Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Nursing experiences

Mother in Israel posted about nursing and formula and I just couldn't keep my mouth shut about the topic. Here is my wonderful experience:

I gave birth to my son in N.Y. I was a new mother and didn't really have any friends who had just had kids. I got married young and way before all of my friends. I come from a family of two kids as does my hubby so our mothers didn't really have any practical and up to date advice to give. I knew that I wanted to nurse but although I read lots of stuff about it, I didn't really know what it entailed. I had a tremendously traumatic birth and recovery. Let's not get into that. My son wasn't even in my room with me. He was in the N.I.C.U. because he was breathing too quickly. I never got to hold him in the delivery room. I had to go to the N.I.C.U. every time I wanted to nurse. Never mind that I couldn't walk, it was far. I had to have someone wheel me in a wheelchair in order to nurse. In the hospital the lactation consultant came and gave me some good advice. She was very experienced and to this day I remember some of the things she told me. After I left the hospital my son stayed in the N.I.C.U. until he was 10 days old. I was pumping at home and every day we'd go to the hospital and place the milk in the fridge. I noticed that many times they weren't even looking for my milk because it was clearly labelled and nobody touched it. They automatically gave him the formula. I got really upset at the nurses every time it happened. I had a really hard time trying to get my son to latch on. I tried very hard but in the end, the only thing that worked was to put a bottle nipple over my own nipple and to nurse that way. He had gotten so used to the bottles in the hospital that he didn't want to nurse from me. I was very upset about this.

When we went home I decided that I couldn't continue like that. It was just too painful. I tried without the bottle nipple. We were really stubborn and both my mother and mother in law helped me and gave me the moral support that I needed. It took two months for us to get a good breastfeeding relationship down. In the end he nursed normally (without the bottle nipple). He loved nursing so much that when I went back to school, he didn't want to take a bottle. He was just 2.5 months at that point. It was funny how he changed so much-from the baby who didn't want anything other than a bottle to the nursing only from my mommy baby. I refused to give him formula. I refused to give him bottles when I didn't need to. That rocky start stayed etched in my mind. I pumped every day so he would have what to drink at the babysitter. We tried bottles and then sippy cups. Eventually he graduated to solids.

The funny thing is that he didn't have a high enough level of iron so we ended up having to give him formula so we could boost his iron. Cow's milk was causing the iron level to be low. I was still nursing but it wasn't doing enough for his iron. We would mix the formula for him in his cereal bowl and he'd have cornflakes with "milk".

With my daughter I set out from the beginning knowing I wouldn't make the same mistakes. I nursed her in the delivery room. I did rooming in -this birth was in Israel. She was with me all the time and there was nobody in the world who would give her a bottle. The lactation consultant at that hospital was even better. She enlightened me about so many things I didn't know before. She gave me the support and knowledge that I needed to nurse my daughter until age two. She never took a bottle. At 5 months I went back to work. She was already eating solids. She also learned how to drink from a cup with a straw. We had a spillproof cup and the babysitter loved that. She would drink the milk I pumped with the straw cup.

My newborn now also was nursed in the delivery room. Here I had a totally different experience. I gave birth erev Yom Kippur and the staff wasn't too lovely at the hospital. The babies were with us from 5 AM to 10 PM. Too bad if we wanted to rest. At night, when I'd go to feed my baby, I would hear tons of crying. It was terrible. Many of us didn't sleep because we refused to leave the babies with the nurses. I wrote that I didn't want any bottles and that I wanted to be woken up. Every time I tried to leave him at the nursery sleeping they'd refuse. They told me he cried too much and I should give him a bottle of formula. They told me he'd sleep longer and be happier and that I didn't have enough milk to give him since he was and is a very big boy. Well I remembered what lactation consultant number 2 told me. She told me that the first two or three days, until the milk comes in, you have culostrum (sp?) and that that's all the baby needs. Hashem provides the baby with exactly what he needs. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. This gave me such strength. I remembered what she had said and instead of arguing, I took my baby away from the nursery and stayed away from those nurses. All they wanted to do was feed everyone with formula and shut them up. It was horrible. I couldn't believe how many mothers were giving formula to their babies (as well as trying to nurse). There was one new mother there and she had no lactation consultant because it was YK. I tried to help her by my goodness. It's not my job. Why did the nurses keep ignoring her when she would ask for help?

