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.


It Defies Logic…

6 02 2012

… that I produced a human this perfect.

But that picture was yesterday.




Yeah.  She got cuter overnight.

One Year

31 12 2011

December 31, 2010

March, 2011

June, 2011

September, 2011

December 31, 2011

‘Tis the Season

11 12 2011

My sister-in-law recently asked me about our plans for Christmas.  Not this Christmas, but, you know, CHRISTMAS.  As in, the big guy in the red suit, and the traditions Jason and I are going to establish for our family.

It was a pretty heavy conversation for a sleep-deprived mother.

“I NEED TO TALK TO JASON,” I told my sister-in-law, suddenly panicked.  I didn’t understand how we could have left THE MOST IMPORTANT PARENTING DECISION SO FAR until our daughter was almost TWO MONTHS OLD.

Christmas, to me, is the ultimate kid holiday, probably in part because I’m not a big costume person.  Being the socially awkward individual that I am, Halloween was never a big success for me once I was about 8 or 9; I always felt just a little… off.  You know, I wore a giant-cardboard-box-style costume when all my friends were dainty little princesses, or I wore a costume the year that EVERYONE else in my class decided that they were too cool for costumes.

But Christmas… Oh, man.  Santa seemed to know exactly what I wanted.  My mother can give plenty of examples of when Santa was wrong, but, honestly, I don’t remember those times.  And Christmas was huge.  I suppose that it was only a few years when we really managed to get Christmas dinner all of my mother’s side of the family plus some of my stepdad’s family, plus a few friends, but when I think of Christmas, those are the times I remember.  The two dozen or so people crammed around the dinner table, the stuffy adults chatting in the living room while the black sheep had a sarcasm contest in the kitchen…

My (step)dad playing Christmas carols on the piano while we all sang along.

Christmas is still full of anticipation for me, now that I am an adult.  Not that I want anything that Santa could bring (my dad, healthy, alive, and playing piano? do they sell that at Target?).  But the time of year when people really are nicer.  And when you can surprise someone with just the right gift (my mom really did want that doggy DNA test I gave her last year).  But as much as I still look forward to the season, it just doesn’t fulfill the nameless expectation anymore.

But Christmas with kids?  Christmas with my own kid?

Yup.  That’s what Christmas really needs.

Jason and I came up with a brief list of what our Christmases will be like – and it’s nothing out of the ordinary.  Santa will be in charge of stockings, and will probably come through with one bigger gift.  The baby will get a new pair of pajamas on Christmas Eve (this is new to us, but SUCH a fun idea!).  And really, reading that description, it doesn’t reflect the urgent need to pin down some details that flooded me when sister-in-law asked me about Christmas.

All I can say is that when you’re a kid, Christmas is magic and nothing seems better.

Until you’re a parent.  And you’re MAKING the magic for your child.

And, well, that is pretty damn important.  Even if she’s only three months old.

The Sum of Six Weeks: A Note to My Daughter

26 10 2011

So, we’ve had you with us for a nanosecond and for an eternity.  You’ve always been here, and yet you just arrived.  I suppose it’s that way with a lot of parents, and probably the lack of sleep adds to the dichotomy.

But the calendar says six weeks.  And tomorrow will be seven.

Where has the time gone?


You’ve taken 4 trips of three or more days and three or more hours away.  2 camping trips.

You have gone to 3 midwife appointments, 3 pediatric appointments, 3 Ob/Gyn appointments, 1 ultrasound appointment, and 1 massage therapist.

You’ve broken 1 bone, and that you broke it being born makes it no less impressive.

You’ve met dozens of dogs, 1 cat, 2 horses, a cow, and the mouse that took up residence in our living room for a few days.

You’ve gone to restaurants: Mexican, Peruvian, Japanese, Thai, American… And slept through most of them.

You hate the car.  Except sometimes you love the car.

You sleep between your dad and I, and my heart nearly breaks with happiness if I spend too much time thinking about it.

You’ve slept through the removal of windows and exterior walls and the cutting of concrete and the installation of sheetrock and the barking of dogs.

You started at 6 pounds, 10 ounces and have grown to 10 pounds, 6 ounces.  You have outgrown clothes already.

You make these squeaky little sounds and I call you “my little mouse.”  And yesterday, you made your first consonant sound, the “m” sound, and you said it to your grandma, not me, so I pretended not to be impressed but I was, I was just jealous.

Right now, you are sleeping on the bed next to me, and I keep poking you because I miss you.

I could keep going, but none of it adds up to our six weeks together.  None of it adds up to who you are at this moment in time.  None of it expresses just how much I love you.

I could keep going, but I don’t want to miss another moment of cuddling with you.

In Place of 1,000 Words

9 10 2011

3 Weeks

3 10 2011

Hazel's First Camping Trip: She wasn't the least bit bothered by sleeping in a tent in the pouring rain.

Some days, I’ve slept enough hours to actually feel how little sleep I get anymore.  Luckily, most days I haven’t.

I’ve learned to play that game that new mothers play: “If the baby only sleeps for five more minutes, what do I want to do in that time?”  There is a constant list of possibilities, but everything is a trade off; the baby will wake up.  So the game goes.  I can take a shower OR brush my teeth OR change the laundry OR make something to eat OR eat it.  If I take a nap, I may never get an opportunity to shower; if I shower, I won’t have time to wash the diapers.  Never mind the dishes.

That’s okay.  I was pretty smug about my child-rearing skills going into this whole thing, and I probably deserved to be taken down a peg or two.  For example, I really didn’t understand why it’s impossible for a new parent to be on time.

Then I had a baby, and I learned that other game: the “Trying to Get Out of the House” game.  You know, the one where you are trying to get dressed but the baby needs to nurse, then the baby poops and needs a clean diaper, then falls asleep, so you get dressed (finally!) and pack a diaper bag, then pick up the baby who either poops or vomits all over you (and herself, and the diaper bag), which wakes her up, then you repeat the whole process… again… and again… FOR HOURS.  I wake up at six a.m. to leave the house by 8, and am lucky if I actually leave before 10.

This sounds like a complain-y sort of post, but I really don’t mean it to be.  I mean it to be a hey-new-moms-I-am-finally-in-your-club sort of post.

Because right after my baby spits up on me?  I kiss her cheeks and her head and call her silly names.  And right after she pees in the middle of a diaper change?  I kiss her forehead and blow raspberries on her tummy and talk to her in that ridiculous baby-pitched voice that everyone hates except mothers and babies.

Because I waited my WHOLE LIFE to be sleep-deprived and pooped-upon and chronically-2-hours-late.  And now that I am, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

This is my "Camping in the rain with an infant is nonstop fun! But I do wish I had the time and energy to brush my teeth and change my underwear..." look.

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