Thursday, July 8, 2010

Do You Prop or Not? BAAAD Mother

A good friend came over to my house this week- with her baby. She was busy while she was here (okay, she came to swim) and decided to prop up a bottle while swimming so her little cutie would be happy and she could swim for ten minutes. But apparently, she was a little embarrassed. MY baby is turning 14, so I have been out of baby culture for a few years (only a few. we treat him like a baby)

Friend: I'm actually a little embarrassed, I bet you never propped.
Me: Huh?
Friend: propped! propped! You are so the type not to do it! I bet you never did it with your kids!
Me: Did what?!?
Friend: You really don't know what I'm talking about? Propping! Propping your bottle for your baby!
Me: You mean, like propping up the baby's bottle? When you can't hold them? like now, when you want to swim?
Friend: YES!!
Me: Oh! you mean because they could choke if the hole of the nipple is too big, or they will get very gassy because if the liquid isn't tilted all the way to the top of the bottle, the air pocket grows and they gulp more air than milk?? that's why it's bad, I mean not bad, but not the best thing to do? right?
Friend: I have no clue what you are talking about
Me: propping up a bottle so a baby can drink!
Friend: it's not about the baby drinking or choking or gulping too much air. who cares about that! it's about propping up a bottle! Propping!
Me: Um, this a "thing"? it actually is a thing with a name? like, do you nurse? or, do you eat gebroks? do you go to the country for the summer? do you send your kids to overnight camp? do you "prop"??
Friend: you sound a little hysterical
Me: sorry. tell me about this new propping concept
Friend: well, it's like this. I met a friend who saw me with my baby and she said, I can't believe your propping, aren't you embarrassed, to be out in public with your baybala in the stroller propping!!
Me: um....I am really sorry, but this is actually an activity that is viewed as wrong?!?
Friend: Propping is what you do when you can't hold the bottle. what mother isn't available for her baby? what mother can't do a natural thing like take care of her own baby?

if this seems like we were going in circles, we were.

My friend is chassidish. and apparently, with the chassidish women, "propping" is something they are very judgemental about.

I actually meant this to be a funny post, but as I write it and read what I am writing, I am deciding it is not funny. it is so, so sad. A woman comes to swim in my pool and doesn't want to pay for a babysitter, so she brings her baby in the carriage, props up a bottle and feels guilty.



FBB said...

I think every mother has different elements of her life that make her feel guilty in regards to her kids. Especially when one lives in a society where everyone knows everyone, and all are having babies at the same time, the pressure is greater.

How does your friend know the babysitter wouldn't have "propped?" Or in her mind is it worse because she, the mother is doing it?

I once told a story that involved me nursing while using the computer, and a certain person was aghast. He asked: "aren't you supposed to focus on the baby?"

The kid eats like eight to ten times a day, I can use the computer during one feeding. It's the same thing here. Does she always give the baby a bottle this way? or is it a sometimes thing?

we all use a "prop" of some sort with all of our kids, at all ages now and then.

G6 said...

I'm not suggesting that "propping" once in a while will cause drastic harm, but I'm baffled as to why you don't understand the stigma in general. Have you not heard about Harlow's surrogate mother experiment? (scroll down). Babies *do* need to feel a warmth and attachment to their mothers... it's not just about physical nourishment. (If she felt that guilty, by the way, she could have spent 5 minutes feeding the bottle and then gone swimming y'know...)

It was always a non-issue with me though.... kinda hard to "prop" when you're breastfeeding ;) ......

FBB said...


see above. a mother can be made to feel guilty, EVEN when nursing

Rivki said...

If the biggest thing in her parenting that she has to worry about is "propping," I think she's going to be fine!

Seems to be that there's always going to be someone, somewhere who disapproves of something you're doing as a mommy.

In a sense, maybe it's good for encouraging us to think about what is and isn't good parenting. Or maybe it is just making us crazy.

Mystery Woman said...

A relative of mine had triplets. At every feeding, she'd breastfeed two and 'prop' one. Even SHE was made to feel guilty about that. But that may be less about what was said, and more about how she took it. If she was completely ok with it, those comments wouldn't have had an effect on her.

littleduckies said...

I think bottle propping is child abuse.

Babies need to be held while they are eating. If you are a bad enough mother to choose, out of your own free will, and with no medical problems, to give your baby formula, at least hold him.

If she really felt guilty, she should have fed her baby and then gone swimming. Since when is a recreational activity more important than a child? (Answer: Since formula became accepted.)

OTOH, it makes sense that she would prop the bottle - mothers give formula for convenience, so why not get all the convenience they can?

But if they're after convenience, why have a baby?

FBB - "Props" are one thing. Bottle-propping is another. Read the literature on it.

JoeRu said...

I know this comment is 4 years old and the post itself is 7 years old, but OMG! Littleduckies, you are all up with the guilting!
What's wrong with setting up a kid to have a bottle while you do something else for a minute or three, especially if there is another kid that needs something? I agree with the concept that all the time is not great, and yeah, G6, there is that crazy monkey experiment that shows (surprise!) babies need touch, but COME ON!

BTW, also guilting about formula!! OMG again - there are a LOT of reasons to utilize formula, most importantly lack of supply. Also, infections, pain, and even simple supplementation. But anyway, HOW DO YOU KNOW that the bottle had formula? Maybe it had pumped milk expressly (heh) for this sort of occasion!

Oh boy.

Convenience is important. Taking breaks is important. Down time is important. Who can be "ON" all the time? That doesn't stop us from having and raising children. I personally am a very involved father and none of my kids appear to resemble the monkeys with the wire-frame mothers in the above experiment DESPITE my scientifically creating the perfect bottle prop. (slight exaggeration)

Anyway, I just found this blog and it is great and internet commenters are the same everywhere. Too bad.