Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Baby Love

A friend of mine recently posted a link to this article from the Metro West Daily News on one of my message boards. I thought it was so cute and sweet and perfectly appropos for how I feel, I had to share it here. :)

Berry: Baby love is all a nursing mother needs
By Julie Berry / Local Columnist
Wednesday, January 19, 2005

"What to Expect When You're Expecting" chastely explains, "If you're breastfeeding, this may unconsciously be satisfying your need for intimacy."

Unconsciously, my eye. I don't need sex. Not lately. I get all the sensual pleasure I need from my baby.

I realize I may be bursting your illusions, gentlemen, but your charms cannot compete with 15 pounds of downy-soft cuddly gummy smiley stinky sweetness.

You can make your come-hither looks all day, and if I'm not tired, and you haven't been annoying me all day, I may come hither. Or not. But a face-squishing dimply baby smile will summon me without fail.

My baby has only two waking modes: pure angelic adoration of Mama, and ravenous, shirt-tearing lust for Mama.

Given the choice of who I want to make out with, hands down, you lose.

You're stubbly. Baby is smooth. You're tough as gristle. Baby is soft as pudding. You get food between your teeth. Baby has no teeth. You stink. Baby stinks, too, but even then, it's kind of nice. When you stink, you just stink.

And let me talk a little bit about baby stink.

Of all the soft sweet parts on a baby, the softest and sweetest is the neck, which has an odor all its own. When I start smooching chubby cheeks and snorting big tokes of baby scent, I always end up in the neck. I'm not the only thing that ends up there. Sweat, spit-up milk, lint, shampoo, and slobber all follow gravity down into those little crevices.

The resulting odor is a heady bouquet of cottage cheese, bile, dirty socks, and Johnson & Johnson's. I could eat it right up. Sometimes, in a frenzy of animal passion, I try to. (I suspect this is the true origin of the vampire myth. Women with bloodshot eyes, unkempt hair, sucking necks and saying "I vant to eat you up!" -- they were postpartum mothers.)

My husband finds this appetite of mine a little startling. "Ooh, you're so stinky, I love it, you're so yummy!" I say. He pretends perplexity. (Or is it jealousy? Alas, probably not.)

Are we not mammals? Don't you observe how your dogs and cats inhale, with deep interest and pleasure, every organic fluid they can find? From any orifice they can reach? Haven't you ever smelled a pair of your stinky socks that fascinated you because they were so stinky, and you took another whiff, just because?

We are mammals, and never more so than when we're lactating. (Duh, look at the word.) Somewhere inside us are sensors, dulled by the grinding of evolution's wheel, that know the pups in our litter, our mates, and our enemies by their scent, and can decipher the aromatic language of bodily secretions.

As a mom of four, my sniffer is highly trained. I can tell which kid is which, or when a kid is coming down with a cold. I can even smell a fib.

One thing we were probably better at sniffing out eons ago was when our mate was in heat. Thus primeval man was probably a lot less frustrated than modern man. He knew when to try. (Primeval woman got to be a good, fast runner.) When primeval woman had a new baby, primeval man hooked up with his buddies for a six-month hunting trip-roaming the wilderness, complaining about their wives, and killing wooly mammoths by whacking them in the shins with clubs.

This, you'll note, is a male tradition that has adapted to survive through the millennia. But I'll save that thought for another day.

The point is that baby love trumps grown-up love every time. Now, I realize that by putting this down in black and white, I may be skating that fine line in your minds between "this lady loves her baby" and "this lady is a sicko pervert."

I call as my witness any woman who's had a baby and snuzzled it. This probably explains why, unlike many people, I've never adopted the habit of calling my husband "babe" or "baby." It's wishful thinking. I know better.

So with Diana Ross & the Supremes, I sing, "Baby love, my baby love, I need ya, oh, how I need ya . . ." For about the first 18 months. And then it's, "Baby, baby, baby, where did our love go?"

At which point the adult males of the species begin to look a little more interesting. When comparing the charms of the grown-up man and the 18-month old one, usually the grown-up is slightly better behaved. But that may just be evolution, trying to trick me into making another baby.

I smell a rat.

Copyright 2005, Julianna Berry. Used by permission of author.
Julie Berry

Don't get me wrong, I love my husband dearly, but I have to agree with the author that a sweet baby has an allure about him/her that simply can't be rivaled.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to snorts some tokes of baby neck goodness. ;)

Happy belated Valentine's Day, everyone. :)


At 2/15/2005 8:04 PM, Blogger myrmom said...

