Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Machinating and Lactating
(I don't usually get to read the New Yorker cover to cover, but thanks to 40 minute feedings, I'm finding ample reading time!)
When Penny was 3 weeks old, my friend Mindy (who was pregnant at the time and has since entered into a motherhood adventure of her own) and I braved our local lactation establishment (which shall not be named, needless to say, it has a clever name which rhymes with "lactation.") together to stock up on some supplies. I was still pumping like crazy and using the feeding tube 7-8 times a day to feed Penny, so I was interested in talking to a lactation consultant and scheduling an appointment with someone who could give me some additional pointers. The woman working there was very helpful and answered the barrage of questions I had, and helped us obtain some nice (but expensive!) nursing bras.
Everything was copacetic until this guy walked in and sat down behind the counter. He overheard my conversation with the lactation consultant and then started asking me questions as well, about how much I was pumping and what kind of pump I had. He also took a phone call from a distressed woman whose breast pump had crashed and burned after pumping for an hour (bad idea..even I, in my limited knowledge, could have told her that was a bad idea...). At first I was confused, until I realized that the man worked there! Ok, this is going to sound really sexist, but it felt really odd to be discussing my pumping habits with some strange man. It was very uncomfortable!
As Mindy said later, over Iceberg milkshakes, "Shouldn't there be an ALL BOOB policy?" Well, he WAS very knowledgeable and even recommended an herbal supplement I could take to boost my milk supply. And it's not as though he was going to be the one doing my private consultation (*shudder*). But still! Uncomfortable!
I realize many women see male OB-GYNs. This has always perplexed me and it has never been my style. I feel the same way discussing breastfeeding issues. I want to talk to someone who can empathize, someone who knows what it feels like to be painfully engorged, or what it feels like to have bloody stumps for nipples (ok, I'm being melodramatic now). Maybe I should be more open-minded....?