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Babble– A New Website for Moms and Dads

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“Gee” is the The Bear’s latest babbling sound. My husband thought that perhaps he was “Gee,” that The Bear had spoken his first word and picked his Dad as the object of his affection. I hated to tell him that “Gee” was used to comment on diaper changes, a jar of carrot mush and a cell phone that was out of reach. Bottom line, it’s the babble of an 8 month old and we’re mighty proud.
If you’re looking for babble of another sort, check out a new parenting website that launched late last night. Babble is brought to you by the folks who are behind Nerve, an off-beat sex magazine. Here’s how they’re selling themselves.
Babble will be every bit as disruptive to the status quo as Nerve was when it started. It will be a revolution in parenting magazines: a publication that talks to parents not just as caregivers, but as fun, smart, intellectually curious people. It will apply Nerve’s tradition of irreverent honesty to the experience of parenting without the infantilizing, hyper-judgmental tone or acquisitive baby-as-accessory bent of so much of today’s parenting fare.
The subject of parenting needs a bold new voice because people lie about it so often. The topic is plagued by politically correct clichés and generic sentimentality. This is just what we said about sex nine years ago. Today there are more taboos and more social pressures around parenting than there are around sex. We will cover the most controversial topics in parenting via personal essays, our exhaustive info center, and witty, original columns like “Bad Parent” and “Notes from a Non-Breeder.”

I’ve been checking out the site for the past hour or so and it’s pretty endless. I could spend a few more hours here reading all the columns, essays and blogs. But we’re on day 4 of sleep training here with The Bear, and I fear another long night. I could also spend a while watching the videos they’ve got on the site, but I’m trying to keep the volume low on the computer for fear of stirring the sleeping beast– The Bortski (age 2). I could also jump into the discussion forums, but my log-in isn’t working and I can’t find the paper where I scribbled my user name and password.
In a quick overview, I did find some interesting breast feeding items. For starters, they’re hyping a piece titled “The Breast Feeding Conspiracy: Believe it or Not, Formula Isn’t Poison.” Given the headline, I expected something pretty sarcastic. Instead, I found a fairly level-headed piece. The author writes:
Let’s agree that breastfeeding is ideal. Let’s agree that public policies and workplaces should support it better. But let’s also acknowledge that bottle-feeding moms need encouragement too. Cruelty helps no one — not babies, not moms.
In the breast feeding arena, there is also a beautiful essay, Succor, about nursing a baby boy.
He spits up milk. Runs down his cheek. And onto my blouses that now smell rotten. My tits have worry lines. I’ve got nipples for days. And then the breast pump from hell.
Under the heading of Extreme Parenting (slight bias there), you’ll also find “Milking It,” an essay written by a woman who nursed her daughter until she was almost four years old.
When I told my sister I didn’t know how long I planned to nurse, she said that a child who could ask for the breast was likely too old for it. I threw my head back and laughed. Indeed. Who nurses a kid capable of reciting his phone number or knock-knock jokes? That’s creepy. But then there I was, years after giving birth, hoisting my shirt and lowering my bra cup for the budding comedian in my lap.
Finally, under the Health & Development heading, you’ll find information on a range of topics, including breast feeding. Within each topic, the editors have created a spectrum that shows how different groups come down on a given topic. For instance, my blogging friend The Lactivist is at one end of the spectrum on the topic of Breast Milk: Sharing vs. Banking.
Overall, I like what I see. But the site does feel a bit like the popular kids’ table in the school cafeteria. Only this time, the gossip isn’t about the latest hook-up or break-up. Instead, everyone seems to be trying to one-up each other with their parenting coolness quotient. As for this household…the real cool kids are both still in diapers and they’ve got a posse of pals just waiting to exchange true baby babble.



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