Some Thoughts On Breastfeeding

9 02 2012

Since my story of “How I Thought It Would Be Versus How It Actually Is” would be way too long for a single blog post, I am sprinkling these revelations throughout my posts as they come up.  They probably add up to a book at this point.  And if I gathered together summary of In-My-Imagination parenting and gave it to a group of mothers, they would probably laugh loud enough to drown out the cries of my NEVER GOING TO CRY IT OUT daughter.

Here’s how I imagined the whole breastfeeding thing:

Moments of serenity and peace and intense bonding, with my sweet baby gazing into my eyes with obvious adoration.  Quiet moments of joy and milk in noisy restaurants, where I proudly but subtly nourish my dear daughter.  Moments of rest with my little angel, snatched out of days otherwise frantic with some sort of outwardly productive but truly meaningless tasks (laundry and dishes).  Moments with somewhat defined beginnings and ends.  Moments holding my darling child’s warm, soft body to mine as we both relax and just enjoy being not-quite-separate-people.

Here’s the reality:

Nursing my child began when she was born and hasn’t actually stopped since.  She just kind of comes up for air and a peek around and then goes right back to what she does best.  If it weren’t winter right now, I’d be topless, because what’s the point of covering my boobs for those 5 minutes?

Breastfeeding is at least as relaxing as a wrestling match or a gymnastics meet.  My kid NEVER STOPS MOVING.  As she drinks, she kicks her legs.  She finds the arm of the chair with her feet and then suddenly pushes with her legs with all her might, nearly launching herself off my lap.  Her arms wave and pump.  She holds my nipple tight in her mouth AND SHAKES HER HEAD LIKE A DOG WITH A CHEW TOY.  She wraps her hands around my shirt, she snaps my bra, she gives me titty twisters when I take my eyes off her for a nanosecond.

Did I say wrestling match?  My sweetie has TEETH and (due to my fear of clipping them) nails that are like claws.  So, really, it’s like wrestling with a small tiger.  She bites.  She pinches.  She digs her fingernails into my breast.  She digs them into my nipples.  She digs her nails into my nipple AS SHE IS BITING.

Quiet?  She hums.  She grunts.  She gurgles.  She slurps.  If I have my shirt on, she begins sniffing for the milk.  When we are in public, she shrieks, because she wants everyone to know HEY! MY MOM HAS THE BEST MILK EVER, EVERYONE CHECK IT OUT!  CHECK OUT MY MOM’S BREASTS!  AND NIPPLES!  THEY’RE GREAT!

Speaking of public breastfeeding.  My little girl has this great trick where she latches on just long enough for my milk to let down then releases so milk sprays every where.  Usually she does this accompanied by the aforementioned shrieking.  And as soon as I try to staunch the flow, she re-latches.  And repeats.

As hard as it is to still be waking up every hour or so all night long (because it is hard to be away from her walking pantry for any length of time) (don’t tell her, but this is going to change soon), I have to admit that I love those moments of feeding and cuddling my semiconscious daughter, moments that entirely outdo the love, the peace, the serenity, the warmth I once imagined.

And those other times?  Truthfully?

No question there.  I wouldn’t trade a single one of them for the ones in my imagination.*

(Although we are working on the biting.)

*Also, in my mind I never got mastitis.  Despite its limitations, the imagination can really be a great place sometimes.




4 responses

9 02 2012

no kidding on the biting thing:) ha! and the clawing thing… aren’t they so cute though?!!!

9 02 2012

Yes, their cuteness is clearly nature’s way of making up for those sharp teeth and nails!

9 02 2012

I just want to say that having a wiggly baby while feeding sucks. Mine (luckily) only does it when he’s tired, and I give up feeding him within 10-15 minutes or so. Bravo to your patience.

10 02 2012

My son does the wiggle thing when he’s trying to fart. And whenever he’s farting, he wants to nurse…

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