Spit up and the Suburbs

It's what happens after Sex and the City….

I Didn’t Breastfeed: Just a Second Before You Flog Me With Breast Pumps

Google “detriments of formula feeding a baby” and your search will yield tons of information about the benefits of breastfeeding. What you will not find are articles or sites that report the harmful effects of formula. Instead, links will urge you to breastfeed your baby and basically in a few words or a short blurb, tell you that you are a horrible mom if you don’t.

You know who is a horrible mom? A woman who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day while she’s six months pregnant or a woman who downs vodka in her first trimester. A woman who decides to feed her baby formula instead of breastfeeding is not horrible. And she doesn’t need to hide behind an excuse or horrible diagnosis to admit that she is not breastfeeding.

Last week I was horrified to read the story of a woman who suffered from a breast disfigurement and could not breastfeed as a result. No, I was not horrified because she has a rare affliction that affects the appearance and functionality of her breasts, nor was I horrified that she was unable to nurse her baby. I was horrified because she felt the need to justify why she couldn’t breastfeed by explaining her awful medical condition.

I’m not going to say that I’m on a medication that prevents me from nursing. I didn’t try to breastfeed for months before I gave up. Nope. I fed my two daughters baby formula because I didn’t want to breastfeed. Gasp! How could I say such a thing? Should I be flogged in a public square with breast pumps and empty baby formula tins? Admit it; you’re considering this.

Hold on, put down your pitch forks for a moment while I share my point of view. I have no problem with moms who breastfeed. It’s healthy, it’s natural, it’s great! But it isn’t for me. I find the idea of a baby suckling on my breast really unnatural actually. I don’t like the feeling, the sound, the experience or anything about it. That’s it; I don’t have a major sob story or harrowing tale that proves I am still a valid human being even though I formula fed my babies. I’m just a mom who made a different choice.

And guess what? My daughters are not pale, putrid specimens who slink along the hallways of our home like Children of the Corn. They are thriving, healthy, happy, ebullient children who have not been sick more than any of their breastfed peers and who actually like me. Imagine that! They are still bonded to their mother even though I committed the “crime” of bottle feeding them. In fact, I haven’t gone to the bathroom alone in four years we are so bonded. My children cry when I leave the room sometimes. I think we are still connected.

Once again for the record, I must state that I have no problem with moms who breastfeed. It’s fantastic…it’s just not my thing. And I am here to say that my decision to bottle feed my babies does not preclude me from being as good of a mom as anyone else.

I am also not disputing the benefits of breastfeeding; I am simply saying that all you nursing mamas out there shouldn’t vote to send me off to a desert island of crappy moms just because I chose to feed my babies formula. It isn’t child abuse, people even though I know some of you believe that.

I’ll just leave you with these images: pageant moms who push their kids on stage in full makeup and inappropriate attire breastfed; moms who work 14 hours a day and never see their kid breastfed; moms who belittle their kids breastfed; moms who feed their kids nothing but McDonald’s breastfed. Breastfeeding alone doesn’t make you a good mom. Okay, now feel free to bash me until you feel better about what a great mom you are.

This Proves All Moms Are The Same

My five-year-old daughter and I volunteered at a homeless shelter today.

I’m not sure what I expected to see when I got there, but I was a bit surprised/saddened to meet a mom who had a five-month-old baby. I immediately shared with this mom that I too had a five-month-old at home. My announcement was met with silence. Okay. I guess we weren’t going to launch into a discussion about teething and sleep cycles. I accepted that besides having a baby, I probably had little in common with this woman. Ugh, isn’t that awful that I thought that? But I did.

I proceeded to organize a craft for some of the older kids.

About an hour later, I would realize how foolish my assumption that I had nothing in common with this other mom really was.

The heartbreaking moment I would learn how similar we truly are started innocently enough. The mom was getting ready to feed her baby. The little girl was lying next to her mom on a sofa. I was reading through some volunteer information packets in an adjacent chair as my daughter colored nearby with another girl her age. By chance I looked up to see the baby about to roll right off the sofa.

“Your baby is going to fall!” I called out, but it was too late. As her mom watched, the infant tumbled right off the sofa onto the floor, banging her head on a TV table on the way down. She immediately began to wail in pain.

I leaped to my feet just as the horrified mom scooped her baby up and began to wail herself. I found myself frozen in place watching this frightening yet tender exchange playing out in front of me. The mom cradled her daughter, tears of guilt and fear streaming down her face. “Mommy’s here, baby. It’s okay,” she cooed to her distraught baby.

Without even thinking about it, I began to cry. I saw in this mom the kind of love I feel for my baby. I identified with the guilt of “allowing” your baby to get hurt. Indeed, just a few weeks earlier I’d accidentally clipped the tip of my baby’s finger as I was trying to trim her nails. She’d started screaming and I felt like the worst mom in the world.

