Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mad Cow Disease

The last bastion of purists have hunkered down for the purpose of converting strict adherance to their way of being in a single field of study that the world at least considers respectable. I am speaking exclusively of those well meaning souls known as Lactation specialists.

Now I know that breast milk is natural, normal, easy, convenient, healthy and provides bonuses that formula does not have. There's no chance of metal contamination from some yahoo in a foriegn country who spilled a box of nails while packaging insta powder. There's no need to make sure you won't run out. As long as you bathe regularly, there's no sterilization issues to speak of. Having nursed all of my prior children, it's not like I failed to subscribe to the theory of nursing or needed convincing to try it.

But Downs Syndrome children have trouble nursing and with my son's poor heart condition, he needs to conserve his energy for growing and not coaxing milk to come to him. He needed the food to be easy and plentiful and require little effort. Even my OBGYN, Pediatrition and Cardiologist had agreed, a mixed approach was fine but food was most important. I explained to the La Leche League woman providing "support" that while I hoped to nurse, I also recognized my son's condition required a bit of flexibility on my part.

She shook her her head and smiled very nicely. "You know, there are studies out there that indicate that babies who are held but who are also nursed, and mostly because they are NURSED, are less retarded."

Even in my percoset stupor, I recognized a vague threat. The implication was clear. If I failed to supply my breasts to the cause, I would be lowering my son's IQ. I would be causing further handicapping complications for my son.

"Are you unaware that if he doesn't get enough calories, his heart will fail?" Thinking as logical people do that this might make her...reconsider her words.

"Babies who breastfeed are healthier."
"Not if they lose weight and fail to thrive."

"If the mother is committed to breast feeding, the baby thrives." Her benevolent smile told me her thoughts, this poor tired recooperating woman must not be thinking clearly. "Breast is always best." she soothed.

"Even if my pediatrition and the specialists have said otherwise?"

"The doctors want what is controllable and convenient."
"The doctors want my son to live."

"God made cow milk for a calf, breast milk for a baby." She insisted.

"I drink cow milk."
"That's different."
"You're an adult."

Squelching an urge to moo at her, I tried reason once more."I never had breast milk. I was in an ICU the first few months of my life."

"You proably would have been there less if your mother had been able to nurse you."

At this point, I began to wonder if a gentle rap on side the head would be legally defensible...or at least plausible to a jury of my peers.

"Thank you." I got up, grabbed my IV pole so I could indicate I was escorting her out of the room.

She touched my arm in what was supposed to be a reassuring gesture, but felt vaguely like a "I'm explaining it one more time for you so you can say the right thing Chicago style" grip.
"Are you going to nurse?"

I opened the door and patted her hand.
"I'm going to do what's best for my son. Whatever that means."

She stood in the threshold, holding on to the door, trying to make the pitch one last time. "Meaning, you're not going to breast feed exclusively?"

I smiled. "Well, you see, I was premature and drank formula for the first year of my life so we'll chuck all bad decisions I make as a Mom up to that."

For more humor that doesn't nurse a point to death,!


Mr. Green of St. Thomas said...

I'm sure she left unmooved with no less than a bovine expression on her face. What udder contempt for your job as mother to Paul!

Anonymous said...

Good for you, Sherry! I really wanted to smack those "well-meaning" ladies who are so agenda-driven that they've lost common sense.

By the way, welcome Paul!!

Anne Mumey

jacobusmaximus said...

Anyone who enters the hospital room of a mom 9 times over and expects to "educate" said "new" mom on how to be a "good" mom...has no judgment and no brain cells left that are firing at normal intervals.

Amy said...

I tried to tell the lactation consultant that me and my defective breasts nurse my babies until they are good and dehydrated. She failed to see the humor in that and tried to sell me on all sorts of inhuman contraptions to help out.

There's a reason they say "Mother knows best!"

MightyMom said...

oh girl, you crack me up!

my NICU baby took breastmilk that I'd pumped and either feeding tube fed him or bottle fed him. It's a wonderful alternative as it really IS too hard to nurse for these little ones, especially in the beginning. As long as you keep pumping, you can always teach him to nurse after he's stronger...that's what Gator-boy did and then he nursed for a total of 9 months, no problems.

course ain't a dad-gum thang wrong with formula either!!

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