March 30, 2013

"Breast-feeding is time-consuming, exhausting and unselfish."

"While I am thrilled that I have been able to breast-feed my son successfully, I become frustrated when his future ability to connect with others is called into question because I text someone during a feeding session instead of staring at a wall in a dark room for 30 minutes straight."

Is texting while breastfeeding any different from reading or watching television while breastfeeding? How bored do you need to allow yourself to get before you can give yourself credit for being a good enough mother? And you'll never be good enough, because the bored-out-of-her-skull mother isn't very good. And let's say you could force yourself to always believe that your children are not only endlessly fascinating, but fascinating in a way that leaves no room for other interests: Would your marriage work out? If not, now, you've hurt those kids. Would the kids truly and perfectly benefit from having a mother who found them endlessly fascinating and utterly fulfilling? I suspect that by the time they turned 13, they'd be telling her she's out of her fucking mind.

88 comments:

pm317 said...

Another liberal whiny -- "see how good and self-less I am breastfeeding my son but I don't get enough credit from the evil tech hating puritans (republicans!?)." Sick of these women.

Oso Negro said...

That Barbara L. Fredrickson sounds like a real expert. I bet she has conducted careful longitudinal studies of childhood outcomes for texting and non-texting mothers and sifted the data for insights. Or perhaps she is just talking out of her ass.

pm317 said...

It is amazing how they make up these things.

Inga said...

No, not a darn thing wrong with it. I often read while breast feeding. I also loved and admired my babies and the way they suckled at my breast. Both are in the realm of possibilities.

ironrailsironweights said...

There once was a lad from Moline
Who was weaned at the age of nineteen.
Said he, "I'll admit,
There's no milk in the tit,
But think of the fun that it's been!"

Peter

Phil 3:14 said...

The phrase "lighten up" comes to mind.

bagoh20 said...

How about if you sext while breastfeeding? Too far? Sorry, just multitasking.

wyo sis said...

Breastfeeding is easy, fulfilling and relaxing.
You can save a lot of money and you know it's better for the baby. Reading, watching TV, dozing, just sitting and enjoying the time together, looking at the child's little face, listening to music, these are things mothers have been doing for years. Adding texting to the list isn't going to make one single iota of difference.

Freeman Hunt said...

Babies like it when you comment at Althouse while they eat.

Saint Croix said...

Hey, April 4th is topless jihad day. Mark your calendars.

Breasts are so awesome, really. Feed the babies, smite the jihad, inspire men everywhere. Big fan. Thank you.

Ann Althouse said...

Seems to me that reading and writing while breastfeeding would be better than watching TV, which the baby is forced to hear.

AprilApple said...

What are we whining about now?
How decadent.

Just don't text, breast feed and drive. That's all I ask.

robinintn said...

What kind of insecure people pay any mind to the sorts who feel free to criticise your breasted feeding technique?

Paco Wové said...

"I become frustrated"

Sorry, didn't follow the link. I don't want to give the NYT any encouragement to continue to publish this sort of thing.

But I do want to know: why do you become frustrated? Why are you so thin-skinned as to care what some idiot thinks? I'll bet I can count on my fingers the number of people whose opinions about my personal life actually matter to me. The rest of you? Eh. Whatever. Talk to the hand.

Saint Croix said...

Although if we're talking chicken, I prefer legs and thighs.

What is up with those interracial chickens, anyway? White meat, dark meat. Make up your mind!

Inga said...

I prefer wings.

Saint Croix said...

yes, Inga, but left wing or right?

Phil 3:14 said...

Why does in 1 in 5 (or so) of my comments disappear? (Even after I confirm their presence)

Inga said...

St. Croix, we can't fly with just one wing.

Saint Croix said...

St. Croix, we can't fly with just one wing.

Chickens can't fly with two!

Gotta be brave.

sydney said...

I used to do all kinds of stuff while breastfeeding - cooking, cleaning, reading, writing, talking on the phone. I remember getting really annoyed once when I answered a page from a patient while breastfeeding and was told by the person who answered the phone, "She can't come to the phone right now, she's nursing the baby."

sydney said...

