Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Nursing in Public: Horror of Horrors? Maybe Not

Nursing in Public with my breast friend. Copyright 2007 JSH
Ah yes, the image of a mother sitting on a bench at the mall, sandwiched between Hollister and a free-standing kiosk where some creepy dude asks if he can see your nails. Scores of teenagers walk by, clad in high top sneakers and neon short shorts (wait, did I just write that in 2012? Did we time warp back to 1987?), eyes and fingers glued to iPhones. Sure, we could get offended that a 13 year old girl just walked out of Hollister wearing a tank top that shows her ample perky cleavage, with the back of the top made out of see through lace and a pair of shorts that are so short that you can see her buttocks clinging to her thighs for dear life as they fear they may fall to the ground without any support. Across the way, Victoria's Secret's music is thumping and you can see four posters up on the windows showing underweight models with breasts the size of GMO watermelons pouring out of bras that promise to lift, define and change your whole fucking life. One of the models has her body twisted in a pose that not only shows her heaving bosom, but also reveals her airbrushed taut ass being barely covered in a lacy thong. All of that is fine. We're not going to call a security guard because some 13 year old girl is barely covered in her clothing or because there are posters showing mostly naked women seductively staring at you from behind the bra shop window. We don't care that Hot Topic is blasting some song about someone wanting to fuck someone else. No, we care that the mother sitting on the bench is committing such a terrible sin - nursing in public. That's right. She's sitting there with her baby sucking on her breasts. In public. I mean, you can't even see her boob because she has one some sort of clothing that prevents that, but you know what she's doing. If you get close enough to scold the mother for her indecency, you may even hear the baby making swallowing noises as he eats. Isn't that terrible? Of course, you don't want to get too close or you and your children might just see a nipple. Did you know there is an epidemic of people dying because they see nipples? I didn't, either.

Puh-fucking-lease. If this is you, the person who gets oh so offended over seeing a mother nurse her child in the mall or any public place, please do the world a favor, get on the right side of history, and get over yourself. I have zero tolerance for individuals who call security guards and cops on women who are feeding their children. It's 2012. We all know by now that nursing is normal. We all know that people don't die when they see nipples. For fuck's sake, Mark Wahlberg's three nipples hung above Times Square forever and no one died. Why is a nipple that feeds a child any different? Obviously, a nip slip while a mother is nursing is actually quite rare and the most anyone will see is the top of her breast, maybe some side boob or underboob. Sorry, none of that is offensive. You see more titty on teenage girls. You see more titty on grown men. Don't like it? Don't look. For god's sake, use your neck and turn your head. Blink. Look elsewhere. Babies eat from boobs. It's not about you. It's not about someone trying to offend you. It's about feeding babies. Get over it.

Really - you feel the need to take a cop off the street, from protecting the public from real crimes like rape, burglary and murder just to tattle on some woman who is breastfeeding in public? Damn, better pay me a few bucks, because you just wasted my tax dollars for that frivolous cop call.  Sitting at home on your Facebook, playing Farmville and flagging other Facebook members for posting nursing photos or videos? Life called, it wants you to get in on it.

Before you call the cops or before you report some Facebook photo, take a moment to get on your knees and pray. Pray to God, Jehovah, Jim, Flying Spaghetti Monster or Gene Roddenberry - I don't care. Just pray and say thank you. Thank your God that your life is so darned fucking perfect that the only thing you can find wrong with it is that some mother dared to breastfeed somewhere within your optical field. It must be really nice to live in such harmony where a mother who feeds her child in the most normal way is the only damn thing you can find wrong in this world.

I am not here to condemn you, despite my obvious hostility in this post. I am here to help you. You seem to lack a broader world view and that can lead all sorts of narrow-minded shenanigans, such as soliciting law enforcement to make a baby stop breastfeeding at Applebees. I want to assist you in finding other  things wrong with the world. You seem to want to help make this world a better place. You seem to have a need to be mad at something. By now, you must realize that shaking your fist at nursing in public isn't the answer. So, where can you turn that self-righteous indignation? Let me show you the way. Here are some real problems that should make you want to take action.

