Thursday, January 20, 2011

It's hard sometimes

We all know that having kids isn't a cake walk. You have days where it's really, really difficult. And breastfeeding, cloth diapering and making your own baby food can augment that. I have days where I want to give up, take a trip over to Babies 'R' Us and buy a stack of 'sposies, baby food and formula. When I feel like this, I find it really helpful to take a minute, sit down and think about what that would really mean.

Let's start with formula. There are a lot of moms out there who go this route. I blame our American culture for this for the most part. When my parents were born, it was not "fashionable" to breastfeed. Most of the baby boomers were bottle babies. So there is a "generation gap" in breastfeeding. And this has had a huge influence on public opinion of breastfeeding. If you breastfeed in public, you will get stares. And if your baby is older (or, gasp! is a toddler), those stares turn to looks of disgust. There is very little public support for breastfeeding, and that makes it hard. But when I think of switching to formula, I remember all the time and money that will be involved. Formula is EXPENSIVE. Really expensive. But even if money isn't a factor for you, think of all the bottles you'll have to wash. If your baby eats 8 times a day, that's 8 bottles a day that you have to wash and sanitize. Plus, it's guaranteed that you're going to run out of formula midnight on a Sunday and will have to run out to the store and get some to quiet your screaming baby. No thanks. And we all know that breastmilk is the best food for your baby; perfectly formulated to meet their needs. Did you know that your breastmilk actually changes with your baby as he grows? It's true. :)

All that said, it's hard to be "on tap" 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I try to keep a stash of frozen milk for those times when I really do need a break. Just this week, I was at the end of my rope. Luckily my husband was home for the day. I put the baby down for nap and said, I'm leaving, there's milk in the freezer. I took off for a few hours, got some coffee, went to the mall, and decompressed. It's okay to need a break from your baby. It does NOT make you a bad mom. In fact, I think it makes you a better mom to know when you need to walk away for bit.

Okay, disposable diapers. I've used them. I keep some on hand for babysitters and those days where I just haven't done the laundry yet. It happens. But again, they are expensive. And you wouldn't believe the amount of waste they create. When I flew to visit family over Christmas, there was no way I could fit all the cloth diapers and covers in my luggage, so I used disposables for 10 days. And there were bags and bags and bags of trash. Creating that much trash leaves me with this huge guilt complex and I just can't handle that. Plus, the Eskimo would cry whenever I went to put a new diaper on him. He was fine with me taking the old one off, but he did NOT want a new 'sposie on his butt. He never cries with cloth. I know that the soft cotton is much more comfortable for him and it doesn't have all those nasty chemicals they put in 'sposies. So, I like cloth, but I am not above using a 'sposie now and then when I need a break.

Now baby food. I'm trying very hard to provide the Eskimo with only organic food for as long as I possibly can. I want to give him the best start in life possible. So, I make my own baby food. I buy in bulk, puree and freeze. This is, to put it plainly, a pain in the ass. And they make organic baby food! But, it's expensive, and I haven't seen and touched the fruit and veggies that have gone into that jar. So, I puree and freeze, puree and freeze. Real estate in our freezer is more fought-over than apartments in New York. But yes, I keep a few jars of organic baby food on hand for those days when I forgot to thaw out his breakfast the night before and he's HUNGRY. And that's okay.

I think my point is, there are pluses and minuses to everything. But I feel that the decisions I've made have a lot more pros than cons. The Eskimo is a healthy, happy little boy, and I want to keep him that way. But I also need to make sure that I'm happy and healthy so I can take the best care of him possible. Sometimes that means a little bit of formula or thawed breastmilk in a bottle. Or maybe a disposable diaper now and then. It can be hard to swim against the mainstream and it's okay to take a break from being "crunchy" every now and then. But be sure to take stock of everything you're doing and your reasons for doing it. It helps me every time.

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