Sometimes I even slept while breastfeeding. Didn't mean to, was just exhausted.

Saint Croix said...

Hey, are we going to have a topless fight against the jihad around here or what?

sydney said...

Just don't text, breast feed and drive. That's all I ask

Is it OK to talk on the cellphone, breast feed and drive?

Inga said...

St Croix, so how do those free range chickens get to the branches of the tree?

Inga said...

"I used to do all kinds of stuff while breastfeeding - cooking, cleaning, reading, writing, talking on the phone. I remember getting really annoyed once when I answered a page from a patient while breastfeeding and was told by the person who answered the phone, "She can't come to the phone right now, she's nursing the baby.""

3/30/13, 10:20 AM

Oh Sydney, that so "sucks".

JAL said...

Just make sure you shut off the sound on Angry Birds.

Saint Croix said...

St Croix, so how do those free range chickens get to the branches of the tree?

In a free society, even chickens can sorta fly.

DADvocate said...

Breast-feeding is time-consuming, exhausting and unselfish.

Is there a less time-consuming, exhausting and unselfish way to feed a baby? I have 4 kid and never found an easier way. No formula preparation, just pop out a boob and let the baby go to town. My wife preferred breast feeding. And, our kids were big and healthy. Our pediatrician once suggested if my wife could bottle and sell her milk she'd make a fortune.

My concern is what is the affect on a child of a mother who is self-centered and feels sorry for herself for doing what billions of other mothers have done throughout human existence?

Why can't American women do something that is wholly natural with making a complete mind fuck out of it?

Ann Althouse said...

Is it okay to text while having sex?

What if you're texting the person you are having sex with?

Tim said...

Oh Lord Jesus, another preening feel-good liberal.

How much do you want to bet Barbara L. Fredrickson supports late term abortions?

Tim said...

Ann Althouse said...

"Is it okay to text while having sex?

What if you're texting the person you are having sex with?"



Some people have gone one step further - they use iPhone's FaceTime.

True story.

Hagar said...

The world is still full of women who breastfeed while hoeing crops, cleaning house, and cooking dinner.

Simon Kenton said...

Since texting has not been in existence long enough for there to be solid data to buttress Ms Frederickon's statement, I offer this datum to her. Once, on a languid sunny spring morning, Baby Kenton nursed so long, so expertly, as to bring his mother, Mrs. Kenton, to orgasm.

This distracted her attention from her child for the better part of a minute. Now it is almost 35 years later, and I am sure Ms Frederickson will be gratified to learn that his life was ruined.

Chase said...

Ann Althouse said...

"Is it okay to text while having sex?

What if you're texting the person you are having sex with?"



Tim said:

Some people have gone one step further - they use iPhone's FaceTime.

Wouldn't sex le doggy style provide such an opportunity?

Joe said...

If she thinks breast feeding is a burden, wait until her kids become teenagers.

William said...

My perspective is somewhat different, but I have always found breastfeeding to be a pleasant way to while away the hours.

wyo sis said...

"Why can't American women do something that is wholly natural with making a complete mind fuck out of it?"

Only liberal feminist American women, which is admittedly, a large subset.

However, it can come in handy to be a nursing mother. I was able to escape being in charge of several events by using a simple sentence. "I can't, I'm nursing you know."

bagoh20 said...

If I see a woman doing this wrong, my approach is to just show her the proper technique. Nothing needs to be said, that just creates problems. This is much better handled with a hands-on demonstration.

Can you believe that I have high speed internet here in prison. It's great!

Strelnikov said...

Amazing how 100s of millions of women were able to do this without guidance over eons, but modern women view it as some combination of magical achievement and Herculean task.

Strelnikov said...

"William said...
My perspective is somewhat different, but I have always found breastfeeding to be a pleasant way to while away the hours."

Outstanding.

Bender said...

staring at a wall in a dark room for 30 minutes straight

Way to manufacture a false dilemma. This makes as much logical sense as complaining about having to stare at the ceiling for five minutes during sex rather than enjoying a good text. The issue as stated in the original article is women "paying more attention to their phone than their child," which of course could be extended further to paying more attention to other things, making children secondary.

