Travel is very broadening, part 2.

Best story from Kate’s Euro tour: The government-owned venues they played had the best food, and some even had chefs who would come in and make the artists a four-course meal before they went on. Also, they did a quickly arranged two-song pop-up at a sunglass boutique in Paris and all came away with a new pair of shades as payment. Also, Jean-Baptiste, their tour manager, knew all the best places to eat and even a secret swimming hole outside of Marseille.

They had a great time. Transformational, even.

So. The U.S. is having a baby-formula shortage. As usual, it’s complicated — a plant closed blah blah and supply-chain issues blah blah, you know the drill. Normally this is the sort of problem I’d pay polite but disinterested attention to. I want babies to be fed, but there are no babies in my current immediate orbit, so I don’t feel the urgency. I certainly don’t want any to be malnourished or die.

But it’s been kind of horrifying, given the other big event surrounding women’s bodies in recent days, to hear how many men are utterly. Clueless. About breastfeeding.

Not all of them. Those whose wives breast-fed generally get it. But a disturbing number of men have taken to social media to say, “Hey, just breast-feed!”

And this was one of the better ones. There were others that were far, far worse.

I breast-fed. It was a rough start, but we worked it out. And I kept it up. Kate weaned herself the week of her first birthday, and that was that. I didn’t realize at the time how rare that was, what a luxury it was, but let me tell you, I had a LOT of support. A long maternity leave, a breast pump, a lactation room at work, flexible hours. That’s almost unheard-of. Just having a job makes it insanely difficult for a working mother, unless you can take your kid to work, and hardly anyone can do that. Plus it requires good nutrition and, mostly, time. Newborns eat more or less constantly, which means you spend half your life sitting in a chair, nursing. Then they get a little older, and you spend a third of your time there. Then they get older still, and new complications ensue. All of which can derail something like breastfeeding.

What every parent should learn from parenthood is that no one has the perfect answer. Whatever works for you may not work for the family next door. And I remember one member of my nursing mothers’ group, who cried because she simply couldn’t make enough milk and her child was medically diagnosed as malnourished. An affluent, educated woman. She was crushed. So if you think “just breast-feed” is the answer, and you don’t support things like long paid parental leave to accommodate, take a long walk in a different direction.

God, this stupid country.

OK, then! On that cheery note, have a great weekend, all.

Posted at 9:55 pm in Current events |

38 responses to “Travel is very broadening, part 2.”

  1. icarus said on May 12, 2022 at 10:34 pm

    Speaking of breast feeding

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  2. Sherri said on May 13, 2022 at 12:05 am

    I was one of those affluent, educated women who simply could not make breastfeeding work sufficiently well to feed my daughter. Even with the support of a lactation consultant and a breast pump to keep my milk supply up, my daughter just would not nurse well. I did a mix of breastfeeding and formula for about four months, then stopped beating my head against that particular wall.

    It was emotionally hard. I had been unable to get pregnant naturally, been unable to give birth naturally, and now couldn’t feed my baby naturally. Somehow, we both managed to survive.

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  3. MARYBETH S POOLE said on May 13, 2022 at 12:19 am

    I was ridiculously lucky. At 36 I decided I wanted to get pregnant and within three months I was. I had no problem with breastfeeding. At 40 I got pregnant again, had another baby at 41. Again no problem breastfeeding. My mom had me at 44 so I guess I inherited some fertility and lactation gene. It wasn’t anything special I was doing, eating, thinking. I was just lucky. An extra benefit was how much breastfeeding annoyed some men. I was very careful to cover up but men just could not deal with it. Best example? Sitting in an alcove at the Museum of Natural History in NYC, discretely feeding Pete, the future roadie. There was a sign over the arched door to a larger room that said “Hall of Mammals.” A guy actually complained to a guard about me feeding my son. I pointed to the sign and said I was an exhibit.
    I had friends who were not lucky, had problems with mastitis and producing enough milk and I saw how difficult it was for them. Some guys don’t get it. Some women don’t either.

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  4. Dexter Friend said on May 13, 2022 at 3:56 am

    Our baby was lactose intolerant so we had to use formula. The supply running out all these years later is intolerable. A plant in Sturgis, Michigan, that was closed may open up again to make formula, but it will take 6 weeks to get to shelves. President Joe is working to maybe use national emergency powers to enable plants to convert to formula output. One report on NBC showed a mother who had called every store in her nearest 6 states, willing to drive anywhere to buy formula…nada.