Now, I saw this this mom living in the shelter was crying over more than just her baby’s bumped head. I sensed that she was crying for all the ways she’d “failed” as a parent. It was both shattering, relatable and beautiful to behold.

I realized how little it mattered that this mom had fallen on hard times and that I was there as a volunteer. We both loved our daughters immeasurably. We were both moms, and that was all that mattered.

I’m pretty sure my fellow mama felt connected to me as a wiped away my own tears and assured her that I’d been there; I too had seen my little ones get hurt right underneath my nose and I knew how she felt. I told her not to be too hard on herself but I could see wasn’t able to forgive herself yet.

I left the shelter a few hours later but I won’t forget that experience.

6 Gifts for my Kid That Will Prove You Hate Me

Okay, I get it; you hate me. Why else would you give my kid one of these clearly ill intentioned birthday gifts:

1. Play-doh. This sticky, icky goo should come with the following greeting: “Ha, ha good luck getting this out of your rug!” Here’s an idea: why don’t you just wrap up a carton of eggs, stick a bow on it and bring it to my little one’s party?

2. Anything glittery. My hubby especially thanks you for the fact that he couldn’t get the glitter from that princess costume out of his beard before work this morning. He’s sure his new look will go over real well during his big presentation later.

3. Anything alive.  What leads you to believe I need another living thing to care for?

4. Clothes. Face it, we don’t have the same taste in mini fashion. I tend to stay away from clothes that make my daughter resemble a teenage slut.

5. Play makeup. That bright blue eye shadow will undoubtedly look just as pretty on my daughter as it will on the couch, but I’d rather imagine this nightmare scenario instead of live it.
6. Toy weapons. My child will cry, beg and plead with me to let him have that super realistic looking gun you so thoughtfully chose, but I really don’t want my neighbor ducking behind her car the next time he plays outside. So, please don’t turn me into the bad guy and skip gifting my tot with a toy weapon of any kind.

Of course any gift for my child is greatly appreciated as I know you did not have to spend your money on yet another birthday present for someone you only causally know. That being said, can you be sure to include a gift receipt next year?

Mango and Me Jog

After about a month’s hiatus, I have finally taken my baby bump out for a run. The  cold here in New Jersey is of the bone-chilling variety. And I’ve only recently shaken my morning sickness at about 20 weeks.

Today was interesting. I’ve gone from running 8 miles to huffing and puffing through 2. I guess growing a human being inside your body will do that.

I walked the hills. I took it slow. Boring. But at least I got out there.

Not running has been killing me.  I miss it so much. Running is the thing that keeps me sane ordinarily and having to put my passion on a back burner while I nurture a baby is truly the biggest challenge of pregnancy thus far.

As far as my actual pavement pounding session today, my latest problem is that the baby is bumping up against my bladder with each stride I take.

Any suggestions running mamas?

Photo credit: Flickr

Fig and Me Have a Few Bad Weeks

Now my poppy seed is more like a fig and he or she has been making my life majorly challenge to put it nicely. As far as my exercise routine, let’s just say I can barely get off the sofa let alone run my usual 4 daily miles or commit myself to a new Cross Fit regimen. I’ve been puking and nauseous and exhausted. It is demoralizing and depressing.

As I near fig-and-methe end of my first trimester, I am hopeful things will improve. I miss jogging and desperately want to eat something other than eggs, which is the only food I can stomach right now.

For a few weeks I tried running in the hopes it would improve my nausea, but it didn’t. It usually intensified my discomfort. But, I’ve managed to sneak in some yoga sessions and workouts with light weights. The other day I was moved to tears by how good it felt to move my body. Without exercise I feel like a waste of space.

Supposedly my queasiness will ease up soon. During my other two pregnancies, by 14 weeks I felt much better. But this is not how I envisioned things going so it is hard to get past that disappointment.

Today is New Year’s Day and my running club is sponsoring a Resolution Run. I’m hopeful I will feel up to doing it. The distance is only 5k and usually I can do that in my sleep. But I’m learning that I’m not in control of my own body right now. Fig is.

Hey fig, if you are listening can mommy please make it out to run today? Work with me here, honey. Thanks. Love, mom.

Photo credit: Flickr

Poppy Seed and Me Try CrossFit

Tonight, poppy seed and me took advantage of a free trial at a new CrossFit gym. 5 weeks pregnant does seem like an odd time to get in on this intense fitness craze, true. But I am so committed to exercising throughout this pregnancy that I figured I’d see if CrossFit was a good fit for me and the seed.

I informed the gym owner that I was with child and she encouraged me to try the gym’s special brand of circuit training. Another member recently CrossFitted her way through her nine month gestation and snapped right back into shape postpartum. As Katie, the owner, told me, her flexing friend simply did the exercises until she couldn’t anymore. Sounded hard core, and possibly dangerous?