And, of course, the same could be said of fathers too. Why should fathers feel they have to stare at the baby when watching him or her when he can be watching the football game and drinking beer instead?

Sure, parents can do other things while parenting, but to make the children secondary, to place a higher priority on other things, like a stupid phone, is called neglect. And while we are at it, put down the damn phone during dinner, and don't interupt some discussion you are having with someone to take and send a text.

SteveR said...

If she thinks breast feeding is a burden, wait until her kids become teenagers.

You got that right

atlasshruggedforyou said...

"Oral sex is time-consuming, exhausting, unselfish and hella fun"

Fixed it for ya.

ricpic said...

Look at it this way, if mothers were good enough there'd be no more excuse for neurotics to throw away their lives. So be kind to neurotics, mothers, keep on being "not good enough."

Shouting Thomas said...

This girl is even more of a whiny bitch than Andy R!

Lord knows the trouble they've seen!

Darleen said...

Good.lord. where has the word "balance" gone?

If you have more than one child, and especially if they are fairly close in age, you're going to find yourself breastfeeding in all sorts of situations where you can't give undivided attention to the baby on the boob (and mostly when they latch on they kind of go into their own zen like state where you are secondary to them anyway)

I have 4 daughters, the middle two are only 18 months apart in age. Breastfeeding time for #3 meant #2 cuddling in on the non-feeding side where we would look at children's books together.

When #4 came along, some feedings were in a quiet house (all kids at school) or with me helping with homework or just having loud, playing kids in the room.

Freeman Hunt said...

If you breastfeed on an airplane that has empty seats in other rows, you will often end up with your row to yourself.

But then, what are you doing flying while nursing? Going 300 miles an hour might distract you from the baby. People grow up best when they feel that they are always under intense scrutiny, like celebrities.

Deb said...

I must have been doing it wrong. I tried with both kids and it hurt like hell. I'm afraid to admit that I gave up and bottle fed. Then women would come up to me and ask if I breast fed my daughter, and I would lie and say "why yes. Yes I do." and they'd go "I can ALWAYS tell a breast fed baby!"

Of course this was way before tweeting or texting or whatever but I did watch the Comedy Channel while bottle feeding and rocking (something else I think you weren't supposed to do). Amazed that they both didn't turn out to be serial killers.

I'm in complete awe of you ladies who breast feed/fed. REally. I was a total failure.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that there are a number of things that came together to cause this delimma that shouldn't be one.

Somehow the greatest generation women, when having the baby boomers, started viewing breast feeding as old fashioned, and that modern women used formula. And, ultimately, the joys and benefits of breast feeding were rediscovered. But, by then, women were liberated and in the work force, and breast feeding became an issue, because women were competing with men, who didn't have to worry about this, and they often left their young kids elsewhere, when they went off to work. Sure, women can express milk, but that is not a complete solution or viable for many. And, it doesn't provide the bonding, at least during the workday.

Assuming that we don't go back to the single wage earner in a two parent family (unlikely if the Julias continue to increase), there may be some help as more and more work seems to be moving out of the big cities, and often back into the home, where breast feeding is easiest. We shall see.

Sam L. said...

There is nothing a mother can do that will not be disapproved of by someone--usually another mother, or a woman. (Guys ain't goin' there!)

Synova said...

Nursing is more time consuming than a bottle because bottle fed babies usually eat less often... and you can hand the baby off to someone else.

The idea that the baby must be *paid attention to* while being held and nursed (or even bottle fed) is ridiculous.

Sure, yeah, you don't want to leave a newborn untouched except for feeding and changing or otherwise replicate the environment of a Romanian orphanage... but saying you shouldn't text (or read or do dishes or surf the web) with a baby latched to your breast is absurd.

Synova said...

What blows my mind is when someone prioritizes the newborn, who doesn't even notice you, over the toddler who needs your interaction desperately.

Freeman Hunt said...

A lot of times babies close their eyes while they eat. You should continue to stare at them so that if their eyes happen to open, they'll see you staring at them and know you mean business about mothering.

