant, anything regarding pregnancy, child-birth or kids in general has piqued my interest, at least more than it did before. You would have to be living under a rock to miss this story in Time Magazine.

I have only been aware of attachment parenting for the past year or so, but I didn’t know it had an official name until this week. I also found that if you want to create a black hole of chaos amongst women, start a conversation about breast-feeding, co-sleeping, vaccinations or “baby-wearing.”

And since it’s hard for me to stay quiet about controversial subjects, here’s my two cents (or maybe a few dollars worth . . .) on the topics at hand.

Breast Feeding

I am hoping breast-feeding works for me. I know it is best for the baby, it’s a great way to lose weight and it’s much cheaper than formula. However, if it doesn’t work, my child isn’t getting proper nutrition and I’m crying myself to sleep every night, I’m going to stop trying. I don’t think you are a bad mom if you don’t breast feed. I don’t think you’re a bad mom if you breast feed until your child is 6. I do, however, disagree with breast-feeding past the age of 1 or 2. Do you need my approval to let your child unbutton your blouse and suckle away? No, you don’t. Just like I don’t need your approval to have my opinions. I can disagree with something without thinking you are a horrible person (it’s a rare gift).

I feel that once my child is a certain age, it’s time to start weaning. Here’s why:

  • There are plenty of healthy ways to provide a child with nutrition.
  • I wonder what extended breast-feeding does to the psychology or personality of a child over the age of 2 (I said wonder, not assume, but I would prefer to not find out).
  • It is a serious commitment that will be difficult to keep up with while working full-time.
  • I only want to abuse my body for so long. (Yup, I said it! Go ahead and judge!)

That is how I feel, but I do not judge women who feel the opposite way. All I ask is for you to not judge me for the way I feel, and hopefully we can all get along.

Baby-wearing

I have zero problem with this concept, except when it gets to the point where the child is never put down. My concern is a developmental issue with walking or crawling at a later age. But if you want to hold your baby all the live long day, go for it!

I don’t feel like I can say, with authority, how I will handle the “cry it out” method. I would love to say “I’m strong! Cry, baby, cry!” But I’m a huge softie.

However, I crate my dogs, and there were many days I cried the entire way to work because they were crying in their crates. I hope this helps me be strong with a human child. Only time will tell!

Co-sleeping

I may appear slightly judgmental with this one, but I promise, that is not my intention. I think my problem is I just don’t understand it. This is coming from someone who sleeps with two 50-pound dogs. So believe me, I know there are millions of you who don’t understand what I do, and probably think I’m slightly crazy. That’s okay!

My reasoning behind the “Dogs-in-the-bed-is-okay, kids-in-the-bed-is-not” theory:

  • My dogs are not going to grow up and one day leave the nest. They will not be going off to college, or buying their own homes, or bringing little granddoggies home for me to meet.
  • My child, however, will eventually leave the nest and become an independent person (dear Lord, let’s hope so). I would like to start the independence early, like the first day (just with sleeping, I don’t plan on abandoning the poor kid).
  • I am too scared about rolling over onto the baby (they say you won’t, but I am Kaptain Klutz).
  • I need sleep, darn it.

I have several friends and acquaintances who swear by co-sleeping, and if it works for you, more power to you! You aren’t sleeping in my house, affecting my ZZZ’s, so I really don’t care. I will say, however, that not one of them had a husband 100% on board with the idea. In my life, in my marriage, I would consider that a problem that needed to be solved.

They say “Happy Wife, Happy Life,” and that statement is true. But if my husband isn’t happy, my house isn’t happy either. I spoke with my boss, and asked him, as a doctor, what he thought about all these things. The only solid medical evidence is this: Breast feeding is good for mother and child. Everything else is about what works for you and your family.

He had good advice, and it reminded me of the card he included with his wedding gift: “Keep doing all the things you did when you were falling in love, and you will stay in love.”