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  5. David C said on May 13, 2022 at 5:59 am

    The just make your own from recipes on the internet crowd is almost as obnoxious as the just breastfeed crowd. When the people who know what they’re talking about say don’t even fucking try, then don’t even fucking try or encourage others to try.

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  6. David C said on May 13, 2022 at 6:37 am

    Well this happened quicker than I thought it would. Is this the new “Full self driving in six months pending regulatory approval”?

    Mr Musk, who last week secured $7bn from new investors for his $44bn takeover, tweeted: “Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users.”

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  7. alex said on May 13, 2022 at 7:16 am

    Just what MAGA World needed right now, another thing to blame on Biden. While it mansplains lactation.

    I found it heartening to hear that there’s a new Monmouth poll that says Roe is running neck-and-neck with Inflation as an issue that will drive voters to the ballot box this fall and I hope it’s not an outlier.

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  8. Julie Robinson said on May 13, 2022 at 9:11 am

    What a terrific experience for Kate and the band. Broadening and maturing, I think.

    Sherri, I hear you. I breastfed our first and felt like a total earth mother, but developed horrible pain issues with our second. Years later I read some studies indicating it was nerve pain; at the time it was excruciating and of course I couldn’t take any meds. After a month of literally no sleep I too felt like a failure whose body had betrayed her.

    But said child grew up healthy and happy and celebrated a birthday yesterday, so in the end did it matter? Not a bit, though the price of formula was an unpleasant surprise.

    Elon Musk is a shallow, self-entitled user. I’m glad people are finally starting to see this.

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  9. JodiP said on May 13, 2022 at 9:15 am

    And you know that someone just like that Sammons guy was the one telling Marybeth not to feed in public, right? FFS, women should have the right to just take care of their babies however they see fit. And whooo boy there is a subculture of women that shames women so much for using formula. Even with women who’ve had breast cancer, and double mastectomies.

    Hey, in happier news, scientists in Australia found an enzyme that appears to help babies wake up. This is huge because they found that babies that died of SID have far lower levels of said enzyme. This means parents can stop blaming themselves for their babies dying suddenly. More research is being done on remedies.

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  10. Julie Robinson said on May 13, 2022 at 10:13 am

    I read that yesterday, Jodi, and thought about the family we know who were devastated by a SIDS death. They never got a “cause” and always felt guilty, leading to self-destructive behavior and a parental death. So. Damn. Horrible. I pray this discovery leads to better systems for monitoring.

    Could Marybeth be our own LAMary? With a roadie son named Pete? My best friend growing up was also Marybeth.

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  11. Suzanne said on May 13, 2022 at 10:27 am

    I breastfed but learned quickly that it was much harder than I thought. It took time to get both me & baby to figure it out. It may be natural, but it’s not intuitive and I never could get the hang of a breast pump. After a few months, neither of our kids wanted anything to do with formula, so I was pretty much stuck being a milk machine, which would not have been possible if I had been working at the time.
    I enjoyed it but it isn’t for everyone, isn’t possible for everyone, and doesn’t work for everyone.

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  12. LAMary said on May 13, 2022 at 10:41 am

    Yes, I’m Marybeth and when I saw that my whole name showed up on my comment I thought I had deleted it. Guess not. I have no idea how I managed to get my name on there. I was getting a bit too multi-tasky last night.

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  13. basset said on May 13, 2022 at 11:34 am

    I remember overhearing a restaurant conversation in which a heavily pregnant young woman told everyone at her table that she was about to “just stay home and be a cow” for the next year or so. They seemed to approve.

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  14. Connie said on May 13, 2022 at 12:10 pm

    I breastfed for ten weeks and found it to be a pain in general. At ten weeks I went back to work and she went to daycare. That new schedule had her finally sleeping nights within days.

    My last new library building included what we called the quiet room, but it was done due to the need for a private secure pumping location. In The building we moved out of a very large closet was used for a pumping coworker. We could hear her pump.