Lovely and oh so true...thanks for posting.

At 2/15/2005 11:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked this a lot too. :)

At 2/16/2005 10:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it just me or is anyone else disturbed and disgusted by this article? I'm sorry but I am far from getting the warm fuzzies. I have breastfed 2 children and I agree it is a special experience and a great way to bond but I would never compare it with the intimacy I share with my husband nor did it take the place of the intimacy we share. How are those two feelings even comparable?? "Given the choice of who I want to make out with, hands down, you lose"? This is just wrong. All I have to say is I feel bad for your signifant others.

At 2/16/2005 10:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When the article refers to sensual pleasure, I was in utter shock that she was referring to her baby and not her husband! I agree with the last comment...intimacy with your child and intimacy with your husband cannot be compared in ANY way. I found myself re-reading this over and over because I just can't comprehend the logic in it. And yes, I have breastfed.

At 2/16/2005 10:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I may be skating that fine line in your minds between "this lady loves her baby" and "this lady is a sicko pervert."

In my opinion, you have crossed this line. Words like lust, frenzy of animal passion, making out, etc, should never be used in reference to your baby.

And yes, I bf'ed both my children.

At 2/16/2005 10:44 AM, Blogger amygeekgrl said...

I believe the article was written somewhat tongue-in-cheek and should not be read entirely literally. I guess I should have stated that the author is a humor columnist. I liked a lot of the comparisons she made though. They rang true to me. :)

At 2/16/2005 10:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am also seriously disturbed and horrified at this article. Intimacy with a husband and intimacy with a child are two totally separate forms of intimacy and are absolutely not interchangable. It is utterly appalling to read this article and the comments of those who concur with the absurd statements above. I sincerely hope that the supporters come to terms with reality before the relationships with their husbands and possibly their marriages deteriorate. A successful marriage and family consists of a healthy balance between the two entities.

At 2/16/2005 11:14 AM, Anonymous vital spark said...

I have to say that I agree that lust isn't considered when I think of BF'ing my child...however I do read this as a joke. I read it to my dh and he laughed at it because there are some similarities in it for us and there are some that aren't. I think it's good for a laugh and think it's good to have something to lighten the mood. BFing does have a lot of intimacy involved in it (at least for me and my son). I mean, how can you not feel some sort of intimacy when you nurse a baby? He/she is in a place that only your husband and however many children you nurse go. I feel intimate with my little one bc it's a special and sacred experience that I enjoy...knowing that I help him grow in life.

At 2/16/2005 11:25 AM, Blogger Jody said...

I have a bit of perspective in this matter, being the husband of Ms. Geekgrl. The interest in this article is hardly as literal and disturbing as so many are quick to exclaim. As stated, it is a humorist column and to be taken with a grain of salt. It is not the story of a woman french kissing her child in the privacy of her own home, it is an article using some passionate words to describe how visceral the presence of a baby can be.

I doubt the author forsakes intimate time with her husband just to sniff her baby's neck. In fact, if she is prone to using such words, I would bet that her husband is a lucky man to have someone with such articulated passion.

At 2/17/2005 1:04 PM, Anonymous Jessica said...

In response to Mr. Geekgrl. Have you ever breastfed a child? What makes you think you have any "perspective" on this issue? I have breastfed and don't feel this article is anything but disgusting, I don't care who it was written by or what intention it was written for. I would love to see what type of response this would get in a real newspaper, but oh no, that would be too "mainstream" wouldn't it?

At 2/17/2005 1:42 PM, Blogger Tanya said...

At first, I was really uncomfortable with the begining of this letter. The comparing husband to child, making out with, etc. Until I read on further and realized this is one of those editorials you might see in a paper and is meant to be lighthearted and not taken literally.

Words like intimacy and lust are words that I usually do not like to see when referring to BFing, but need to remind myself that not all things are sexual. Our world is so sexualized that when we hear these words mixed in a context such as this that we may feel disgusted. In reality there are 2 different definitions to both the words, intimate and lust, both have non-sexual meaning. That is what I needed to remind myself of.

So after reading this letter a second time. I can relate and understand where this author is coming from. DH is stubbly and scratchy, baby is soft and smooth. Baby stink is better than grown man stink, LOL :)

At 2/17/2005 1:50 PM, Blogger Jody said...

