Sunday, February 12, 2006

it's a white, white world

...and I'm talking lingerie here, people.

While the news about the baby's potential allergies has rocked me, it has only dented - but not daunted - my intention to continue breastfeeding him. The cushioning nature of breastmilk will protect his little GI tract from the proteins that I eat, and will be much easier on his system than formula (and don't talk to me of 'cushioning proteins,' o Nestle. Get ye some immunoglobulins and then we'll chat). For a food allergy kid, breastmilk actually makes an enormous difference, if the nursing mum is willing to tailor her diet to her baby's needs. IF.

But there are worse fates in store for the nursing mama. For example: people on the street who see you nursing and whisper oh-so loudly about the woman doing THAT. Or worse, people who tell you to feed the kid in the bathroom. (Would you eat in the bathroom? I think not.) Or little kids on the playground who come up and ask questions until their embarrassed caregivers haul them away. (I especially like those - it's fun to warp young minds.) So: do you hide your baby and apparatus under a blanket that screeches 'don't look, breast-things happening?' Or do you invest in those more expensive nursingwear shirts that have double layers with holes cut in them? Wear a regular shirt and tell yourself that the baby covers everything? Mine like to wiggle - and while they're big enough to cover the breast, they aren't kind enough to cover the stretch marks on my sad tummy. It's a toughie. But worst of all, the nursing mama must confront the great indignity of the nursing bra.

The beauty of breastfeeding is that the girls have never looked so perky and round. The downside is that my bras have never looked so industrial. What happened here, people? It is one of the Mama's great mysteries: just because an object of pleasure is suddenly an object of use, why should it be treated as such? Celebrate the roots, people. Most nursing bras are pragmatic affairs, like this one, but might branch out into fun prints like this one, trying to conceal the jogging bra aspect with style. Doesn't really work (but they are comfortable), and they'll give you the silhouette that comes with a jogging bra, alas. Anything with an underwire is a cruel joke, as it can press on milk ducts, and risks blocked ducts (shudder). So where does that leave the Mama? Maybe with this compromise? Hmm.

I wonder, sometimes, how my partner manages the shift between objects of pleasure and objects of use. I have a mental image of him sitting down with each child, as the subject becomes relevant, and talking turf:
father: I was here first, ya know.
baby: ya, well, I'm here now.
wildly inappropriate joke about thems as swallows versus thems as don't suppressed here.
father: she picked me - you are just what we got with the genetic roll of the dice.
baby (complacently): yup. And I've got you beat for cute, hands down. Plus, I've got pheromones wafting up from the top of my head. So don't come all up in ma face until you've got her under your biochemical thumb, man.
father: (sighs and takes the little tyrant off to change his diaper)


miriam said...

I hear you on the nursing clothes. I cheat -- I make my own. And thanks for the nursing bra links. I so hate white bras! Now if I could only bring myself to spend $38 each on a bra or two when I can get a really comfy one for $12 (alas, only in white) at Walmart....

mama o' the matrices said...

Really? Wow. I know nothing about sewing besides how to extend the natural life of socks. But the tip about the $12 bra at Walmart is a good one...I do tend to feel briefly guilty when I spend the week's food budget on under-gear.

So are there patterns that you follow?

jgfellow said...

You know, I often get upstaged in conversations with the under-5 set...

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