Also, when they're older and do things you don't like, you can point out that you did things like this for them when they were babies, so they shouldn't be so unspeakably cruel to you now by going against your wishes.

Freeman Hunt said...

Children are getting their own phones at ever younger ages.

You could jump ahead of the curve and text the baby.

Dumb Plumber said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dust Bunny Queen said...

Sometimes I even slept while breastfeeding. Didn't mean to, was just exhausted.


The author is nuts. Breast feeding isn't exhausting.

Sometimes it was the best nap time we both got. Baby falling asleep and then mom. I generally read or listened to music....when I wasn't falling asleep from exhaustion.

Why do liberals have to make such a big effing deal out of the most ordinary things?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Also, when they're older and do things you don't like, you can point out that you did things like this for them when they were babies, so they shouldn't be so unspeakably cruel to you now by going against your wishes.

LOL.. The Catholic mother guilt trip. My mom was a pro at this.

Roger J. said...

This is clearly a comment thread when women rule. All I know about breast feeding is, and from a clinical perspective, it is good for infant and mother. Will leave it to the moms to talk about everything else.

Freeman Hunt said...

Brexting
Mother: "You like the milk?"
Baby: "hjgfjhvjhf"
Mother: "You are so cute!"
Baby: "grsrgdgnbv"
Mother: "Baby is so advanced to be using his iPhone!"
Baby: "ongfhfegs"

Freeman Hunt said...

Texting while breastfeeding should obviously be called brexting. What is commenting while breastfeeding? Brommenting? That's too "bro." How about "brammenting?" No, that becomes a confusing mental amalgam of bras, brahmins, and hammering.

JAL said...

I had a couple kids in India.

The first go round all I had a La Leche book.

Living on one side was an older British couple and their daughter with toddler, a German couple with two toddlers downstairs and a single American gray haired school principal lived on the other side. The rest of the humans around us were Indian.

The English girl had not breastfed. The German girl had the (German) hospital weigh the baby after each breastfeeding and then supplement it. (That did not work, obviously.)

I looked around at the remaining 4'10" 88 lb women and said -- "If they can do it, so can I."

I do not ever recall being bored, though if I scratch my memory hard enough I do think I knocked off a bunch of books. Both for the two "Indians" as well as the next two (including a very small preemie.)

American women have entirely too much time on their hands, way over analyze something pretty straightforward, and the commenter is a self-centered wuss.

The big push a few years ago was to get women to breastfeed -- now that they are doing that they are doing it "wrong." The bar is raised again. Sheesh.

JAL said...

Freeman -- "breastmenting"

ironrailsironweights said...

Clearly, the woman who expressed exasperation with those who criticized her for texting while giving suck (an old expression I wish we'd revive) must have the tiniest bit of worry that her critics are onto something. Otherwise she'd just tell them to jump in a lake.

Peter

phx said...

comammomenting?

Joan said...

What blows my mind is when someone prioritizes the newborn, who doesn't even notice you, over the toddler who needs your interaction desperately.

This. On the few occasions where mothers-of-one asked my advice when they were pregnant with their second babies, I'd tell them if both kids were screaming, attend to the toddler first, because the older child will notice if you always put the newborn first, and resent both you and the new baby.

I didn't (wouldn't) read the article. Too much lunacy to contend with.

edutcher said...

Breastfeeding is only a problem if you're doing it in a firefight.

And it's been done.

Inga said...

My first two were 11 months apart, a complete surprise pregnancy and no, I wasn't tempted to get an abortion, I was a lefty even back then. I often had two babies on both breasts for a couple of months until I weaned my oldest (who had been weaned until she saw her baby sister nursing). One of the ways I lost my baby weight really quickly.


We all survived and my two oldest girls get a kick out of being the same age for a month, without being twins.

Inga said...

I should say one baby on each breast, lol.

sinz52 said...

These days, there's an app for that.

There are breastfeeding apps the nursing mom can be working while she's breastfeeding.

There are simple game apps designed for babies too.

These days, babies will be learning to use smartphones before they learn how to eat solid food.

wyo sis said...