Jessica, forgive me for not spelling it out. My perspective is in relation to Amy and her thoughts and this article, not about breastfeeding... that was my intent.

However... why the heck can't I have a perspective. I am a thinking human being. I see women breastfeeding, I talk to my wife (gee can you imagine) and so I can formulate thoughts and opinions. I am not trying to talk about what it feels like to breastfeed (cuz I don't know), I am an educated male that is empathetic to my wife's concerns. Forgive me for relating to my wife. I should go watch football I guess huh?

*scratch scratch*

At 2/17/2005 2:25 PM, Blogger amygeekgrl said...

(Weird. I just tried posting a response and it never showed up, so I'm trying again.)


I noticed that there were some duplicate posts from you, so I deleted the repeats. (Maybe blogger is on the fritz and hence your duplicates.)

Anyway, as far as the article not being printed in a "real newspaper," I believe it was. Here's a link:
Metro West Daily NewsThere's an email for the author of the article on that site if you are interested in contacting her to see what kind of response she got. I might even e-mail her myself because I too am curious.


At 2/17/2005 4:31 PM, Anonymous C-note said...

Oh my, where to begin? I find it difficult to believe that people are "disturbed and disgusted" over this type of article. There are so many others things worthy of your disturbance and disgust.
Has anyone watched the local news lately? Not a week ago, on a Detroit news show there was a report of a hit and run accident that showed a close up of a gory blood stain on a wall where the victim was injured. I'm sure if they could've gotten a shot of the corpse that would have lead.
Other items of concern: pop singers and priests molesting small children, mass genocide in the Sudan, genital mutilation in Africa and even in our own country, the sex slave trade (also here in the USofA). Or how about torture of people unconvicted of any wrong doing, without access to lawyers and or contact with their loved ones? See link http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=542&ncid=718&e=2&u=/ap/20050217/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/iraqi_prisoner_s_death

I myself was raised with a degree of shame about sex and the human body in general. While maybe the comparison of rowdy intercourse with a husband to tenderly nursing your sweet innocent baby is a little startling and certainly controversial, I daresay this woman was not talking about sexual pleasure, so much as just loving pleasant intimacy. I would imagine this sort of shameless intimacy is wonderful to experience with one's own child, If it's anything like the pure love I have occassionally shared with lovers and dear friends, then I frankly do not see the need for outrage at a lighthearted column.

At 2/18/2005 1:02 PM, Blogger Julie Berry said...

I'm the author of "Baby Love," and I write humor columns for newspaper publication. I've enjoyed reading these comments tremendously. Amygeekgrl has kindly posted a link to my site, which you're welcome to visit. I welcome your comments, positive or critical.

Rest assured my children are well-loved and safe from any harm.


Julie Berry

At 2/18/2005 1:27 PM, Anonymous momw2kids said...

I didn't find anything humorous about your article.

At 2/20/2005 4:12 PM, Anonymous VitalSpark said...

I think Tanya said it best...our world is a very sexual world and thus, many words have been used in reference to sex...intimacy is one. So, if you don't feel intimate w/ your child what kinds of words and feelings would you describe for your BF'ing relationship? Why do you BF? I am not asking w/ a tone of flippancy but one of real wonder. I am in the birthing and childbirth education field and consider birth and breastfeeding to be very intimate. It's a word I actually use to describe the birth experience in my contract with the couple. You are fine to not feel "lustful" or "intimate" with your child but what do you feel? I have heard of plenty of mothers who don't like to BF but do simply bc they believe it's healthy for their babies. My dh has a co-worker that won't BF her bb's bc she has an issue w/ her own breasts. You are definately entitled to feel what you want and so it the author of the column...I wouldn't think you are insensitive if you didn't feel "intimate" with your child so why do you feel the need to think that this woman is "inappropriate" or "sick" or whatever? C-note is right....if we worried less and typed less about the way a mother is tenderly loving her child and worried more about the injustice that is going on everyday around us we might be able to make more of a change for our children and their futures.

BTW...MrGeekguy...you totally have perspective on this and it's great to see a supportive and loving dh tuned in to what's best for his wife and child!! Kudos to you for sharing!

At 4/12/2005 6:21 PM, Blogger Walter said...

I think the people who thought the article was perverted are perverted.


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