1 in 7 Americans lives below the poverty line, with more than half of our citizens experiencing true poverty by the age of 65. 1 out of every five children lives in poverty. The same amount of children, 1 in 5, goes day to day wondering when or where there next meal will come. 48 million Americans - 16 million of those are children - struggle to feed their families each day. Get pissed about hunger.

In America, a person is raped every 2 minutes.  How many people have been raped since I started writing this ten minutes ago? 1 in 10 men have been raped. American women are 10 times as likely to be raped than to die in an automobile collision. 1 out of 7 college women has been a victim of rape, yet 90% of them never report it. In fact, of all the rapes in this country, over half do not go reported. 1 in 15 rape victims will become infected with a sexually transmitted disease. Only 3% of rapists actually go to jail. Get pissed about rape.

Everyday - every mother fucking day - more than five children in this country will die of child abuse. When you go to bed tonight, don't think of the nursing mother at the mall, think of the 5 children who were alive 24 hours ago but died at someone else's hands. 80% of those children who died were under 4 years of age. Of the children who survive the abuse, 30% will grow up and will abuse their own children. There is a report of child abuse filed every 10 seconds in America. I couldn't even write this paragraph without breaking down. Get pissed about child abuse.

Over 42 million Americans have been sexually abused as children. 500,000 of the children born this year will experience sexual abuse as children. 1 in 4 girls will be sexually abused. 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused. I want to vomit. Get pissed about child sexual abuse.

Count to 9. Are you done? In those 9 seconds, a woman was beaten. When you go to bed at night and you think of the 5 children who died as a result of abuse today, please add on the 3 women who die each day at the hands of a husband or boyfriend and the one man who dies each day at the hands of a girlfriend or wife. 10 million children witness domestic violence in their homes each year - half of those kids will grow up to become abusers and continue the cycle.  6 million men are victims of domestic violence. Get pissed off about domestic violence.

That's just a sample of things in this country that are truly wrong. If you're reasonable, you'll see that these things are worth way more of your energy than worrying about a mother nursing her child somewhere public. Focus your energy into solving these problems and not harassing some random breastfeeder at Denny's. Good? Good.

Statistic Sources:

How you Can Help:
Bread For the World - Hunger
The Hunger Site - Hunger and Poverty
RAINN - Rape, Abuse, Incest
Darkness To Light - Child Sexual Abuse
American Humane Association - Child Abuse
Every child Matters - Child Abuse
National Network to End Domestic Violence  - Domestic Violence

Monday, October 1, 2012

My Cloth Diaper Sh*t List

Buttons that touch baby's skin. Pet peeve.
I love me a good cloth diaper. Cloth diapering is something I firmly believe in for many reasons - for the health of the baby, health of the environment and the health of a family's finances. I have no problems admitting that I am a cloth diaper addict and I definitely have more than I need. I could certainly get by with a small stash of a dozen prefolds, a few flats and maybe a pocket or two and a bunch of covers. However, my addiction doesn't allow for that and I have more than I actually need. Still, in cloth diapering two children, I have not spent near as much as it would cost to disposable diaper one child. I love most of my cloth diapers. I am partial to Mudshrimps covers and pockets. I also love Thirsties along with plain old prefolds and flats. I've tried a few brands over the years and like most of them. Yet, there are some brands or some cloth diaper accessories that I just don't like. So, here it my Cloth Diaper Shit List.

