Wednesday, 7 January 2009


Is it feminist to be pleased to be back in an underwire bra after 15 months of soft cup boredom? Wriggly has been slowly but surely losing interest in his breakfast feed of breast milky goodness, to the point where this morning he had the shortest suck ever and would not even latch on at the second attempt. He has weened himself at the grand age of one year. Can't walk, can't talk, but he doesn't need no boobies anymore.

He's still totally into formula from a bottle though; he gets all flappy with excitement when he sees the plastic boob-replacement. Even when it's just sitting upside down on the bench drying after a clean. He gobbles the formula down, and keeps sucking even after it's all gone, although he's actually not all that hungry. Fortunately he is easily distracted by that other modern wonder; the toothbrush.

In other wire-related news, we've been watching the first season of The Wire, graciously loaned to us over a year ago by Mr R P Studmuffin. We watched episode four last night. Now that's a patient friend.

Almost as forgiving is poor old Apathy Jack, who came round with two boxed sets of watching pleasure (the complete Yes Minister, including Yes Prime Minister, and every episode of Babylon Five ever made) when Wriggly was a couple of weeks old. Sensitive to the needs of new parents, he dropped them off at the doorstep quietly one morning and sneaked away again to avoid waking the baby or me. He'll be waiting a while yet but I won't forget the DVDs were his to start with.

But back to The Wire. I find it quite compelling watching. It's the sort of programme where I get to the end of an episode and I'm disappointed it was so short. I want to watch the next one immediately. I haven't felt this way since Battlestar Galactica. I don't know if it reflects NZ's police force at all, but I suspect not. Surely it can't be that desperate in Nga Pirihimana O Aotearoa?

The Wire paints a picture of boys (and one girl so far) in blue who are over-stretched, under-resourced, under-paid, and generally encouraged to quit if they have any smarts whatsoever. I wonder how the real-life Baltimore police felt about it when it came out? Too close to the bone? Or a million miles away from their truth? The high level of corruption portrayed (and the high level of incompetence and stupidity on display) is astonishing to me, despite my high level of cynicism about law enforcement.

As I've only seen a limited portion of the series so far it may be unfair to comment on the male dominance of the cast. In many ways it is probably a natural reflection of the environment on the screen; women in the drug world seem to be drug users and/or prostitutes, while on the other side there's been one police prosecutor (who also serves as a sex interest for the main male character), and one female police officer, Detective Shakima Greggs.

Kima's character is so prominent that I almost felt like there were lots of women in the show. She's smart, she's good at her job, she's teamed with two complete idiots, and she's an African-American lesbian. One part of me thinks it's fantastic that there is a woman of colour, a lesbian woman of colour no less, in this part. Another wonders a little if that was a way of shoe-horning two minorities, and one majority, in for the price of one character. Perhaps in a future episode she'll end up blind or in a wheelchair? Sonja Sohn will still be fantastic to watch in the role, and if they keep writing her character the way they have been I'm not sure I'll care too much.


Anonymous said...

Just wanted to point out that, for most women, once your milk supply has regulated (around six weeks to a couple of months) it's fine to wear an underwire bra - though many do still find nursing bras with drop-down cups more convenient.

Julie said...

As you can see I did not know that! I had lots of trouble with blocked milk ducts in the early months, once from wearing a nursing singlet that was too tight, so I was pretty nervous about wearing an underwire today, but so far so good.

One of my lessons for next time (if there is a next time) is to put more money aside for nice nursing bras and clothes. I've had only 3 bras to rotate since about the sixth month of pregnancy and I never anticipated that I would want to buy nursing tops really. I guess that's one of those classic first time mum mistakes.

Azlemed said...

i have only recently gone back to underwire bras, I am still feeding twice a day. egg do nice nursing tops, which i only found out about with number 2, and hot milk do nice bras...

my milk supply has never settled down with number three so i have just worn the nursing bras.

as for whether its a feminist issue to wear underwire... maybe it depends on why you do it and who you do it for... for me its cos my breasts are too big to be comfortable without a bra.

Anonymous said...

Ahem....Kima is a Korean, African American lesbian and honestly the minority thing is really not why she's there.

The producers of the Wire went out of their way to reflect the ethnic and gender make up of both the city of Baltimore and the police force.

One of the creators of the wire is the man who wrote "homicide: life on the killing streets" after spending a year hanging out with the homicide division and the other is an ex homicide cop so chances are good that there's a reasonable degree of accuracy there.

Julie said...

Thanks Anon for the further info about Kima and the show, I agree that I don't think the minority stuff is why she's there (hence my last sentence), but I can't avoid thinking about it cos those are the blinkers I see the world through.

On the breastfeeding thing, I think I was so focused on the birth that I just didn't think much about breastfeeding. I assumed it would either be easy and I'd be able to wear my normal clothes most of the time, or hard and I'd flag it quickly. So I wasn't really thinking about what I'd need to get the job done for an extended period of time. And by the time I did I didn't really have much money for spending on clothes I thought I might not need for long. I'd have been happy to keep going past a year, especially as we were down to only one feed a day, but Wriggly didn't even ask for the breast this morning (the first time I haven't offered it). I'm a little sad that it's over.

Anonymous said...

It could just be a 'nursing strike'. It is common around this age.

The info on nursing strikes is towards the bottom above the reference list.

My daughter is 27 months and still nursing. She is slowly cutting it down though.

Anonymous said...

I'd agree with the above poster that, in a child under two who still needs milk-feeds, it's worth considering a nursing strike.

I'd also like to endorse the kellymom site she linked to as an excellent resource :-)

Julie said...

Thanks so much for that link, I wish I had read it six months ago! I tick quite a lot of the boxes around decreasing milk supply (weight loss, medication, and ors) and I think maybe it just got down too low for the sucking to be much use to Wriggly. Which is a shame. I probably could have tried to boost it at an earlier point, but now it's too late. He has been gradually less interested over time, rather than abruptly losing interest, so I suspect my return to work may have played a part too.

Azlemed said...

12 months is good, some babies dont even get breastfeed. so be proud of what you have achieved, O is my first one to go past 12 months, the girls did 10 months( my grandma died and i had to go to invers and back) and 11 months.

Anonymous said...

Returning to work can definitely contribute to inadvertent weaning. Just another reason why longer maternity leave provisions are good for the whole community.

And when you consider all the roadblock we still put in the way of breastfeeding mothers a year is indeed awesome!

The Bewildering Case of Ms Enid Tak-Entity said...

"I haven't felt this way since Battlestar Galactica." Heh. I hear you babe.