Thursday, September 3, 2009

Enfamil: Meeting Parent Demand or Enabling Abuse?

If you are a mom who likes to keep up on hot topics you have probably seen this new product by Enfamil, one of the world's leading formula companies:

New Enfamil® RestFull™

Specially designed to help babies feel full longer and sleep better.

Give your baby a RestFull Night.

Your baby needs a proper amount of sleep to keep her healthy and happy. That's why we created new Enfamil RestFull, the formula specially designed to naturally encourage a good night's sleep.

•A natural way to help keep your baby feeling satisfied.

•Thickens gently in baby's tummy and digests slowly.

Wait wait wait wait...NATURAL?  Nothing about any brand of formula is natural.  So let's see what they are really selling, shall we?  While it doesn't advertise it's ingredients after some research I found it is formula with rice starch added.  Babies' tummies aren't designed to digest non-human milk.  I can go on about how your baby will most likely have some distress from this constipating combination or about how it's not optimal nutrition, but this isn't really my main focus here.

Whether you formula or breastfeed you should be appalled at this.  Babies need night time parenting.  They wake frequently because it's one of their natural defenses against SIDS and they need help adjusting to the world.  Infant-mother/father bonding isn't important just during daytime hours, but at night as well.  Babies shouldn't be expected to sleep through the night just because they have gloppy formula sitting in their tummies.  It's not just ridiculous, it's dangerous.

But let's take it a step further...what really brought on this demand for a substance that promises us easier babies?

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the average American mother. 

This mom watches tv and so she has an idea in her head about what her house should look like, even though she is watching a set and not an actual home she sees the shiny new appliances, the granite countertops and the hardwood floors all sparkling clean with a baby crawling across the floor in a diaper and she looks at her house and thinks "My house is a pigsty!  I need to have a nicer, cleaner home."  So she does more housework and thinks about upgrading her kitchen, which will cost more money.

The average American mother is expected to go back to work when her baby is no more than 8 weeks old.  At this point she still isn't getting good sleep and she has barely healed from her birth.  But she tearfully takes her baby to childcare and leaves him or her for 8-10 hours a day so she can bring home the bacon.

Most average American moms are born into a generation where their moms worked while they grew up and the new grandmas are still working so the average American mom has no support from her mom during this time.

The average American mom still does the majority of the shopping, cooking, cleaning.  That's not to say that the average American dad isn't involved, most are more involved than their fathers were.  But overall it seems that most moms run the house, contribute financially and do the majority of childcare.  With a brand new baby, hormonal shifts, and possibly other children to care for she is easily plagued with feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and even depression.  She compares herself to other moms and wonders how they do it.  She resents people who have the support she needs or whose babies sleep through the night.

Night time comes and she is exhausted but her baby hasn't seen her all day and he or she has plans to nurse all night long to make up for the bonding time they missed during the day.  So with about four hours of sleep total under her belt the new mom finds that 6:30am is here way before she is ready. 

So instead of the average American woman demanding that less be demanded of her, she demands that her baby be less demanding.  Enfamil answers the call with the promise of more sleep and the baby is left with glue in his or her tummy so that mom can get some sleep before she goes on a maniacal rampage from sleep deprivation and her husband runs for the hills.

Why is it so hard for people to understand that new moms need mothered, too?  Products like this wouldn't hit the shelves if America just figured this out.  Other cultures pamper their new mommies and some government programs even offer a free baby nurse while their mommies recover.  In other countries working moms are given a year of paid leave from work.  It is awful to see how moms are treated in this country.  If you don't believe me try dealing with a boss who acts like you having a baby is a personal attack on them or who refuse to make finding a place to use a breastpump easy, even though they are required to by law.  Try asking for longer than 6-8 weeks off of work.  I can't tell you how many moms I know have been laid off while on maternity leave or FMLA.

Our babies deserve better than this formula, but our moms also deserve better treatment.  They are raising our future presidents, CEOs, doctors, politicians, clergy, and other important leaders who will control our world when we are no longer able to.  How we treat our moms will reflect how they treat their children.   How we treat our children will reflect on our future.  It's as simple as that.

That being said, I hope this product is pulled of the shelves immediately.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Muffin Tops Are The Best Part Of The Muffin

Being a gravida 4 (medical terminology for pregnant with my 4th baby) I am already experiencing the muffin top-type baby belly that just looks like I had too many Krispy Kreme doughnuts. At a mere 8 weeks I am enjoying the comfort of maternity clothes, which I am sure by the end of this pregnancy I will be sick to death of wearing. Maternity clothes are funny that way. You are sick of them by the time you are done with them but when it comes time to re-open that box you embrace their stretchy goodness and their ample room around your waist.

So here I am at 8 weeks:

I know soon I will be subjected to public questioning starting with the normal "When are you due?" and moving on to "Do you know what you are having?" and concluding with "Is this your first?" I may actually make myself a shirt that says "Spring, It's a surprise, 4th." I may put on the back "Yes we know what causes it, and we LIKE IT!" for good measure.
Here's to my uterus and it's miraculous ability to grow are the most facinating organ I have ever known. Cheers, girlfriend!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Our Little Planned Surprise

Stephen and I debated trying for another baby for awhile. It just didn't seem like the right time or one of us was not ready or we weren't sure if it was the best thing to do. After all, a family of 6 is pretty large these days. So about 3 weeks after we officially "tried" here I was in the bathroom one hot July morning:

Needless to say we were happy and surpised. I folded up a little ducky pajama with the pregnancy test on it and gave it to Stephen as a gift. His response was "Are you serious?" Yeah, dude...totally!!

