Today we visited Tipat Halav (lit. drop of milk), the well-baby clinic in our neighborhood. It was my five-year-old’s final visit; they will soon transfer his file to the elementary school and he will get any further immunizations and checkups there (at least I hope so–the budget for school nurses was recently cut drastically). I heard the nurse on the phone talking to a mother about to undergo an operation. She said that she needed to express her milk and throw it away after she woke up from the anesthesia. After she hung up, I told her that acccording to my sources, nursing is not contraindicated after general anesthesia and once the mother feels up to nursing the amount of medication in the milk is insignificant. At any rate, it should be the mother’s choice. She said that this mother already had expressed enough milk for the baby so it was no great loss to throw it out. I said that I don’t believe in being too conservative, because if the mother incorrectly assumes that her milk is dangerous she may refrain from nursing or from giving the baby pumped milk. This could affect her milk supply or the baby’s health, if he drinks formula. The medical establishment tends to be too cautious about medications and breastfeeding, telling mothers they should wean because the baby is already “x” months old and doesn’t really need it anymore anyway.
While there my son and I looked at a series of pictures of bears playing in the snow. My son said that the pictures “couldn’t be” because bears sleep in the winter. This reminded me of Dr. Jack Newman’s talk about humanization of animals and its connection to bottlefeeding. Baby animals are often depicted drinking from bottles. As you can see, the Rugrats even provided Moses with a few bottles in his basket, just in case. Of course the biblical text describes how the daughter of Pharoah searched for a wet nurse and eventually located Moses’ own mother. The Torah implies that she was thus able to infuse in him with the Jewish values and identity needed to avoid total assimilation during his years in the palace.