    My admin career included figuring out how to enable employee pumping several times in various library buildings of varying ages. Finding a private lockable space is tricky. My favorite is the one who chose to pump in the hazmat shower on the maintenance floor. She loved it, no one ever went up there.

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  15. Sherri said on May 13, 2022 at 12:16 pm

    Elon’s putting the deal on hold not because of bots, which is not new information, but because Tesla’s stock has been cratering since the announcement of the Twitter purchase. Since borrowing against Tesla is a big part of how he’s financing the purchase, he has a problem. Tesla stock was wildly overpriced compared to any fundamental valuation of the company, and so he’s probably running into problems securing financing.

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  16. LAMary said on May 13, 2022 at 12:29 pm

    I think I should mention that my other son has created a job for himself. Pete is not the only hustler in the family. He started this helping a friend but it expanded into an interesting and lucrative job. He helps people who inherit a houseful of stuff. He inventories it, photographs it, researches value, finds buyers for silver, china, antiques, books. Pretty much anything unless it’s just junk. If it’s junk he arranges to have it hauled away. His lack of any sentimental attachment or feelings of guilt for getting rid of something granny left someone is useful.

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  17. Sherri said on May 13, 2022 at 12:50 pm

    The “just breastfeed!” solution to the formula shortage is of course incompatible with the “just give the baby up for the adoption!” solution to the unwanted pregnancy problem.

    It’s like people think women have breast spigots we can just turn on or off. If God literally designed mothers to feed their babies, then God also literally designed for some babies to die if that was their only source of sustenance, and babies did die.

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  18. susan said on May 13, 2022 at 3:11 pm

    We are dealing with people like this ignorant male.

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  19. David C said on May 13, 2022 at 3:16 pm

    I wonder how much Elon has tied up in cryptocurrencies too. That’s got to be hurting him. That one could bring down a fair number of techno libertarians. Couldn’t happen to a better bunch.

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  20. annie said on May 13, 2022 at 4:31 pm

    I had twins. premature. needing to be fed all the time, often simultaneously. I tried for one week to breastfeed. impossible. I suppose I could have hired a wet nurse.

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  21. Julie Robinson said on May 13, 2022 at 5:20 pm

    Annie, a friend with twins lasted about as long as you. She was exhausted all the time anyway, even with a helpful husband. Twin moms are a special kind of warriors.

    Mary, your son should do well in his career. I’d have hired him in an instant to do my mom’s house. We got her to pass along the china and crystal, but she still has her sterling silver. So maybe I’ll hire him after she goes.

    Forgot to write this yesterday: our son is remote working for a theatrical company, but his coworkers all made videos for his birthday yesterday. They were super creative; sung, with instruments, even some choreography, all of them on the Les Mis theme since he’s been in that show. He’s never met any of them in person but they have bonded over zoom meetings and are caring people. It touched my heart.

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  22. Deborah said on May 13, 2022 at 8:58 pm

    LAMary, that’s an excellent idea for a profession that your son has. He should do well, so many people could use that kind of help.

    I was a breast feeder too. LB was a happy baby being breast fed until she was 14 months old and then abruptly one day she stopped and didn’t want to have anything to do with it. I had become a member of the local leleche league and called them for help many times, then I became an advisor. It was so easy for me once I got over the initial hard part. I couldn’t imagine dealing with bottles. I was a stay at home mom for a full year and a half or so and didn’t have to deal with pumping etc.

    Some of the leleche league people breast fed their kids until they were 3 or so which I wasn’t about to do, they believe in letting the child decide when to stop.

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  23. LAMary said on May 13, 2022 at 10:49 pm

    Julie, you’d probably like my son. He’s soft spoken with a wicked sense of humor. We were discussing Jared Kushner’s father being pardoned by Trump and I explained why he was in prison. His brother in law was going to testify against him in regarding a shady financial activity so Kushner hired a call girl to flirt with and then have sex with the brother in law. He then tried to blackmail the brother in law, threatening to tell his wife (sister of senior Kushner) knowing she’d file for divorce, unless the brother in law backed off from testifying. Senior Kushner was charged with witness tampering and sent to prison. My son quietly said,”so just a case of being in wrong place at the wrong time.”

