Tag Archives: pregnancy

The Mediocre Mothers of France

Those French people, they’re so accepting of certain things—extra-marital affairs, high taxes, universal health care. Also, a child-rearing philosophy that involves smoking your way through pregnancy, just saying no to breastfeeding, and shipping your children off to boarding school at the earliest possible opportunity. These, at least, are some of the ideas espoused in the recent bestselling book in France, Le Conflit, La Femme et La Mere (The Conflict, the Woman and the Mother).

It is by Elisabeth Badinter, a feminist philosopher, and while it’s not available in the U.S., with all the press it’s been getting it’s a fair guess that it might be sometime soon. Basically, as the Times of London puts it in an article about the book, Badinter is advocating “a return to the old French model, which involved whatever necessary—powdered milk, baby minders, nurseries, you name it—to prevent les enfants from taking over their mothers’ lives.”

Or, in Badinter’s words: “Today, we’re told we’re not allowed to smoke, to eat unpasteurised cheese or seafood or even to a drink a glass of wine when we are pregnant. It’s time to stop all that.”

Needless to say, some people find these ideas somewhat controversial.

Jezebel, in its post on the subject, points out that “Badinter’s send-’em-to-boarding-school (she actually kind of says this) ethos is somewhat refreshing in this era of maternal judgment, but one recent study contradicts her view of babies as ‘tyrants.’ ” They’re referring to a study conducted in Taiwan that discovered having children greatly reduced a woman’s risk of suicide, and the more the better. Two children reduced the risk by 39%, while three or more reduced it by 60%. But of course, as Jezebel goes on to point out, this could just be guilt.

Then again, maybe mothers don’t have as much say as one might think in what kind of mother they turn out to be. The Times of London also recently published a story about some scientists at Richmond University in Virginia who claim that women have a set of neurons that operate sort of like “bad mother/good mother” switches.

The researchers claim that women with fewer of the “good mother” neurons are more likely to neglect or abuse their offspring. The hope is that at some point in the future, brain scans could help detect mothers more at risk of abusing their children, and that services could then be provided to these women to help prevent abuse before it starts.

Not that Badinter seems like she’d be too interested in this line of research. “We’ve always been mediocre mothers here,” she told the Times of London about France. “But we’ve tended to live happier lives.”

The Mediocre Mothers of France By Molly Langmuir

Courtesy The Faster Times

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Breastfeeding Problems Solved

Almost half of breastfeeding moms quit before their baby is 6 months old and often it’s because they’ve run into problems that are actually pretty easily solved. If you’re thinking of stopping, read on for quick solutions to common problems…

My baby is due and I want to breastfeed but I have very small nipples that don’t stick out like normal ones. Will this make it difficult?

Many women have nipples that are ‘inverted’ but this shouldn’t prevent your baby from nursing because it’s not actually your nipple she suckles on – it’s the areola (the darker area immediately surrounding it). The most important thing is to make sure your baby is properly latched on – you’ll probably feed him for the first time within 30 minutes of the delivery and there will be lactation consultants of nurses close by to help you. Some women find that breast shells can encourage inverted nipples to protrude more – a lactation consultant can advise you.

My baby is just over a week old and my nipples are really suffering – they’re cracked and bleeding and nursing is painful. Should I give up and switch her to the bottle?

It’s not unusual to feel some discomfort when you first start breastfeeding but you shouldn’t still be getting it a week on and certainly not to the extent you describe. Most cases of sore and cracked nipples are caused by incorrect latching on. If your physician isn’t qualified to check your technique it’s worth contacting a lactation consultant who can visit you at home – if it solves the problem it’s money well-spent. Other reasons your nipples may be sore include overdrying or excessive moisture; it’s also possible that your baby has passed on a yeast infection if she has one in her mouth (if your physician thinks this is the problem she can prescribe an anti-fungal medication).

Once you’ve perfected your latching-on technique, keep feeding but nurse your baby on the least sore side first so that when you transfer her to the other breast she’ll be less hungry and will suckle less vigorously. If your nipples become so sore you can’t bear to nurse, gently express milk by hand.

My breasts are constantly leaking milk! I wake up with my T-shirt and sheets soaked and go through several boxes of nursing pads a week. Every time I go to latch on my baby she gets a face full of milk! Is this normal?

