Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Good better breast

I was horrified to hear on the radio today, that a mother breastfeeding her child on an airplane (due to fly from Vermont to New York) had been asked to leave after she had refused to stop breastfeeding or cover herself with a blanket while feeding her child. What century are we in? Has it occurred to people that breastfeeding is not actually a new or ‘trendy’ thing to do!? Mothers and babies do happen to be more mobile these days (as does the general public), so this wholly necessary act might be more apparent than it was years ago. Babies need to be fed every few hours and there is NO way to avoid this. Those offended by breastfeeding would undoubtedly be the same that would be annoyed by a hungry and crying child. There is no better way to settle a baby suffering from ear pain due to air pressure changes (during take-off and landing), than to feed it. I have done this numerous times on flights with both children. 

Breastfeeding is called ‘nursing’ here. This gives a completely different meaning to the statement “My father is elderly and I need to nurse him” (!) The mothers whom I know personally here, have all breastfed their children. However, the vast majority of young babies I see fed in public are fed formula. Illinois is a liberal state when it comes to breastfeeding, allowing a mother to breastfeed in any location that she would be legally permitted to be. It did seem a little awkward doing this when I first arrived, particularly as this had to occur inside (too cold outside!), often in crowded coffee shops where it obviously was not the ‘norm’. 

It makes my heart break seeing so many VERY new babies being fed formula as it is far inferior to breastmilk. There are SO many advantages of breastfeeding to both mother and baby and these far outweigh any disadvantages. Breastfeeding reduces likelihood of breast cancer for the mother (and ovarian and uterine cancers). It is free. No sterilising of bottles and accoutrements is required and no need to pre-boil water. It provides a close bond between mother and child. It is available immediately and on-demand. It is full of nutrients and protects babies against illness and infection and possible allergies and asthma. There is no argument. 

It is great to see that in Australia, the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) is a strong lobby group helping to make it more than acceptable to breastfeed a baby, particularly in public. Every shopping centre and large department store has a nursing room (mostly with curtained off rooms for the new baby – and mother – or the easily distracted child).  The mothers that I know that breastfed are definitely in the majority with a good proportion feeding until at least 12 months. In certain circles in Australia, more disapproving glances are thrown at parents formula-feeding than those breastfeeding! 

At eleven months of age, Nicolas decided to go cold turkey on breastfeeding. This did coincide with a period of illness but Paul thinks it may be part of the whole burgeoning competitive thing between the boys: after all, Luc is no longer breastfed! I had been hoping to keep Nic going until he was at least twelve months of age to enable a switch directly to cows milk. No. Nicolas decided otherwise. 

Photo: Breastfeeding a very new Nicolas after returning home from hospital (November 2005).

Note: My Australian spell-checker allowed breastfeeding as a word, while .Mac’s version picked it up as a misspelt word! 

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Nicolas turns one

Our baby Nicolas turned one last Saturday (11th November). This coincided with Paul being in Italy and a visit from Sarah, my first cousin-once-removed (i.e. my cousin Maggie’s stepdaughter). Sarah arrived on a very bleak and rainy Friday night at peak hour. Good on her for negotiating her way to our place on public transport with large backpack and snowboard! 

Nicolas is an adorable and very endearing little guy. He is very social and I catch him flirting with people all the time. He is good-natured and fairly independent. He is also cuddly and applies a ‘koala cuddle’ to our ‘tree’. His preferred mode of transportation is walking, although he reverts to crawling when he wishes to get somewhere fast (and he does!) including the following doors: laundry, study, refrigerator, dishwasher and the front door. 

Nic’s first discernible word was “Tickertickerticker” used when tickling someone (particularly Luc’s) tummy. It speaks volumes about our parenting when you consider that Luc’s first word was “Tickle”! Nicolas calls Luc “Ooo”  but seems to have no need to call Paul or I by any name, except perhaps a wailing “Maaaaaaaaaaaa!” when he wants out of his cot (crib). 

Nicolas has a love for and fascination with water. Luc called out to me the other day to say that Nic was playing with the potty. To my horror (and amusement), I found Nic with his hands in the toilet splashing about, having a great time. There is a lot to be said for Australian toilets and the low water level! We have to keep a close watch on Nic around bathtime as he is very determined to get into the by bath himself, fully clothed. 

We are going to have a small party for Nicolas on Sunday and have invited some of his and Luc’s playmates. 

Prior to Sarah’s visit, I mentioned to Luc that perhaps we would see if Sara would like to visit Sears Tower. Luc pulled out one of the play phones, dialled some numbers and spoke into the phone “Hello Sarah. Sears Tower? Yes. Sears Tower. OK. Bye” He then informed me that, Yes, we should indeed visit Sears Tower. It was practically the first thing he said to Sarah when she arrived.

We made a visit to Sears Tower after having some celebratory birthday cake at one of my favourite cafes, The Artopolis Bakery in Greektown. We visited the Art Institute of Chicago finally viewing the iconic American Gothic. Luc showed Sarah Millennium Park and his favourite items including The Bean and the red chairs at the Pritzker Pavillion. Paul arrived home late, we ate some typical deep-dish Chicago-style Pizza, while Paul crashed. The next day we showed Sarah the neighbourhood including Lincoln Park, the Zoo and Michigan lakefront. 

Monday we went to art class while a poorly Nicolas slept. In Argo Tea afterwards, following a good snack of apple sauce and cheese, we realised that Nic wasn’t feeling all that well when he brought it (and breakfast) all up … and over… himself, myself, the stroller, my handbag, the cafĂ© floor. We abandoned any notion of going downtown and left Sarah to explore on her own while I returned home with the boys. 

While bathing Nic after his illness, I asked Luc to please fetch a cloth from the other bathroom. Luc took some time…. finally turning up with a about a metre of dental floss looped through his teeth and hanging from his mouth. He didn’t have a cloth but I am glad he is taking notice of his personal hygiene. 

Photo: Nicolas looking at me through a porthole in the Pirate Ship at Supera Park