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  24. Andrea said on May 13, 2022 at 11:17 pm

    Collectively I have spent more than 5 years of my life lactating to feed my children while working. It was hard work. My children were all unable to digest any cow’s milk products that included casein or whey, which included most formulas, so I had to follow a severely restricted diet while they were nursing. The only formula available to them at the time was prescription only and extremely expensive. My middle daughter had thrush for 6 months, which was painful for me and required us to launder and sterilize every single thing that touched my chest or her mouth every single day. I could only wear a bra once before washing it and rinsing in white vinegar. Same for bath towels. Any part of the pump. Bottles and nipples. Binkies. You name it. The oldest and youngest had jaundice and the youngest had a shortened frenulum. Middle refused any solid food of any kind until she was 10 months old. Trust me when I say that nursing my children was a 24/7 commitment. I am glad I did it. I recognize the privilege I had to do it. AND it was very hard work.

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  25. Dave said on May 14, 2022 at 2:29 pm

    I see that Bette Midler has chimed in on nursing babies and she doesn’t get it, either.

    My wife tried so hard to nurse with our first baby but she struggled and decided it wasn’t going to happen. Years later, when that baby became a mother, she tried very hard, too, but gave it up, having much the same experience. I can understand men being ignorant, but the likes of Bette Midler surprises me. If anything, I guess I should feel better that it’s not just men but I know and have known plenty of ignorant men.

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  26. Deborah said on May 14, 2022 at 5:08 pm

    It actually is possible to breast feed even if you’ve not been pregnant or given birth. It’s very hard and takes an incredible amount of effort. And after doing all that it only works for about half the women who try. It also doesn’t usually produce enough to sustain a baby without supplements. I was pretty sure I remembered hearing that when I was involved in the LeLeche League so I googled it

    Still in Everett, no whale sign yet though. Lots of booze and laughing sitting around the fire pit in the evenings.

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  27. Sherri said on May 14, 2022 at 7:57 pm

    Abortion, that’s murder, but some 18 year old buying body armor and an assault weapon and driving 200 miles to shoot up some black people, well, that’s just the price of freedom. Ain’t that America.

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  28. Mark P said on May 14, 2022 at 10:29 pm

    Shooting down elementary kids and their teachers is also the price of freedom. At least the freedom to buy high-capacity semi-auto rifles. I’m sure any good Republican would gladly give up the lives of your children so that any nut job off the street can own semi-automatics.

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  29. Dexter Friend said on May 15, 2022 at 3:39 am

    This hatred, this white supremacy…I see it on my street with Trump flags everywhere.
    The worst outcomes are the mass shootings. Now, Buffalo, New York, Tops Market. A mundane shopping day turns into this, 10 dead and many more shot. 2 whites, the rest African Americans. An 18 year-old white man, using what CNN reports is a legally purchased , possibly modified rifle. Words, thoughts and prayers do not help the situation, and we are doomed to witness many, many more shootings, as the politicians want more weapons into the hands of everyone it seems. The decent politicians are drowned out by the crazies.

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  30. Jeff Gill said on May 15, 2022 at 7:40 am

    We got to host and honor Connie Schultz yesterday at Denison, and I had the chance to talk to her lovely husband as well. She received an honorary degree and delivered the commencement address. Her sequence starts at 1:36 in the livestream, where you can hear the degree citation I had the pleasure of writing about her, and her speech which begins at 1:41 opens with her thanking my wife, which left Joyce in tears of delight & appreciation:

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  31. Dorothy said on May 15, 2022 at 8:11 am

    I nursed both of my kids – I joined LaLeche League before I had the first one to educate myself as much as I could. I went to meetings often and the support was terrific. It was not difficult for me but I did have occasional issues, but nothing my doc or League buddies could not help me with. I was well aware that it was not that easy for a LOT of women – the myriad potential problems would surprise most people who don’t know how it works.