When your breast milk comes in, around four days after your baby’s birth, it’s common to have an overabundant supply and for your let-down reflex to be so powerful that milk sprays out when you start to nurse. It can cause problems, with your breasts becoming engorged (literally too full), and your baby finding it hard to latch on because the skin on your breasts is stretched so tight there’s no ‘give’. If this happens you may have to express a little milk before feeds, to help her grab hold! Thankfully this oversupply will diminish by the time your baby is around 6-8 weeks old – breast milk is produced on a supply and demand basis, and as soon as  your body becomes accustomed to your baby’s needs your milk supply will balance out.

I’ve discovered a hard, tender patch on one of my breasts near my armpit – is it anything to do with nursing my baby?

This sounds like a blocked milk duct – these are pretty common near the armpits because milk glands are concentrated in those areas. Ducts can become blocked if you leave it too long between feeds or don’t feed for long enough, and women who tend to produce a lot of milk are more likely to get them.

There is a risk that a blocked duct can develop into mastitis but the solution is simple: feed your baby as often as you can and offer her the affected side first – the hungrier she is the more vigorous her sucking, and this alone may help dislodge the blockage. Positioning her so her chin points towards the blockage will also help, so latch her on in the underarm position with her body lying on a pillow placed at your side, and gently massage the tender area as she feeds. If she doesn’t feed for very long, hand express to fully drain the milk and mention the problem to your lactation consultant. If these measures don’t clear the lump, have your physician check it as a precaution.

My physician wants to put me on anti-depressants to help me cope with post-partum depression. Could the medication harm my baby if I continue to breastfeed?

Many new moms suffer from depression after the birth but rest assured that there are a number of anti-depressants that have no adverse effect on a nursing baby. As a precaution, and to set your mind at rest, inform your physician that you’re breastfeeding and ask him to prescribe a drug that is known to be safe. Let your baby’s pediatrician know you’re taking it, and watch out for any possible side-effects, which could include your baby seeming excessively drowsy or difficult to settle, or colicky. Keep in mind that your baby’s health and wellbeing depends on yours – and you’re likely to be happier if your depression is treated.

My sister had mastitis when she was breastfeeding. How can I avoid it?  

Mastitis is an infection that often develops out of a blocked milk duct. It causes flu-like symptoms including a fever, chills, and aches and pains; you’ll also notice a hard red patch of skin on your breast. The infection needs to be treated with antibiotics and you should continue to nurse your baby throughout, starting feeds on the unaffected side, to keep up your milk flow. Hot or coolpacks can help relieve soreness but if you find feeds too painful, hand-express your milk and ask your lactation consultant for guidance.

Many moms develop mastitis when they return to work and are not feeding their baby as regularly. If you’re expressing milk at work, try to schedule it when you would normally have nursed your baby or do it at least every four hours.

Help! I recently returned to work and my baby is getting expressed breast milk from a bottle during the day. But when I try to nurse her in the evening, she refuses the breast. Could it be she prefers to bottlefeed?

If you’re pumping milk at work this should keep up your milk supply but it’s best to try and do this at the times you would have nursed your baby. Many working moms cut down to just once a day, during their lunch hour and since milk is produced on a supply and demand basis, your flow will reduce if you’re not feeding your baby or expressing to the usual schedule. This means that when you latch your baby on after work, there may not be as much milk as she’s used to and she may get frustrated – especially if she has worked out that she doesn’t have to work so hard to get milk from a bottle! Try to get past the problem by latching your baby on as soon as you get in instead of waiting until she’s really hungry, when she’ll get particularly irate at having to suckle hard in order to feed. Try waiting until she’s drowsy too, as many babies will feed while they snooze.

 Item Courtesy of Super Nanny

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Mommy Mondays…Don’t Be THAT Expectant Mom!!!

Funny video about how NOT to be when you’re pregnant. These ladies perfomed this song on Jay Leno last week and they’re super funny! Apparently our friends are really annoyed with us…FYI: language alert for the little ones around!

Garfunkel and Oates’ Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci sing about smug pregnant women…were we that bad? Ok, if you know you were, did you do it just to irritate single friends? Promise we won’t tell 😉

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Mommy Mondays…Do you Doula?

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