Tuesday, March 18, 2008

You don't need those seven I.Q. points, I swear.

Our freezer is full of white gold

When I was in college there was this guy in my physics class who was really smart - scary smart. And I thought, "that guy is just a couple of I.Q. points away from being destined to be a gas station attendant for life." It is a fine line between really smart and totally non-functional. In my personal opinion (which is all this blog is about...), a person can be too smart. Incredible smartness is often accompanied by a total lack of commonsense. Plus people who are too smart can sometimes see all to well the darkness that is an essential part of existence and it leaves them mired in an inability to do anything, make any progress. Anyway, my point here is, I think a person can be too smart. Super smart is good but supernatural smart can be very, very bad.

When Lucy was a baby, she was not a big fan of the boob. I was a somewhat nervous first time mom and I had a lot of stress about doing the breastfeeding thing right. It didn't help that 20 different nurses told me 20 different ways to breastfeed and each one insisted that their way was the ONLY way to do it. The upshot of all this over-information and stress and Lucy's personality was that Lucy spent a significant amount of time as an infant actually yelling at the boob. This was not what I would categorize as quality mother-daughter bonding time. The culmination of this rocky relationship between Lucy and the boob was a camping trip with my in-laws where we didn't notice Lucy's 3 month growth spurt, starved Lucy, messed up my milk production, and ended up supplementing with formula. All and all, in the end, Lucy ended up only breast-feeding for about 4.5 months.

I had tons of guilt about this and about how I was a horrible working mother who wasn't doing right by her child. There are several studies showing that breastfeeding makes your child smarter (7 points smarter in fact see:http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071105171949.htm). Although now it has come out that this effect depends on your genes (do you have the FADS1 or FADS2 gene?). I used to joke that I made Lucy stupider but that she needed to drop a few points in the I.Q. department. Seriously, she is already a genius child (everyone will agree), so I figure my shortened breastfeeding time just saved her from the gas station attendant fate.
When we had Josie I set a goal for myself of breastfeeding for 6 months (feeding your baby exclusively breastmilk for the first six months is the recommendation of the American Association of Pediatricians). This may not sound like much but let me tell you, it is a pain in the insert anatomically correct reference here. It can be hard to maintain your milk production when using a pump for so much of the time. Pumps are nothing like babies in how they extract the milk. Anyway, for me it has involved a lot of quality time with my breast pump in public bathrooms, in the car, behind trees, on a metal folding chair in the bathroom at the office, etc. But this Sunday I made it!! I made it to 6 months and I am still going strong. My freezer is full of breastmilk and the mammary glands are still going strong. So as long as the milk holds out, I'll keep dragging around my breast pump into awkward places. I figure Josie needs the leg up in the I.Q. points since she isn't getting all the one on one parental attention that Lucy got.

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