Friday, September 5, 2008

Keeping Baby Greene

Miss Fiona Greene is scheduled to join our family in a few more weeks, and we're hoping to welcome her in a reasonably eco-savvy fashion.

While I'll admit, I splurged for a $25 goldfish bunting - wasteful, frivolous and insanely cute - for the most part, I've been doing my best to practice sane, Earth-friendly parenting even before baby makes four.  Top on my list?  Mastering breastfeeding.

When Freddie was born, I was so busy trying to cram prenatal check-ups into my hectic work schedule that taking a breastfeeding class seemed an unthinkable luxury.  Silly me.  Freddie was a lousy latcher, I was completely clueless and because he was born just days before Christmas, the hospital lactation consultants weren't on their regular schedule.

Add in a pair of in-laws so taken with their first grandchild that they camped out in the hospital making me squeamish about trying, a mild case of jaundice and we were headed for disaster.  We spent Christmas Eve Eve in our local children's hospital, watching frail Freddie squirm in an isolette, complete with an IV for yes, he was now badly jaundiced and dehydrated.

The story ends well - Freddie quickly recovered and ended up in the 99th percentile for height and weight just a few months later.  He's still there.

But what I learned from my experience is this:  when breastfeeding goes wrong, it can go really wrong.  If you don't know your resources and options up front, it can be not just difficult, but dangerous.

Luckily, I finally found a good lactation consultant who mopped my hysterical self off the floor and taught me how to use a rented, hospital-grade pump.  But this time around, I'm setting out informed and determined.

What I can't decide, though, is how much stuff I need.  We have the Boppy and I kept my nursing bras.  But should I stock up on Lansinoh now?  How about breast shields or pads?  I can't imagine investing hundreds of dollars in nursing wear.  But what about that $35 Hooter Hider?  Is it as frivolous as a wipes warmer, or the best thing since California Baby shampoo?

I'm looking at breastfeeding for all the right reasons - health benefits, mother-baby bonding, convenience - but also because it's gotta be the lowest eco-impact option - even if I buy a bunch of stuff.

But I can't help wonder - should I order some of the gear before I need it, assuming I can always pass it on if it proves unhelpful?  Or should I just sit back and be confident that I'm so much more prepared this time, and know when to ask for help?

I'm inclined to do the latter, but there's still about a month to go.  I might just buy that Hooter Hider yet.  

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