I was very unimpressed with my past hospital stay. Thank goodness I know enough to not listen to those evil nurses. I feel very bad for all the new mothers who experienced that YK along with me.

My husband always says that all of the reasons for nursing are selfless (good for the baby) while all the reasons for formula are selfish (so you can go out, etc.) . I think people see how easy it is to shove a bottle in a baby's mouth so why do it the hard way. Why experience the pain of the first week of sore nipples? After doing so much nursing I can't imagine it any other way. I love nursing and wouldn't give it up for the world. That being said, I have a friend whose son wouldn't nurse-I don't know details. It's her sixth kid. He is 6 months old. She still pumps all day, although she also has to supplement. The kid refuses to nurse from her but will take her milk in a bottle. I think it's incredible that she does that. I have a very hard time relating to people who don't nurse or don't nurse for long periods of time. I just don't understand them or their point of view. Maybe one day their eyes will be open and they will see the beauty of nursing.

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus

I couldn't think the title of the post is more true. Today, after reading a bunch of blogs, I've come to a conclusion. The nature of posts and comments by males are completely different than those of women. Women want to share things that have happened. They sometimes post thought-provoking information that causes a discussion. They sometimes want empathy for something that happened. They seek support and want to be validated. Men on the other hand have a different nature. They post about more political topics. They are more into competition and being better than the other. Many times men will make sexual references. They many times include either halacha or parsha/Torah thoughts. I find that women discuss ideas while men are more practical. Sometimes men will report stories in the news that they want to comment on. They give their take on the world around them. Women discuss ideas, problems in society, ways to make the world better etc.

This is my way of venting about a comment that a male made on something I wrote. I found the comment to be completely insensitive. Then I took a step back and said, "Wait, he's a man and I'm a woman." Here lies the reason that he wouldn't think twice before saying what he said, while I saw nothing wrong with what I said. I was just giving my take on things. He totally rejected my take. I was seeking to be validated and he just wanted to say that I'm wrong. Well Mr. Man, maybe you shouldn't be reading women's blogs if you can't handle the right way to comment. Next time be more sensitive! (Sorry, I'm not in a thick-skinned mood today).

Monday, December 22, 2008

Updated Pics

And now, on a cheery note, here are some recent pics of the kiddies.

Pics of WTC


Rafi at Life in Israel posted a nice video. I suggest you watch it before you read this.

I was in Israel studying during those two terrorist attacks. I had been at Sbarros two weeks to the day before the terrorist attack. I tried not to frequent there but it just happened to be that I was there. I had seen my father's good friend and we stopped to talk. A week later I went back to NY. One week later, when I found out about the attack I was shocked. I was so thankful to have not been there just at that time. While I was in NY I started dating. At the end of the summer, my now husband had decided to take me to the World Trade Center. We didn't go up to the top. We stayed downstairs and sat at some nice tables that overlooked the water. At the end of that week I had gone back to Israel. I was in my room in the afternoon when I found out about the WTC. I couldn't believe it. I was in shock. We didn't have TVs but I listened to eveyrthing on the radio. I called my father to make sure he was okay (that was before the phones went dead). As far as I knew everyon was okay from my family and friends. We listened to the radio all afternoon and evening. We couldn't believe what had happened. Luckily I reached my now husband late that night. He had been on a train on his way to work. From the bridge the conductor saw the towers on fire. He pointed it out over the loudspeaker and everyone turned to look. My husband still remembers the scene. At that time he was traumatized from it. He used to be a social worker so his way of dealing with the trauma was to go to the site afterword and face the tragedy that happened there. Anyway, so our first thought was thank goodness that it didn't happen when we were there. His second thought was, "Too bad we didn't go up to the top. If I would have known that was going to happen I would have gone to the top of the towers one last time." I was just happy to be alive.

I didn't escape the terrorist attacks as narrowly as the man in the video but I still feel Yad Hashem. I definately was more thankful for what I had after that. I felt like I had a new appreciation for life. Hashem had ensured that I wasn't there at that time. What more could I say other than thank you to the One who runs the world.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cultural Differences

Mother in Israel once posted about cultural differences between Israelis and Americans. You can read the original post here which is about an Israeli women who seems snobbish but it's basically because of a difference in culture. It's worth it to read the comments. I've experienced this on more than one occassion. The Americans sit together in the park while the Israelis sit together on another bench. Why? Well the Israelis wouldn't know the first thing to say to the Americans. Like MiI said, we're not on their radar screen. Well I was hoping that I was different. Being an Israeli-born American I felt that I could easily be in both circles. I will admit that sometimes I'm the American in the Israeli circle and sometimes I'm the Israeli in the American circle.

