Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Now that's what I call engorgement

As a soon-to-be father, I've created this blog for the purpose of tying together the random sports thoughts that constantly fill my pine-tar-drenched mind and my fascination with — and sometimes sheer terror of — the amazing things I'm constantly learning about child birth and the sleep-deprived months that follow.

Today's topic: breastfeeding, which apparently is the most complicated uncomplicated action on earth. I basically thought this ages-old practice amounted to "insert mouth here." I learned different at my child birth class Monday night.

Take, for instance, the blisters, cracking, bleeding and even "blocked milk ducts" that many mothers experience. Kind of like the Seattle Mariners' front office. They've been letting formerly big-hitting stars such as Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson suck the company teet raw for the last few years. All these executives have to show for it is a team with the worst record in the league and two vastly underperforming, overpaid infielders. Of course, Beltre and Sexson are getting all the nourishment they need; they're making $13.4 million and $15.5 million, respectively, this season.

After the breastfeeding class, reading a handout called "Breastfeeding: Better for Baby" (courtesy of the Playtex M.O.M. Program) brought to mind Thursday's NBA draft. The sheet listed various boons of breastfeeding that most of these one-and-done hoopsters could have similarly reaped by staying in school:

— BETTER IQ. A clinical study showed that infants breastfed exclusively for the first six months scored 11 points higher on an IQ test than formula-fed babies.
Look, I'm not saying O.J. Mayo and Michael Beasley should reach for their mothers' bosoms. But can you honestly tell me their one year of experience playing with the likes of infantile teammates such as Davon Jefferson and Bill Walker gave them the basketball tutelage needed to step in and make a difference on an NBA team? Doubtful. Look for lots of turnovers and blank stares of disbelief from these two in '08-'09.

— LESS ILLNESS OVERALL AND LESS HOSPITALIZATION. Youngsters such as Russell Westbrook of UCLA (the No. 4 pick), JaVale McGee of Nevada (No. 17), J.J. Hickson of N.C. State (No. 19) and Ryan Anderson of Cal (No. 21) may have killed their future careers in one quick motion by leaving their college careers behind so soon. Rather than learning from great competition and emerging NBA-ready — can you say Brandon Roy? — these kids are destined to be the next Rashad McCants, Kwame Brown, Eddie Griffin and Danny Ferry, respectively.

Perhaps the most surprising thing I've learned about breastfeeding is how stinkin' hard it is for these little guys to latch on. I sort of was under the impression that it was an "insert mouth here" type of situation, but now I find out that failing to secure a firm, wide grip can keep babies from getting enough milk. Speaking of failing to latch on, when's someone going to tell highly touted NFL players such as Cedric Benson, Chris Henry and Pacman Jones that tons of money and long careers are there for the taking; all they have to do is latch on and enjoy the ride. But hey, at least Henry and Jones stuck to breaking the law and making trouble. Benson went for the trifecta, adding "gaining tons of weight" to the mix. Dude looks like he ate his UT Longhorns lookalike.

Now that's what I call engorgement.