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!”
I have sympathy for parents who are unable to obtain baby formula due to the evil and incompetence of politicians.
I would also say that hopefully this is a wakeup call to become more self-sufficient—God literally designed mothers to feed their babies.
— Eric Sammons (@EricRSammons) May 11, 2022
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.