Deb
You are not a failure. I could only breast feed my first two for 6 and 4 weeks. Then my last 3 were a breeze. Different times, different kids, different motivation? who knows.

Saint Croix said...

If you ladies would just learn to breastfeed while playing classical music, I'm sure I would be a lot classier now.

It's mom's fault.

Inga said...

Deb, it depends on the shape of the nipple too, inverted or flat nipples could make it be painful I bet. Don't beat yourself up.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ Deb.

I also join in with the rest in that breast feeding isn't always easy for everyone. Don't worry about it. Don't let other people judge you.

Your kids didn't starve and it is the holding and cuddling aspects of the feeding time that are the most important.

SOJO said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SOJO said...

Unfortunately, all evidence I've seen points to a mother who is entranced with her kids leading to the most successful lives. I'm talking about people my own age and how they ended up. A mother's love is a big, fat, deal. They don't have to be around you all the time, but they do have to be endlessly fascinated, think you're the best, and be always and deeply on your side.

That has nothing to do with texting during breastfeeding. It has to do with believing your kid is the best thing in the world. They pick up on it and believe it.

Freeman Hunt said...

That's.not unfortunate. That's fitting.

Nomennovum said...

Solipsism, thy name is woman.

Who gives a shit?

Inga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Inga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Basta! said...

Deb, they're bullies, tell them to piss off.

Also, LaLeche League et al. grossly overstate the benefits of breastfeeding. They'll never tell you, for example about a major study by Michael Kramer, who, starting in 2001, followed almost 14,000 kids in Belarus from birth to age 6 1/2, specifically to compare any differences between breast- and bottle-fed kids. It wound up that there was no measurable difference between them in many areas that we've been repeatedly told breast-feeding has a major positive impact on, e.g. in weight, blood pressure, BMI, asthma, allergies, ear infections. (Here's a link --- I hope, my 1st attempt --- to his obesity study). Kramer concludes: "Previously reported beneficial effects on these outcomes may be the result of uncontrolled confounding and selection bias." No shit.

He did find a slight decrease in rashes in breastfed infants, and a more significant drop in gastrointestinal complaints. But that last only means that 4 in 100 children had ONE less episode of vomiting or diarrhea. That is, it's significant in terms of statistics, but in real life, not so much. There was also a "bump" in "cognitive ability" in breastfeds, but it "varied mysteriously". Prior studies suggest that a slight increase in later IQ scores have more to do with the socioeconomic and educational status of the mother than with breastfeeding; that is, white, well-off, college-educated mothers breastfeed at a much higher rate than women in other groups, and theirs are the kids that are going to test better anyway.

In addition, researchers in Norway contend there's a link between higher-than-usual testerone/androgen in women and their ability to breastfeed easily. Here's their announcement. Near the end, they express the following opinion, for which they'll no doubt be burned at the stake:

"Breastfeeding should be out of politics.

The researcher believes it is time for nursing enthusiasts to calm down.

"There are many good reasons to breastfeed. But concern for the child's health is not one of them. There is no reason why women who are struggling to breastfeed should have to go around feeling guilty, or think that they are giving their child a poor start in life if they can't nurse. Baby formula is as good as breast milk", Carlsen [a professor involved with the research] says."

So, take that bottle and bop those obnoxious overbearing nags on the head with it.

MadisonMan said...

There's always someone somewhere to tell you you're doing something the wrong way.

It's as American as Apple Pie -- made with a lard crust.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

It's as American as Apple Pie -- made with a lard crust.

Which is the ONLY correct way to make a pie crust. /wink

Deb said...

Well thanks, ladies. I really was determined to get it right the second time but 3 1/2 years later I was *still* sore from the first go round. :-)



Deb said...

DBQ: or, to get a good scald on fried chicken.

kristinintexas said...

Ha - I'm reading this post while breastfeeding.

Harold said...

sydney said...
Sometimes I even slept while breastfeeding. Didn't mean to, was just exhausted.

More then once I got up, got the baby, carried him to bed where he latched on to one breast, and after a few minutes, I moved him to the other. And my wife rarely woke up while this was being done.

sydney said...

Oh Harold, whatva wonderful husband you are.