This past Shabbat we invited the H. family to our house. L, the mother, babysat my kids last year on the days I worked late. We got very close with them since their kids were around our kids ages. Her husband is a soldier so he only comes home once a week. My husband always comes home after the kids are asleep. We had time to chat when I'd come pick the kids up. We were pregnant at the same time (although she hasn't given birth yet). She's in her ninth month and we thought it would be nice to have them over. We invited them over for Shabbos lunch. Now some background info on us and on their family. We are Ashkenazi Litvish American-quasi-charedi. They are Moroccan. What I know about Moroccans is that they like spicey food. I don't cook anything like her and probably never will. Her mother also came since she was at their house for Shabbos.

So here goes the experience. First, my hubby makes kiddush in his American Litvish accent. They really didn't go for the grape juice. Then we make hamotzei. I totally forgot that sfaradim don't say hamotzei on sweet challah. I should have been more sensitive and gotten water challah but I wasn't thinking (partially because I'd been sick with a cold all week but that's no excuse). So we were machshil them. Then we served the food. I didn't make gefilte fish because I didn't think they'd like it. We had salad as an appetizer. They loved the salad tongs. They also loved the craisins. Then we had chullent, potato kugel, yerushalmi kugel, rice with mushrooms, deli roll (which they requested), and fried shnitzel. They ate so little. I didn't really have time to be insulted because I wasn't really at the table much. They didn't like the yerushalmi kugel. The potato kugel somewhat went. Shnitzel went but we had a few leftover pieces (tonights dinner). Chullent was totally left over. Deli roll mostly went. We have so much left over. I froze the chullent and leftover potato kugel. I'll be throwing away the yerushalmi kugel I think-nobody is really gonna eat it. My son finished off the deli roll-his favorite. We ate the leftover shnitzel tonight. The rice was gone by shalosh sheudos. For dessert I made jumbo chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies and banana bread. They brought a cake and a pomella (sp?). The cookies were tasted but didn't go over well at all. I had forgotten that they don't like sweet things (the opposite of our family). The banana bread was well liked by all. Her cake was tasted. The pomella. Ah the pomella. So I asked if it was kedushat shviit and it wasn't. But I didn't ask if it was heter mechira. Ooops. I saw today in the makolet that the pomellas are heter mechira and we don't eat that. Well too late. We all ate the pomella on Shabbos but we have a whole one left over. Oh well. Too bad. We'll have to ask the hubs what to do about that one.

So overall I guess it was okay but it was definately an experience for them. I'm sure that it gave them a glimpse of how the other half lives. It was probably a real eye openner for them. Who knows if we'll ever do this again or if they're too scared of me and my cooking to come back. Now I understand all those comments about culture. Certain things are just a part of a person. Which American would think twice about salad tongs. Are they really so unusual to us? No. To the H family it was the coolest gadget ever. We're just so used to our ways and they're so used to their ways. It's hard when we venture into new territory.

I remember when I went to my dad's yeminite friend for Shabbos during my year in seminary. Here I was a white Ashkenazi American girl visiting a yeminite moshav. Everyone there was twenty shades of brown darker than I was. They made the most authentically Yeminite food but it was just too foreign for my taste buds. I didn't enjoy it. Truth is, I really do like all the dough items they make. The soup wasn't appealing. It was hard for me to enjoy the Shabbat. I know exactly how the H family felt. Now I think that maybe it's better to stick to what you know. We can have lots of American friends over and they will all enjoy that same old American Ashkenazi cooking that we're all used to. So the next time you want to invite a family over for Shabbos, think about the cultural differences long and hard before picking up the phone.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Baruch Hashem it rained yesterday. When I walked out of the house yesterday morning to take my kids to gan, the sky was blue and the birds were chirping. Slowly but surely the clouds started moving in. By the early afternoon the sky was partly cloudy. By 4 PM there were dark rain clouds. Just after 4 it started to rain, B"H. We need the rain so badly. I don't think that it was significant enough though. Last week my son came home with a note saying that we should say barchi nafshi up to the 11th pasuk which talks about the rain. He also told me that the rebbe said that if it doesn't rain we may have to fast. B"H it did rain and I hope it continues to do so.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Trying out a New Trick

Thanks to Mother in Israel I am going to now try to link something. Let's see if it works.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Parent-Teacher Conferences

This was inspired by Rafi at Life in Israel who was talking about his recent experience with Parent-Teacher conferences.

