SAHNM | Giftie Etcetera: SAHNM

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

SAHNM

For those not in the baby-slang-know, SAHNM means Stay At Home Nursing Mom.

Someone on the LSMSA Reunion forum posted about a SAHNM who was arrested overnight for a minor criminal offense and the trauma it caused to mom and baby. (Just FYI, the arrest did sound stupid and unnecessary. But that's not what this blog is about.) The person on the forum (who absolutely could be reading this, but that's fine...I wrote on the forum, too, but not in the detail I can on my own blog) commented on how horrible it is to separate a SAHNM, in part because the baby solely relies on mom and in part because formula is a poor substitute for breastmilk.

And I found myself in full disagreement with that analysis.

If a mom chooses to be a SAHNM, I fully support her. After all, I truly believe kids need much more parent time than most kids actually get, and having one parent stay at home is a solution to that problem. (Another is to have parents work flexible schedules and choose childcare carefully, which is what Alan and I do). And of course I support a nursing mom. She is giving her child important bonding and antibodies that are not present in formula.

But...

A mom has an obligation to ensure that their child is prepared to cope with separation. Even a parent who is never arrested (most parents, I hope) could get sick. Or have a parent die in another state. Or need to spend the night with a sick older kid in the hospital. Fortunately, most children have TWO parents (at least as babies...sigh). Moms who use their SAHM status to neglect to share parenting opportunities with dads, and dads who fail to step in and demand to be involved parents, are doing a huge disservice to their children. Even in a single parent household, occasionally having a sitter is a wonderful way to give your baby comfort with other people. SAHM does NOT mean ONLY PARENT IN EXISTENCE. How horrible for children whose parents disagree with that.

Also, formula is appropriate for one night, except for extreme cases of allergy, when mom CANNOT nurse. Even people who think breastfeeding is the only appropriate choice for feeding a baby (and, in the interest of full disclosure, I have no problem with formula) would for the most part agree that, in an emergency, for one night, formula is appropriate. Personally, I think nursing moms have an obligation to teach their babies to drink from a bottle, just because you never know what might happen.

I know I'm on my soapbox, but I'm tired of dads being disenfranchised and babies only being able to depend on mom. It's not right. SAHNM or WFM (Working Formula Mom) or anything in between...dad is important and coping skills for your baby are important.

Etcetera.

13 comments:

Mamaebeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mommy to Ander and Wife to Box said...

Who does what parenting duties and whether forumla is appropriate is the POINT of this post, not irrelevant. (I've decided that I get to decide the point of my own blog. LOL.) The point is that in situations other than (and including) jail, emergencies happen. So parents should prepare their kids.

I agree with reasonable accomodations, but yes, allowing baby to visit every two hours is a HUGE accomodation and unreasonable in an actual jail setting.

Instead, I would support allowing her to pump and store and allowing baby to take a bottle. If someone wants to visit the front entrance of the jail to pick up the pumped breastmilk every two hours, that would be fine with me. The changes required to secure the mom and let an infant visit every two hours throughout the jail stay would be extensive, as visitors require guards. Since the baby doesn't arrive alone, two extra people need to guarded. Also, guards who usually are a small staff during the night while all inmates are sleeping would have to increase staff. I can't imagine any court that would mandate that many changes. And, frankly, I don't think my tax dollars should pay for her extra security when there is a simple, cheap solution.

It always sucks for families, especially children, when parents are arrested. I understand that. Heck, I see that everyday. It always sucks. But that doesn't mean that nursing moms should get a free pass. Instead, they should prepare their kids.

Cajunfrogy said...

I don't believe prison is a place for an infant. Whether it be to nurse or not. If I were arrested (I hope that would be when hell freezes over) and I were a nursing mom, I wouldn't want my infant there. Sorry!! I've never been to one, but I don't believe it to be a nice, clean, happy place. This is one reason that I too believe all babies should use bottles. Yes, allow her to pump, but please don't bring the infant to prison.

Mamaebeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mommy to Ander and Wife to Box said...

"it is very easy for someone who has never pumped (and this is common through society) to suggest pumping as an easy alternative to breastfeeding." -ebeth

Nobody suggested pumping as an "easy" solution. I think pumping, personally, sounds horrible. What I do contend is that she should have the same medical care in a jail as she would get in a hospital. That's a basic human right. That doesn't mean that a baby should ever be brought to a prison. I am appalled at the thought. Breastmilk is not so important that it means you bring a baby into prison to get it.

More important, though, is the point that every child should be reliant on more than one parent and should be able to use other means of getting nourishment in an emergency. Once again, that's what this post was about.

D Squared said...

I agree that fathers need to share in all the duties of raising children.

I am a SAHM and my husband is very involved and active in raising our daughter. When she was young, I used to pump (which was horribly difficult, might I add) and then my husband would mix in formula to make up the rest of the amount she needed. She took a bottle with no problems up until she was 3 months old. Then, all of a sudden, she refused to take a bottle. My husband discovered this one day when she wouldn't eat for 7 hours while I was away for the day. We tried on several different occasions to get her to drink from a bottle and she refused. I'm not sure how long she'd have held out for but it wasn't for us not trying that she wouldn't take a bottle.

Mamaebeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mamaebeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mommy to Ander and Wife to Box said...

"...the post you wrote involves weighty subjects that are going to cause comments about it." -ebeth

I don't mind comments. (I won't take *credit* for "causing" them, though. The adult who typed the comment caused it.) But I will continue to point out if the comments are off-topic.

It seems that any blog I write where I am not 100% supportive of breastfeeding in any circumstance gets comments that excessive in number and content. That is certainly not my intent in blogging about a topic of interest to me, but it won't stop me from having my say, either.

D-squared (Dana) did an excellent job of absolutely disagreeing with me about bottles without sounding judgmental or personal. I appreciate that.

"let's be honest, happily married women with involved partners and supportive families rarely go to jail while nursing." -ebeth

I am honest. In this particular case, the SAHNM had a supportive family (including a husband and parents). And you may be telling the truth AS YOU SEE IT, but I represent a lot of women (and men) with supportive families who go to jail, so "let's be honest" makes it sound like those of use who disagree with bringing infants to jail are liars. Not so.

"and if jail/prison is so awful that a baby cannot enter it, then we need substantial penal reforms as well." -ebeth

Um, it's jail. It's supposed to be awful. And it's ONLY supposed to be appropriate for adults, on purpose.

Mamaebeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cajunfrogy said...

I pumped for about 4 weeks and I agree that pumping is a solution. No, it's not fun. I actually hated it. At the same time, if for some reason you allow yourself to be arrested then you should deal with the consequences. I totally agree with Kristy. Babies should not totally rely on the mother. Moms need some alone time too.

Cajunfrogy said...

Why so many deleted posts?? That's crazy!!

Mamaebeth said...

since i was told repeatedly my comments were off topic, i decided i should delete them.