I’ll admit that I was reluctant to push myself that hard during my trial session. And when Katie had me do situps, I wondered it this was okay. When I got home, I did a little research about safe exercises during pregnancy.

Here’s what the Mayo Clinic has to say about a knocked up chick like me: “f you exercised regularly before pregnancy, there’s no need to focus on your heart rate for exercise during pregnancy.” Still, the reputable site cautions bump sporting broads not to exercise past the point of being able to carry on a conversation. Otherwise, uterine contractions or bleeding could occur. Yikes.

As far as the situps are concerned, I was relieved to learn from that situps during the first trimester are actually beneficial for back and core strength. Phew! During the second and third trimesters, since it is not advisable to lie on your back, an exercise ball can be utilized. I’d imagine that a big old belly could become a hindrance to core work at some point too. also advises that moderate weight lifting is okay, but I’m interested in checking with my doctor on that one.

So, it seems the exercises I performed at my CrossFit session were safe. I’d be interested in joining mainly because the experience empowered me. I felt strong, alive and in control of my body. I hate the idea that I have to be weak and fragile while pregnant. I’ve let that notion keep me from doing things during my other pregnancies. I can imagine that working out at CrossFit would help me both physically and emotionally throughout this pregnancy. I’ll keep you posted.

PS – Poppy seed is about the size of a sesame seed now!

Poppy Seed and Me Turkey Trot

This Thanksgiving morning, Poppy Seed and I did the turkey trot. I think I expected to have a tough time because I’m all pregnant, tired and have to pee a lot, blah, blah, blah. But guess what? I rocked it! I mean, we rocked it! I got one of my best 5k times yet (and I’ve run dozens of 5k’s) and it felt awesome. I loved the feeling of getting out there and doing what I love despite my early pregnancy symptoms.

Meanwhile, I’ve learned a lesson about pregnancy and exercise: you pay the price for pushing yourself later. I’m now sitting on the sofa exhausted, wondering how I’m going to cook Thanksgiving dinner. I’m the kind of tired that makes it hard to climb stairs. That’s the thing about being pregnant. You always pay the price for doing a lot.

Still, I’m glad I got out there. Zzzzz….

Introducing Poppy Seed and Me

I’m introducing a new section of my blog called Poppy Seed and Me. It will chronicle my new pregnancy journey as it relates to working out. Oh, by the way I am four weeks pregnant and my baby is supposedly the size of a poppy seed, in case you were wondering about the name Also, yes, that’s right; I’m going to attempt to keep up my very committed exercise routine throughout my pregnancy. I’ll be safe of course but I will be diligent, too. No excuses…at least not too many!

During my past two pregnancies, I stopped running once my uterus necessitated its own sports bra. But this time I want it to be different. I’m looking to tap into the world of the pregnant warriors. I’m going to buy the products and read the info I need to stick with my favorite hobby other than drinking red wine: running! Clearly red wine is a no no, but if I have to give up running too, I may have to commit myself…to a mental institution.

So follow me as I embark on this new journey. In fact, I’ve already begun. At four weeks pregnant, I ran about a mile this AM. I typically run 4 at least, yes, but yesterday I had a dizzy spell that was pretty bad so right now I’m just testing out the waters, making sure I’m okay. I plan to get up tomorrow and run about 2 miles.

Then, Monday I scheduled a free trial session at a new Cross Fit gym in my area. I know Cross Fit is intense but I’m hoping they can make accommodations for my “condition.” Either that or the owner will learn I’m with child and laugh me out of there. I’ll be back to you….

5 Ways This Suburban Mom Is More Self-Sufficient After Sandy


Rah! The rush of self-satisfaction I feel after boiling water over an open flame. That’s right; me, a suburban mom who before Sandy considered staying in a hotel “roughing it,” just boiled water over a fire that I built. With no power, a husband stuck 40 miles away in New York City until further notice and two kids under four to care for, here are five ways I am more self-sufficient today than I was yesterday. Sandy, we aren’t thanking you for much (trees on power lines, canceling Halloween) but I will thank you for empowering a little lady from suburban New Jersey to:

  1. Build a fire. No, I didn’t whittle sticks together but I did stack up some logs, add a fire starter and light a match. Go me! Before Sandy lighting a candle was the most I’d played with fire.
  2. Disengage a garage door. When our power went out, I manually opened our garage door. This may sound like no big deal, but I’m not a big person. I’m proud of myself; no haters!
  3. Shovel leaves. No, not just a little pile of leaves. I shoveled Hurricane Sandy leaves; giant, heavy leaves that covered our driveway with twigs and all manner of debris interspersed.
  4. Fix a minor plumbing issue. Did you know there were chains connecting thingies in the back of your toilet? I didn’t. I do now.
  5. Discover the source of mystery beeping. You know, that mystery beeping that starts in the middle of the night and you can’t figure out where it’s coming from? Usually I send my husband off in the dark to find the source but during Sandy it was me!


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