As bad as everyone over there comments that their conferences were I still think mine was the worst. Why? Well because of one word: disorganization.

A little background info first. My son is 5.5 and goes to a cheider where they have two years of gan (ages 3 and 4) and then start first grade. So my son started first grade this year and now knows how to read and is learning to write in script letters. I'm not going into my feelings about this right now and I won't be discussing the fact that we didn't know what we were getting ourselves into. This year they moved the gan and first and second grades to a fenced in area where the Beis Yaacov school used to be before they built a building. The area is made of 4 caravans and an area for bathrooms as well as an open area in the middle for playing. There is no playground because they haven't put it up yet. Don't ask me why.

For the past two years they have had ganenot teaching them, with a rebbi coming in to teach alef bet. This year they have a rebbi. Luckily the Rebbi that my son has happens to be an English speaker who made aliya at age 4 with his family. We were so happy when we heard this and it's definately help with the transition to first grade. Unfortunately, this Rebbi has only one year of subbing experience behind him. That means he's a new teacher. That was me about two years ago. Boy do I remember how hard that was.

Because he's an English speaker and because I know what he's been though I am trying very hard to bite my tongue and not criticize every little thing. I must say that he is trying really really hard to make it work. It seems like the administration is really behind him also. Despite that there are a number of things that aren't going so well. This Rebbi is the nicest man. He's just nice. The boys in my sons class however aren't. They eat him alive. They are the nastiest little rugrats you've ever seen. There are some I'd even call delinquiints. Why? Well there are the boys who took apart a wooden bench one time. There's the boy who opened the soragim on the window, climbed out, went behind the caravan, under a fence that connects the girls can to the boys gan, and walked out the girls gan door in order to escape. They are a tough group. My son is not like this. He's more like the Rebbi-nice. Luckily, the biggest trouble maker has already left the class. Another not so calm boy went back to gan. There are still two big trouble makers there. They have the most involved parents. Those mothers are the ones to bake cakes for the parties and to organize things. I guess they're like the PTA of his class.

So, last week my son came home from cheider on Friday as usual. No note or anything. As I'm reading his daf kesher on Shabbos morning, I see that at the end there is a line about how parent teacher conferences will be motzei Shabbos at 8. That's right, I found out the day of. How bout that? I have no idea why we didn't get something earlier but again I'm sure the Rebbi got that complaint from many many other parents and I'd like him to think of us as the parents who are giving him a chance. Luckily my in-laws were at our house and babysat.

My hubby and I went to the conference. My sons gan is located in a very windy part of the yishuv. We got there after 8:15 and the Rebbi still hadn't gotten there. We thought it was going to be a general meeting but we were wrong. We wrote our name on the list but there were like 7 people ahead of us. Luckily my hubby brought his gemara-smart thinking. So we stood outside in the dark cold area between the caravans. There was no hot tea, no heat on, no chairs to sit on while we wait. It was wonderful. Oh wait, and I brought the baby because he might want to nurse right? So I decided I'd place him in the caravans for the gan. There they had a nice table set with pretty plates and napkins. The mothers get a nice small meal and heat and tea and coffee. How nice? Yea, I was jealous. They were nice and warm and we were freezing our tootsies off outside.

There were no appointments nor did anyone say how long everyone should take. Like I said: disorganized! Everyone took as long as they needed to. The poor Rebbi ended up leaving after 11. I think he should have just slept there rather than going back to Yerushalayim at night. I felt so bad for him. I'm sure he heard sooooooo many complaints. What's for sure is that those complaining have never been in his place and probably don't know what it's like to manage a class with 20+ wild boys. Well we survived the conference and I hope that this Rebbi survives this year.