Boingo - these are fasteners for prefolds, flats and contours (remember those?). They are an alternative to Snappis and pins. Boingos come in a set of two fasteners. One for each side of the diaper. These have recently been "improved," but I can't comment on that as I never owned a pair of the old kind. The thing that drew me to these was that they are like pins - you use on to fasten each side of the diaper. I love my Snappis and never honestly had a problem, but I was always a bit turned off by the fact that a band goes across the belly. I'm always checking to make sure it's not too tight as I imagine it would be uncomfortable for the baby. Lots of people raved about Boingo fasteners, so I decided to give them a try during the 2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge. They are damn cute, I'll give them that. However, I hate using them. It's not for lack of trying. I have tried so many times, in so many ways with so many diapers. I have tried them on a variety of flats, prefolds and my old Kissaluvs contours. They don't work well for us. I can't get a tight enough fit with them and I end up with a diaper that will fall off before I even get a cover on them. Some people say to fasten them quickly first and then go back and fasten them a second time and get it tighter. Well, that is fine and dandy if you have one of those babies who actually stays still for a diaper change. I don't have that variety of baby and I don't have the  time to fasten and re-fasten and re-fasten. No, they should work properly the first time. For flats, I have tried them with the diaper bag fold, the Jo fold, the origami fold, the kite fold and the neat fold. Nadda. I forget the name of the fold I use for prefolds - angel wing, maybe? Anyway, they suck for that, too. I can't even use two for a Kissaluvs contour because they're big and my daughter is bitty. One Boing could hold the two sides together - in the middle of her belly, which defeats the purpose of using them to avoid having something going across the belly. Also, they are large and I have a bitty baby and they rub against her leg. Again, this was true for all folds, no matter how tight or loose I got them fastened. By the time I changed her diaper, they would shift and a part would rub against her skin and leave red marks. Speaking of mark, I cut myself with the teeth more than once and my daughter, who is in the habit of grabbing herself when I change her diaper, was scratched as well. When I compare the Snappi teeth with the Boingo teeth, they don't look any different, but I've never hurt myself with a Snappi. Speaking of teeth, these fuckers have put holes in my prefolds and my flats. Yes, some of those holes do shrink up when I wash them. Some stay, however. Even with the ones that shrink up after washing, you have to wonder if repeated tearing would eventually be unrepairable. The worst tears were in my Ikea Burp Cloths that I use as flats, my Osocozy flats and my Indian prefolds. They did not leave holes in my Kissaluvs or my hemp/cotton prefolds.

I really wanted to like these. I realize they are popular and many mamas like them. They are adorable and I like the idea. For now, I am staying with my Snappis. Maybe I'll learn to use pins.

Thirsties Aplix - I have been using Thirsties covers since my son was a year old. I started using their old AIO/pockets when he was around two years old. they don't make them anymore - they probably got sued by FuzziBunz (who hasn't?) or something - and have switched to a different AIO and pocket design. The ones I have had for years have been washed a billion times and have held up nicely. The Aplix is holding up just fine. When my daughter was born, I needed a few more smaller covers and also decided to try out their Duo pockets and their AIO. I love the Duo pockets. The AIO is fine, too, but not as absorbent as I'd like. The Aplix, however, is a different story. I don't know if Thirsties changed something with their Aplix, but the newer diapers do not hold up like the old ones. I mean, the Aplix started to wear out on all of my new Thirsties stuff within three to four months. She was wearing a dress one day this past Summer and I didn't use the little bloomers that came with the dress because she had a cute little Thirsties diaper under there. We were eating at a restaurant and I picked her up from her high chair and the diaper stayed behind. It came undone by itself. Isolated incident? Nope. I found this happening again and again with several of my newer Thirsties items. They do offer snaps on their Duo line, but not on the plain covers, if I recall correctly. I chose the Aplix because it's daddy friendly. My husband has learned to fold flats, but he and snaps do not get along. He tries, but they are more frustrating for him. The newer crappy Aplix in these diapers is disappointing. I will continue to use Thirsties products, but I'll have to avoid Aplix from now on.