The kids were thrilled after a short scavenger hunt lead them to the clues that let them know they would soon be big siblings (again):

So that's what's new with me. I am due March 24th and I am planning a homebirth with a midwife. We don't plan on finding out the sex so it will be a surprise when the baby is born. Such an exciting time!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Long Time Gone

My blogging hobby was put on the back burner recently to work on some things at home, mainly the kiddos and the house that was needing some major attention.  I love blogging but Midge is at an age where he is incredibly active and my blogging "mojo" is interrupted quite often.  So today we are having an unexpected thunderstorm and I am trying to have a relaxing day because not only is the weather lazy but Midge is on a sleeping strike and refuses to nap and is up off and on during the night.  To boot I am on call for 3 births in the next two weeks.  I didn't plan it that way, but one of my moms is far past her due date and the other two are looking like they may go early.  Thank God for back up doulas!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Just Call Me Wendy, CD(DONA)!

It's official...I am a certified birth doula through DONA International!  Woo-hoo! 

That's it...just wanted to share the news.

School Fundraisers Stink!

I love my kids' school.  I think the teachers are wonderful.  I do my best to volunteer my time and efforts to help the school as much as I can.  However there is one beef I have about public schools...fundraiser packets. 

Usually the fundraiser is presented to the children in an assembly to pump them up to sell things.  Of course they show the kids that they can win a radio, money, or obscure things like a disco ball or pens that double as compasses if they sell X amount of items.  The kids get excited and bring the packet home to me and ask me to help them sell 42 items so they can get a plastic disco ball light up thingie that looks like it was intended for a preschool rave.  I try to explain that to sell 42 items is a hard thing to do because people don't always need the things that are being sold and all of their friends have parents who are trying to sell the same stuff so the market for their product is pretty saturated.  It's not that I am trying to be discouraging, but I hate to see them get frustrated because the assembly pepped them up for a goal that isn't really reasonable in the first place.  So I buy something I don't really want or need to make them feel better and let them call their grandma with a sales pitch.  The neighbor lady buys some candy and that is about all we get.  They earn a plastic bracelet and feel jealous that Tommy's dad was able to take his catalog to work and sell over 100 items so Tommy gets awarded with a radio in front of the whole school, setting the other kids up for a heaping dose of jealousy and resentment towards me for not being more proactive in selling the random stuff nobody really needs. 

While I am on the rant, have you ever tried to explain to a six year old who doesn't seem to live in the same reality as you do that having 42 items doesn't mean you count the number of cars or that you have to sell 42 of your own toys or that you just own 42 items and therefore you get a prize?  It is enough to make you want to hit the bar before noon.  I tried to explain to him that he has to sell 42 items out of the catalog because he replies "I did!" and I keep trying to tell him he didn't and he insists that he did.  I try about 8 different ways to explain it and he is still walking around talking about the disco ball he will earn.  I give up and pray he forgets about the stupid ball. 

I wish that fundraisers sold things people need, not keychains or cookie dough (don't even get me started on the "Healthy Kids Cookbook" that featured fruit on top of a frosted sugar cookie).  Maybe I'd get excited if they sold natural items that I would actually use.  Reusable gift wrap anyone??

Thursday, April 9, 2009

It Was Legendary

**Warning: Graphic description of puke mess...not for weak stomachs.**

Once again the stomach flu found it's way into our house.  It started with Midge and hit me and then went to Bear.  Last night we were dying eggs with the dye from boiled fruits, veggies, and spices.  After we were done Bear went to the couch and watched tv.  He seemed happy but said his tummy hurt.  While I was cleaning up the dye mess he went to the bathroom and came out and told me he had thrown up.  He was so matter of fact and relaxed about it that I didn't think he was telling the truth.  As I went towards the bathroom he told me "I thought I was done so I closed the lid and I threw up on top of the toilet."  When I walked into the bathroom I saw the most heinous of all vomit messes I had ever seen so I walked right back out, grabbing Bear's toothbrush on the way out, and shut the door.  I handed Bear his toothbrush and instructed him to brush his teeth in my bathroom.  With my sleeve over my nose I assessed the damage and decided I needed a plan.  Stephen walked in and asked why the house stunk like BO.  I showed him the bathroom and he looked dumbfounded.  "Really?  On top of the lid?" he marveled. 

Part of being a mom is not making a huge deal over things like puke and potty accidents but this legendary mess was going to take some dramatic measures.  I brought 10 towels, paper towels, cleaner, Lysol, a laundry basket lined with a trash bag and put on gloves and tied two towels over my nose and mouth.  I'm sure I was rebreathing a bunch of CO2 but I didn't care. 

It was everywhere...on top of the toilet, on the seat, in the toilet spattered from end to end of the bowl, down the sides of the toilet bowl, on the toilet brush, on the step stool, on the shower curtain, on the toilet plunger, in the trash can, on the side of the trash can, pooled behind the toilet, on the throw rug, in front of the toilet, on the side of the tub, on the side of the cabinets, and splashed up on the walls and plumbing behind the toilet.  Truly a legendary puke.  It took me about 20 minutes to clean and sterilize.  And I made it through without a single gag.  Yay mommy!

After things were back together I put my sickie to bed.  I knew I could lecture him about the proper way to puke into the toilet but instead I gave my big boy lots of love and told him I hoped he felt better soon.  As I tucked him in I thought about all the things I've done over the years for my kids that are gross, heartbreaking, painful, or that required a great sacrifice on my part.  I find that I don't regret or resent any of my choices or my children for the things I do for them by necessity or by my own free will.  I love my babies more than I can put into words and I would gladly clean up a thousand puke messes if it meant I could still be there to tuck them in at night.