I loved that line so much! I thought it was wise, completely reasonable and perfectly attainable. Basically, the same thing applies when you have a child.

Wives, keep your husbands happy. Continue to take care of him, even after a child comes. He needs you.

Husbands, keep your wives happy. Give her a break, especially in the beginning, when she is sleep-deprived, self-conscious and wonderfully hormonal. She needs you.

And kids? If you have two parents (gay, straight, alien or purple-people-eaters included) who love each other that much, that they continue to always put each other first, you will have a happy, loving life, with a security that money can never buy.

Be confident in your decisions! There will always be someone who disagrees or judges. Aren’t we glad Breyers puts three whole flavors in the same container?

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14 thoughts on “I Just Can’t Resist!

  1. Dayle Lynne says:

    I have always been of the mindset that different things work for different families and all I need to do is worry about my own. I may not agree with someone else’s choices, but as long as they’re not abusing their kids, I’ll stay out of the decisions. I expect others to do the same for me.

    I will share my opinions though, since you opened the door 😀

    I am *huge* breastfeeding advocate and I will happily help any woman who wants help – whether that’s by sharing information, directing them to other resources, or just offering support. HOWEVER, I will NEVER judge a woman who does not breastfeed. I will never try to pressure someone into it or scare someone into it. It’s a very personal decision and I have no right to get involved in that decision for anyone else. I have an interesting perspective here (I think anyway) because I have breastfed, pumped, and formula-fed (all with the same kid!).

    As for extended breastfeeding? Not for me, but I don’t judge . . . I don’t think it’s necessary. I don’t think there are any real merits to it. And I wonder how much of that is the mom pushing it instead of the kid wanting it. My daughter weaned herself at 14 months – I was devastated – she couldn’t of cared less!

    I’m not a fan of child-wearing OR the whole cry it out thing. I do think babies need floor time and I think moms need a break, but again, to each their own. As for crying it out – I think once a baby starts to learn that crying gets them things, then yeah, it has its merits. But infants cry for a reason – because they can’t tell you what’s wrong. Maybe she’s hunger or wet or colicky . . . maybe the tag on her shirt is itchy. Whatever it is, it’s something.

    Ah, co-sleeping! This was a HUGE topic when I was pregnant/a new mom. I waitressed and pretty much every customer felt they had the right to give me advice. Many told me to never EVER let my baby sleep in bed with me. Some told me that co-sleeping was best. You’ll never win. My feelings? Again, it’s about what works for each family. During the first two months, if we didn’t co-sleep, I never would have slept. It was exhausting because I never got quality sleep. I was always in that half-way phase. We had a co-side sleeper (it attaches to the bed and the baby’s at arm’s length, but still has her own place), but she would only sleep in there if she was holding my arm. Interestingly enough, when she started nursing at 2 months, she started sleeping on her own just fine (sometimes we’d doze off together nursing, but she’d go back in the co-side sleeper as soon I opened my eyes). As she got older, I let her sleep in my bed on occasion and actually, I still do. It’s not often, but once in a while she asks and sometimes I oblige. But I have *never* had a problem getting her back to her own bed.

    Whew! That was really long! I’m sorry :p

    “Be confident in your decisions! There will always be someone who disagrees or judges. Aren’t we glad Breyers puts three whole flavors in the same container?”

    Yes, yes, and yes!

    • Jen Hurowitz says:

      I love long comments! And like you said, I opened the door, so I welcome any and all opinions!

      “As for extended breastfeeding? Not for me, but I don’t judge . . . I don’t think it’s necessary. I don’t think there are any real merits to it. And I wonder how much of that is the mom pushing it instead of the kid wanting it.” I agree with you on this one. I don’t think mom’s intentionally become selfish, but I do think it’s harder to stop for the mom than the child.