    I was still nursing my first one when I miscarried. My daughter was about 11 months old when I lost that pregnancy, which happened at around the 12 week mark. My OB said it was sometimes suspected that if you nurse while you’re pregnant, it could bring on a miscarriage. My pediatrician said that was bunk. I nursed my daughter until she was 18 months old (of course at some point she was only nursing at bedtime, not during the day). I did wean her when I was about 16 weeks along with that pregnancy, which resulted in my son’s birth in April 1985. I swear I wasn’t being bullheaded, continuing to nurse while pregnant, but I do admit to feeling like I made a point to my OB that you CAN still nurse one child while being pregnant with another. One more thing: I remember my mom saying that she was nursing her second (my brother Greg) and all of a sudden he just refused to nurse. He was 4 or 5 months old so she had to switch to formula. She found out not long after he stopped nursing that she was pregnant with my brother Dave. Greg and Dave are a year and four days apart. She assumed something about her milk was disagreeable to baby Greg. That’s the only time she experienced that while nursing a baby. None of the rest of her kids were born that close together.

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  32. ROGirl said on May 15, 2022 at 8:44 am

    Margaret Atwood has weighed in on the Alito draft opinion.

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  33. Little Bird said on May 15, 2022 at 12:15 pm

    Quick question, how can one plead not guilty when one has live-streamed one’s criminal activity and posted a manifesto? I don’t get it.

    In other news, I went to the local rally for reproductive rights yesterday. The turnout was couple hundred people, maybe three. It was predominantly older people, older than I. By a few decades older. There was a low-rider car show on the plaza that got a MUCH larger attendance. Priorities are out of whack.

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  34. beb said on May 15, 2022 at 3:40 pm

    Sherri@2 sounds like our girl. She would nurse for a little bit than stop. We were devastated when her pediatrician classified her as “failure to thrive.” We had to switch to formula.

    LAMary, your son is going to have a good career cleaning our parent’s houses. Often it’s hard to know what something is worth and then selling it is a hassle. His is a service a lot of people will want.

    A lot of supple=chain problems really reflect the consolidation of markets. Instead of ten companies working at 60% of capacity we are down to six companies working at 100% capacity. And when one of those factories goes down, like the Abbott one, there will be shortages and no slack. The government needs to be much more diligent about stopping consolidation.

    I can’t imagine driving four hours (200 miles) just to kill a bunch of people. Maybe I’m lazy that way. The “Not Guilty” is more of a formality to ensure a trial by jury. But what’s the point. Driving 200 miles proves intent, as does live-streaming it. A Trump judge in California decided that the state can’t limit semi-automatic gun purchases to people under 21. I’m beginning to think our Constitution IS a suicide pact.

    Finally, I wonder if Alito’s SCOTUS can’t be declared unconstitutional on the grounds that attempts to establish a religious belief contrary to the 1st amendment. Because it advances very Catholic dogma

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  35. tajalli said on May 15, 2022 at 3:57 pm

    Louise Erdrich had her Nanapush character breast feed an orphaned baby in one of her earliest books (actually he was staying in his cabin, not a book 🙂 ). So a quick internet search provided this article. Look out all you right wing men, you’ll have to put up or shut up when all those hungary unwanted little newborns arrive.

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  36. LAMary said on May 15, 2022 at 4:47 pm

    Recalling the photo of Ted Cruz in his resort ensemble during the ice storms in Texas, I think he could lactate. I’d pay cash money to see that. On second thought, no. I just had a little bile-ish reflux.

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  37. David C said on May 15, 2022 at 5:44 pm

    The only think I’d pay to see Rafael Cruz do is to be thrown in the back of an FBI car to be booked for seditious conspiracy.

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  38. Sherri said on May 15, 2022 at 8:02 pm

    Sitting in LAX, waiting to return home after a weekend spent at the ACLU Biennial Leadership Conference. Usually held in odd years, but delayed from last year to this by the pandemic, I got to hear from other board leaders and EDs and people from the national org, as well as finally meet a couple of my board members in person for the first time.

    Yes, there was also a session on abortion, but a reminder that there is no magic solution, this is a long range problem that has both defensive and offensive components. This is one of the reasons we’ve been shifting to an integrated advocacy model the last few years; litigation alone is not sufficient. We will continue to get involved in elections, not by picking a side, but by making sure that we communicate to voters what civil rights issues are involved and where candidates stand on them. And by making voters aware of the importance of DA races, and judicial races, and sheriff races.

    What is really evident is that the ACLU made a commitment to diversity and has followed through. This is a conference for affiliate board leadership and leaders to be, and at the board president’s breakfast this morning, there were a lot of women of color.

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