August is National Breast-Feeding Awareness Month.
Don't worry, loyal readers, I'm not going to list the benefits of breastfeeding because it's really, really boring unless you are actually doing it. Sorry. It is.
If you want to read about the awesomeness of boobs, go here or here or here. Or just watch re-runs of The Girls Next Door.
Don't think, however, that I would let this month go by without my own thoughtful spin on the topic. I speak, of course, of the hidden underbelly of the breastfeeding industry....The Breast Feeding Support Group.
I attended a breast-feeding support group when Owen was a newborn. It was the social event of my week.
Yes, I realize how sad that appears in print, but it is the truth. I brushed my teeth. I put on a shirt that didn't smell like shit, curdled milk, or vomit. The idea of talking to other adults...other mothers....was exhilarating.
I mean, for awhile, I felt like I was morphing into a cow. I needed this.
The support group was run out of the hospital by the lactation nurse, Nurse Veronica. A soft voiced woman, Nurse Veronica reinforced for us, again and again, the wonders of breastfeeding. She answered all of our nervous little newborn questions, never once appearing bored or laughing in our faces. She was a kind soul.
I learned that specific types of people chose to attend a breast feeding support group. I'll share them now as a public service for those yet to experience such joys:
The Kool-Aid Drinker
The Kool-Aid Drinker would not actually drink Kool-Aid, preferring a mixture of fenugreek tea and rice milk. The Kool-Aid drinker believed in breastfeeding on demand until the child could parallel park. This is fine and well, but the Kool Aid drinker took it a step further by announcing, "Anybody who would feed their child formula is a child abuser as far as I'm concerned."
Even Nurse Veronica has issues with the Kool-Aid Drinker.
The Socially Desperate One
The Socially Desperate One tried to take her two-week old child to kid stuff---the playground, story time at the library, Music Together. Why? She needed to see people. A natural extrovert, being inside with a (albeit adorable) bag of flesh was maddening.
Clearly, she had not discovered social media, so out and about she went.
Yet, she recognized those looks of pity. She knew that her baby could not support his own head, and he certainly was not riveted by the Shaky Eggs at the library. All the baby did was sleep and eat. She felt a bit...needy. Desperate. Alone.
She found her social home at breast feeding support.
The Socially Desperate One was known to feed her baby bottles of formula on the sly, because he was not really so into the breastfeeding. She'll nodded her head and listened to Nurse Veronica's studies, all the while thinking, This is the price I pay for adult conversation.
Eventually, she gave herself away by inviting everybody to happy hour. Since she was the only one drinking a pitcher of margaritas guilt-free, the formula was out of the carton, so to speak.
The One We Hate
Because it's a bunch of women in one room, there was a lot of unnecessary comparison and unspoken competition. Luckily, there was one woman who, through no fault of her own, earned our mutual disdain.
The one we hate lost all her baby weight. Her daughter slept through the night at three weeks. She had a booming veterinary practice, breastfed effortlessly, made homemade babyfood out of her own garden, and looked like Jennifer Garner.
When she got a clogged milk duct, we were secretly happy. We're not proud of this fact.
Over time, I started to find myself in another category: The Creepy Old Guy Hanging out At High School Parties.
When Owen began to sit up, eat his own solid foods, and make motions to crawl, I realized that I had overstayed my welcome. Owen looked like a baby verson of The Rock next to the newborn Ryan Seacreasts, He was big, he could hold up his own head, and he had a tooth. It was just time.
I left Nurse Veronica and her soft sensible advice behind me.
Thankfully, the happy hour girl continued to take my calls.
It would be awesome if I had a really cleaver way to end this post, but alas, I fear that like my breasts, the well has run dry.