      As for co-sleeping, I’m sure it will happen from time to time, when the baby is first home and I nod off while nursing. I just don’t want to get into the habit, because I hear stories of never being able to get the kids out of your bed. It’s hard enough to sleep with dogs, so I can’t imagine adding another body! 🙂

  2. I don’t have kids so I really don’t have an opinion on breastfeeding except – to each their own. 🙂 In some situations there really isn’t a right or wrong, there is just what’s best for the kid, and every kid will be different.

    And I loved this – “And kids? If you have two parents (gay, straight, alien or purple-people-eaters included) who love each other that much, that they continue to always put each other first, you will have a happy, loving life, with a security that money can never buy.”

  3. I agree with a lot of what both you and Dayle have said. I think most of the time we are all trying to cope and trying to do our best whatever we do, and so if it’s working for you, keep it up! But all children are different and so to say any one thing is right for all babies (or for all moms) is just ridiculous.
    I think you guys are going to do just fine – because of the dogs! Seriously…when I read Cesar Milan’s book I thought: all parents need to read this, because all of it could apply to kids (the main part being that you have to establish yourself as the authority figure!) But a lot of what you have to do in training a dog in terms of setting boundaries and limits and expecting certain behaviors..well, it’s pretty similar!

    • Jen Hurowitz says:

      Thanks Anne! I agree, to say that only ONE way is the way to do it is just silly. Someone may look at my list of expectations and think “Ha! Yeah right,” and I would look at theirs and think the same. I really think our experience with the dogs will help us with a baby. We already can’t sleep in too late, although I know a baby will completely re-write the rule on sleeping in general. But we have a good routine, so the first few months will throw us off completely, but I hope to be settled in with baby and doggies eventually. 🙂

  4. talleygilly says:

    Love your point about how you need to do what works for your family. As Anne points out, we have to assume that in most cases, we parents are simply doing the best we can. It’s sad how often the message in the media is to highlight how many are “doing it wrong.” There are so few articles celebrating what most families do every day–take great care of their kids, love them, feed them, shelter them, teach them good values. But what we hear about, in essence is a version of a carnival freak show–“Come right in and see the woman breasteeding until the son is 6, . . come over here and watch the father wearing his baby on his hip until the baby is a teenager.” It’s both hilarious and sad that we seem so compelled to point and judge. I was amazed when I was nursing my infant daughter, how many people offered completely unsolicited opinions about how long I should nurse her. An amazing broach of judgement, to me. So when I people started asking me, I started joking that it would go on until she left for college. That quieted them down . . . for a while.

    • Jen Hurowitz says:

      While I may have opinions on extended breast feeding, I can’t IMAGINE ever walking up to someone and shoving those opinions down their throat. I simply make the decisions I’m comfortable with, and let others do the same. I do think, sometimes, I have a tendency to shake my head and “wonder” why someone does what they do, but I try to keep that to myself. I can’t wait (sarcasm) for the comments to really start. The hormones may make it harder to hold my tongue!

  5. talleygilly says:

    that should be “breech” of judgement 🙂 Don’t judge my grammar either, ha ha 🙂

  6. talleygilly says:

    that is, *breach*. No more typo-laden comments for me. Whew 🙂

  7. talleygilly says:

    P.S. One thing we LOVED that helped us when our kids were newborns was a little bassinet that attaches right to your bed called the “Arm’s Reach” mini co-sleeper. It gives the baby a completely safe and separate place to sleep (no rolling over), yet you can reach over to feed or soothe baby in the middle of the night very easily as soon as they wake. So easy to use and helped us get so much more sleep with our 2nd child than we had with our 1st.

    • Jen Hurowitz says:

      I actually wondered if we should get a bassinet for those first few weeks/months. I have a feeling the baby and I will be in the guest room on more than one night, just so I can let my husband sleep. I need to look into the “Arm’s Reach” so maybe we BOTH can sleep! Thanks for the tip!

    • Dayle Lynne says:

      That’s what I had! It was absolutely freaking awesome!!

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