Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Lately, there has been a lot of controversy about breastfeeding in public thanks to a situation with the city of Moncton and a woman who runs a booth at the farmer's market there*.  I have strong feelings about breastfeeding, so I thought I would share.

I breastfeed Ella.  I have spent countless hours feeding her.  And I need to tell you something - I strongly dislike it.  Here is a snippet of what breastfeeding Ella includes for me:

  • Waking up 1-2-3-4+ times a night, just to feed her.  If I had chosen to formula feed, she may have been sleeping through the night earlier (as I understand it, the formula is heavier and sits in their stomachs longer), plus Dave could be the one to get up to feed her sometimes instead of it always being me.
  • Stopping whatever I am doing to feed her when she is hungry.  She is on a schedule, but changes in our usual routines, growth spurts, and other events frequently mean that I must stop whatever I am doing to feed her instead.
  • Having to cover up while she is eating.  Many people think this is the solution to breastfeeding in public, but there are three main issues:
    • Ella hates it.  She just tries to push the cover away, or eat it instead of what she should be eating.
    • It's hot in the summer!  I feel bad putting it on her.
    • It isn't foolproof and still garners the same amount of attention that feeding without a cover does.
  • Feeding her in annoying places like in a car (which is extremely uncomfortable), in a restaurant when lots of people are around, on toilets in bathroom stalls, and other uncomfortable places.
  • Having to come home from work just so I can feed her.  I work 3 mornings a week, and sometimes I will get a text from Dave that tells me I need to come home early just because she is hungry.
  • Having to leave church so I can go feed her.  I cannot tell you how many sermons I have missed since she was born.
  • Pain - pain at first when my breasts were getting used to it, pain when they are too full, pain when she bites them, pain when she isn't latched properly.  It isn't comfortable.
So why do I feed her?
  • It's healthy for her.  All the literature suggests that it is easier for her to digest, will protect and fight diseases, and will lower her chances of allergies.
  • It's healthy for me.  Breast cancer runs in my family.  I heard a figure on the radio the other day that young mothers who breastfeed are half as likely to get breast cancer than women who never have children or don't breastfeed.
  • It's cheap.  Other than for filling my stomach with an extra 500 calories a day it is free.  Formula isn't.
  • It's ready when she is (as long as I am ready).  No preparing a bottle.
  • I forget everything, I don't have to worry about forgetting my boobs.
  • It's good bonding time for Ella and I.
Here's the thing - I am all for modesty, and I am self-conscious about my body.  Despite the issues with it, I always cover up in public.  But even while covering up, I am sure people have probably accidentally seen too much.  And I really don't judge mothers who don't cover up, because they are feeding their babies, it is unbelievably natural.

I think instead of getting upset at women, let's get upset at business owners who aren't providing adequate spaces for women to breastfeed, or for babies to be changed.  I think that would help a lot (I know it would make me feel more comfortable).  Just to be clear though, even if those spaces were located in all businesses, I do not feel that women should be required to use them.  Take it from me, being relegated somewhere to feed your baby while the rest of your group is enjoying themselves is unfair and will make a woman be all the more bitter about breastfeeding.

As far as I can tell, mine and Dave's nipples have the exact same sexual component**.  Mine just perform another more natural function as well. I am very perplexed as to why people get so upset when women don't cover up while feeding their babies, but men who have the same sized boobs as I do get to mow their lawns with their shirts off and their beer bellies hanging out.

But that's just my opinion.

*Rumours have gone around that this woman would continue to bare her breasts while not feeding her baby.  As far as I can tell these rumours have not been quantified so I am not speaking to that part of the issue at all, but solely breastfeeding in public.

**Please be aware that this will link you to cosmo's website.  I don't like or follow Cosmopolitan at all usually, but I figured since they seem to be the number one source for all sexual information in this culture, their information can be trusted (?) in this matter.

Please Note: I bear no ill will towards mothers who don't BF.  I understand that some mothers can't or don't want to BF their babies, and that is totally their decision, and I support it.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Customer 'Service'

Dear Companies,

If you are going to call a department in your company 'Customer Service', you better have a little service.  There is nothing I hate more than bad customer service.  In an age where companies only survive because they are great at something, it surprises me that so many companies with extremely poor customer service are still flourishing.  Here are my four customer service rules, please listen to and try to abide by them:

1) If you have a 'Live Chat' section on your website, it better be live:

There is nothing worse then signing on to chat with a customer service representative and having to wait as long as you would while being on hold on the phone.  Make sure you have adequate staff to handle a live chat if you are going to offer this service.  If you can't handle this, don't offer it.

ING has a great live chat section.  If there are representatives available, you are able to go into live chat, but if not, you aren't.  I tried to talk to someone on the TOMS website today in 'live' chat, and I was all alone in the chat, waiting, and waiting for someone to respond.

2) You better respond to your email inquiries quickly:I can understand a couple day wait, but it better be no more than that.  Again, if you can't handle it.  Don't offer it.  But really, you better be able to handle it.  Because my generation and younger have grown up on email.  And that is what we expect.

I recently emailed TOMS about a quick question regarding an exchange I wanted to make (but couldn't make until my question was answered).  2 emails, and 3.5 weeks later, I still hadn't had any response.

3) Don't put me on hold indefinitely:

Once again, this is a staffing issue.  But it is also an information issue.  Most people who know me know I like to have a plan.  Don't tell me you are going to visit me today, you better tell me at what time you are going to walk through my front door, and how many people are coming, and if you will be staying for a meal, and what you want to do, etc.  I like to know the whole thing.  If I don't, I get stressed.  So when I call a company and hear the dreaded "we are experiencing a higher call volume than normal, but your query is important to us, so please stay on the line until the next available representative can serve you" (on a side note, every company ALWAYS seems to be experiencing a higher call volume than normal - I would like to know when your lower call volume is so I can call then!) I am driven crazy.  How long will I be on hold?  Should I waste my time being on hold, or will I just have to hang up in an hour without having my question answered.  So if you are going to indefinitely put me on hold, at least give me an estimated wait time.  Or tell me what number I am in line.  I am much more likely to stay on hold if I am number 5 in line than if I am number 252.

Service Canada is awful to try to get in touch with (take it from me, I have had to contact them often), but if you need to call them do it first thing in the morning.  Remember, they need to be open 8-8 in everyone's time zones so they are never really just open 8-8!
4) Just because I am your customer doesn't mean I want you calling me to try to sell me something:

BMO does this all the time.  We have gotten rid of almost all of our bank accounts with them, but they are always calling us to try to sell us more of their products.  I will tell you what would have gotten you more of our service, proper customer service in the first place.  We are pulling our accounts from BMO because a rude customer service agent told us we should, and yet instead of improving their customer service, they spend money on getting people in other call centres to call us and waste my time by trying to sell me more products.  I am not interested, BMO.

ING Direct has the best customer service I have experienced in a long time.  I really wish that more organizations would use them as a model.  I have never been on hold for more than 1 minute, I get quick email responses, and direct chatting is simple and almost always available.  And in this culture, I think customer service is just going to become more and more important.

I hope you can adequately adjust to follow my rules.  Because in the end, it is all about me (right? right?)