Charlie Banana - people rave about these, too. I never had any intention of buying them. My friend got some on clearance at Target, didn't like them and gave me three that she didn't use. They're cute, but they are definitely far from my favorite. These are one sized diapers that you adjust with elastic in the gussets. Guess what? I hate that part. I hate gusset adjusting. Yep, I do. Since my daughter is so small, I've had to adjust it to the tiniest setting. The diaper bunches up horribly at the waist when adjusted to small. Plus, it doesn't stay that way. I'm constantly having to re-adjust the elastic. I also get those awful hip wings, where part of the diaper slides out from under the fastening snaps. I also hate this feature in the one FuzziBunz one size that I own - yet another diaper I received for free because I will not give that company any money. Speaking of -

FuzziBunz - their diapers are fine. I own three, a one size and two perfect sizes. These were all free to me. I dislike the one size for the same reason I dislike the Charlie Banana - adjustable elastic in the legs. The perfect size are just fine. I dislike the company. I have been reading about cloth diapers since way before my son was born in 2006. I used to lurk on the AOL cloth diaper message boards (remember those?) and I remember when the initial "scandal" surrounding FuzziBunz went down. The gist is that pocket diapers have been around for a few decades, but became more popular in the 2000's. The founder of FuzziBunz took the opportunity to patent the pocket diaper. Was her design original? No, but she had the "smarts" to patent it. What followed was panic by a lot of work at home moms, some of who reported being harassed and threatened with legal action or coerced into forming license agreements with FuzziBunz. There's slightly more to the FuzziBunz story, including her recent issues with Charlie Banana, where she made serious false accusations against CB and emailed retailers telling them not to sell CB products. It just left me with a bad taste in my mouth regarding that company and I choose not to support them.

Microfiber - I have plenty of diapers with microfiber sewn in and with microfiber inserts. This is a material that I am trying to get away from. First, microfiber is a petroleum product. Ew. Second, it just plain sucks. Yes, it's absorbant. However, I find  that microfiber is the only material I have ever had stink issues with - in both inserts and AIOs. Plus, it takes for-fucking-ever to dry. I have always disliked BumGenius diapers and the main reason is the microfber as it retains smells, holds residue and takes for-fucking-ever to dry. I liked Kissaluvs fitted when my son was a baby and planned to buy a few more for my daughter. Nope. They replaced their cotton terry soaker with microfiber. Bummer.  I've been making the switch to mostly hemp inserts. Yes, hemp takes for-fucking-ever to dry, too, but it's the lesser of the environmental evils.

Snaps inside of a diaper - there are some diapers out there who were so poorly designed that the snaps, whether to fasten them shut or to hold an insert, touch the baby's skin. This is not okay to me. I have an old Thirsties fitted that would probably be a workhorse, but I don't use it because of the rows of snaps in the front that directly touch the baby's belly. I also have a Baby Bee-Hinds bamboo (another fake eco-friendly fabric) fitted that is unbelievably absorbent, but has snap-in inserts where the snaps directly touch the baby's skin. Unlike the Thirsties diaper, I am able to place one of my thin fleece inserts into the diaper to cover the snaps and hopefully make it more comfortable for the baby. Again, Kissaluvs is an example here. I wanted to get their organic fitteds, made with hemp and cotton. Sadly, they come with snap-in inserts and the snap is exposed and will touch baby's skin - right at the tailbone area. Ouch. It's just a dumb design flaw with some diapers and I don't see why manufacturers think it's a good idea.

$35.00 Diapers - bitch, I'm poor as hell. I don't care if it's made of sustainably harvested fibers from a unicorn's mane. A diaper cost $35.00 or more better change it's damn self.

And that, folks, is my cloth diaper bitch session for today. Do I expect you to agree with all of these? Nope, so please don't feel defensive. These are merely my opinions. I am perfectly fine with the fact that people love FuzziBunz, Boingo and Charlie Banana and are happy to spend $35.00 on a diaper. These are my own thoughts. Much love.

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