May Hashem give him the right words to say to each boy in order to instruct them in the way that's best for them. May he help us raise them to merit learning Torah with a love and passion. May he succeed in modeling how one acts bein adam l'chaveiro so that they grow up with wonderful middos.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Venting Session about Hubby

I know that I really shouldn't do this but....I NEED to vent and let off some steam. I'm really really really annoyed at my husband. Is it because I asked him to take out the garbage on his way to work and he didn't? Is it because this is the millionth time this happened? No. Is it because I asked him to get change so I could pay the babysitter today? No. Is it becaused I caused him to be in a crabby mood today? Perhaps. Is it because every time I call him he tries to end the class as soon as possible? Could be. Is it because he uses different standards of what's okay for him and for me? Yup.

When my in-laws were here they brought feet pjs for my older son. I waited until last night to give them to him. It was too hot when they were here. I asked my hubby if it's okay that I wait to give them to him. He said yes. Last night after the bath I felt that the kids might be cold so I let them wear feet pjs. I took out the new ones for my son. He was excited to see them. He insisted that they fit even though they were a little big. He liked the space shuttles on them.

This morning when my hubby got home from shul and saw him wearing them he was upset that I had let our son wear them when he wasn't there to see it. I guess it was insensitive of me. He was really really annoyed at me. He kept saying that he couldn't believe that I didn't wait for a night when he was home early to do this. Mind you that there is no night when he's home early -except Friday night and Saturday night. So then he asked what my sons reaction was when he saw the pjs. He expressed how annoyed he was again since he was the one who asked his parents to bring the pjs. How could I not wait for him? Well gee. He did say that I could wait to put them on him for another night. He never said that he wanted to be there when he puts them on. He never told me that he wanted to be the one to put the pjs on him. I guess I should have known. This isn't the first time this happened. Yup, I should have known. No excuses.

So I'm annoyed-at him and at me. So hubby goes to work all annoyed. Then I call him to tell him I made a dentist appointment and I can tell in his voice he's still annoyed and wants to get off soon. We hang up. Then later I get another important phone call so I call him to let him know what the lady said. Again he is eager to hang up. Fine. Maybe he has lots of work to do. Okay. Then, he asks me what's for dinner. The dreaded subject. I say, you're having hot dogs and I'm having wedding food. This was my way of hinting to him that I need him home early so I can get to my secretary from school's wedding. So he says: At 8:30 right? I say: very funny. He knows it starts at 7:30 and I need him home at 7. Then I say how I'm so happy to have married someone with such a sense of humor. He apparently got offended. Maybe he's still upset about what happened in the morning. When I tried to get him to talk to me he said he wanted to hang up. When I tried to pry out of him what was wrong he hung up on me. When I called back and told him that I didn't like the way the conversation ended and I really wanted closure for the subject he refused to talk to me about anything. He said that I wasn't his therapist. I told him that I wasn't but I was his wife and therefore I wanted to know what was going on and why he wasn't talking to me. Finally after not getting anywhere with him I got so upset that I hung up. I was almost in tears.

Why can't he just talk to me and tell me what's wrong? Doesn't he want to work things out? Maybe he's just given up. He always says things like that. He doesn't see any point in telling me because I won't have the right reaction. He feels the need to hide things from me because I'll react in the wrong way and I'll say things that will hurt him. Maybe it's just because I'm a woman but I feel the need to talk things out. Even if the talking leads to unpleasant things being said but when two people share their feelings I feel that progress has been made. I'd rather he tell me he's upset and why than that he not tell me but I know that he's upset but I have no idea why. He feels that if he would tell me I wouldn't understand why he's upset and therefore he shouldn't bother telling me. I feel that if he'd tell me maybe I could do something about it.

Basically, shalom bayis issues. Yea, I know that this isn't the type of stuff that people normally share on their blogs but I NEEDED to vent. The whole reason I started this blog was to be able to vent at someone other than my hubby. He didn't want to hear it any more.

So, I'm really unhappy right now. He won't apologize because he just doesn't do that. I can't because I have no clue what I did wrong and even if I did he wouldn't accept my apology. He'd say it's fake and I don't mean it. If I meant it I wouldn't do this again and again and again. So, I'll just be walking around with a sad look on my face for the rest of the day. Man I hate this stuff. It's much easier to never see him and to go to sleep before he comes home and to not have to talk in the morning. Unfortunately that isn't the way things are so we'll have to see what happens. It's probably going to be a stalemate for a while. I'd call but I think it won't do any good. I'll probably have to wait until he calls to tell me he's leaving work or until he actually comes home (at which point I'll be exiting to get to the wedding). Sigh!