Breastmilk snob…

OK, first of all, this:


Anatomical lingerie, people. Let’s get real.

All right, now for an altogether separate topic, I need to get some advice from everyone who has an opinion on breastfeeding (FYI that’s everyone, period). It turns out my 9-month-old son is a breastmilk snob — he will not take formula (even though it’s expensive and organic and I bought a whole damn tub of it), nor will he take defrosted breastmilk from the freezer, whether warm or cold, and it doesn’t seem to make any difference whether it’s in a bottle or sippy cup. He wants straight from the boob or nothing else, and honestly, I can’t really blame the guy. However, this doesn’t work so well for when momma has to leave the house for more than three straight hours. And let’s just say there are a few weddings coming up, plus most likely daycare in the near future because we are so damn broke and momma needs to get a real-ass job. I know that once he reaches 12 months we can switch over to cow’s milk, but what the heck am I supposed to do in the interim? I don’t have a pump because I had to return it to my friend, but even if I did, it would always take about three pumping sessions to get enough supply for one feed. So annoying. Anyway, would love any advice out there for how to get this kid’s palate adjusted to the shitty merlot of the milk world (ie. formula).

Obsessed with French parenting

I don’t often like to read books about what I’m already doing 24/7 (ie. parenting — or, last year, being pregnant). But I kept coming across this memoir called Bringing Up Bébé by American journalist Pamela Druckerman, about her experience raising kids in Paris and the vastly different approach French parents have when it comes to child-rearing (and I don’t just mean feeding croissants to 4-month-olds). After reading a few sample pages on Amazon, I decided her tone was warm and funny and self-deprecating enough that I might actually be able to read it during M’s naps and not feel overwhelmed, so I bought it, plowed through it, and have to admit that, despite my resistance to joining any kind of parenting cult, I’m kind of obsessed with this French approach. Let me count the ways:

1. It spins laziness into cultivating autonomy… Apparently most French babies sleep through the night by three months of age. Now, I’m not sure if this is the “five straight hours” definition of sleeping through the night or the “7 pm to 7 am” definition, but whatever — that’s pretty damn impressive. And how does this work? Basically, moms do a teensie-tiny version of cry-it-out from the day they’re born; when the babe cries, they pause for a couple minutes before picking him up, stopping to analyze the situation and determine whether baby really needs feeding or is just trying to settle himself. This is like what I do already: M starts crying at 6 a.m.; I turn off the monitor and “pause” for five minutes (also known as desperately try to cram in more sleep), allowing him to self-soothe and learn to cope with his own frustration. Obviously this isn’t a cure-all for babes with sleep problems, but I would be curious to try this technique if we have kid #2.

2. It provides lots of tips and tricks for getting your kid to eat stinky cheese and charred eggplant and whatever else you plonk on the table… Long story short: NO SNACKING, and start offering the camembert early. This was kind of enlightening for me because I feel like we were encouraged very early to plump our baby up as much as possible and that chubby = healthy; because of this, I’d been shoving food in M’s mouth every hour, all in hopes that he’d be on track for his next weigh-in at the doctor’s office, but also so that he’d be full enough by evening to sleep 12 hours without any food or breastmilk. Now, at almost 9 months old, we’re sticking to the every-four-hours rule and he seems just fine with it. He’s still not touching the eggplant, and most of the food ends up on the floor, but I’m trying to be patient and adopt the whole European, que sera (ie. lazy) attitude here.

3. The author basically calls for a crackdown on this weird trend of treating one’s child as a colleague or collaborator — asking them if they could “please not bite daddy while he changes your diaper?”, as if this is optional, or attributing a temper tantrum to a child’s energetic nature, implying that it’s out of anyone’s ability to control. I’m all for giving kids options and involving them in decision-making, but I want M to understand that, ultimately, I’m in charge here (ed note: obviously I reserve the right to drastically alter this stance when my kid is 2 years old and I’ve turned into a pushover). Apparently the key to establishing authority is to employ the “big eyes” technique — opening your eyes wide like an owl on crack and maybe even twitching one eyelid slightly while you shoot “don’t you even dare” daggers from them (loving daggers of course).

So has anyone else here read this book? Thoughts? Criticisms? And are there any other parenting books that you’d recommend (ideally ones that have a sense of humour and can be flipped through during naps and other short bursts of freedom)?

And for good measure, here is my child behaving like a perfect, well-read French citizen: