so, early on nursing was really hard, for both henry and myself. but now that we’re in month #4 and he’s bigger and more coordinated and i’m more confident and used to it, i feel like we’ve really gotten the hang of it.
and i love it! i’m over the bizarre/freak out/invasion of the body snatchers thing and just think it’s really darn cool that i can sustain him (ie: make his knees so fat they’ve lost all definition) with just my body. i even think the white white milk is kind of pretty. (is that totally strange?). and when i’m at work and away from him for 9 hrs a day, it gives me a little joy to be still taking care of his needs by pumping to feed him the following day. it’s a quiet few minutes when i can think about him and look at his pictures and get my mind out of the work chaos and onto the important chaos.
i feel extremely blessed that i’ve been able to breast feed. not everyone can, and i’m just really glad that i have been able to, and that’s it’s been fairly easy for me (look ma, no bloody nipples!).
and…so even if you’re not all up in the whole baby world or the medical world, you have probably still been inundated with the concept that breast milk is like sunshine dust when it comes to feeding babies. it’s the most nutricious, full of the bestest fats and germ-fighters and brain-boosters. it fights autism and obesity and nuclear war. it is like liquid miracle and kids that get it will grow bigger, stronger, smarter and have more teeth. they will excel in spelling and punctuality. they will be able to dive off the high dive by their 3rd tiny tadpole swimming lesson and they will skip crawling and walking and will be dancing like ginger rogers by 6 months. and they will never talk back.
🙂 of course i’m being silly (see, i was breast fed, so i have an enhanced sense of comic timing), but in truth, there are lots of good reasons to attempt to get a baby as much breast milk as possible- by breast feeding your own milk, pumping and bottle feeding your own milk or bottle feeding donated milk from someone else.
of course, some people are unable to breast feed and should NOT feel like they’ve somehow let down their child. formula is a fine alternative designed to provide the same basic good juju as breast milk. but i think people who don’t at least give it the ol’ college try (in my experience, it’s a cultural thing- if your mom and your mom’s mom did or didn’t breast feed, you’re taught to/not to do it. same thing with using glass versus metal casserole dishes or mayo/miracle whip) are missing out. if you are able to do it and stick with it long enough that it stops sucking, it becomes cheaper, more convenient, and gives your baby all the skillz he needs to succeed in the world. like fat knees and hands.
but it’s also an extremely personal thing and its not for everybody. the lactation consultants and la leche leaguers have gotten a bad rep for pushing the nursing agenda so militantly. it can really be off-putting to have some strange lady squeezing your inflamed nipple while lecturing you on nipple confusion. tina fey in her book “bossy pants” (if you haven’t read it yet, leave this blog, go directly to amazon and buy it. so good! so funny! so smart! then come back.) says…
“There are a lot of different opinions as to how long one should breastfeed. The World Health Organisation says six months. The American Association of Pediatrics says one year is ideal. Mothering magazine suggests you nurse the child until just before his wedding rehearsal. I say you must find what works for you. For my little angel and me the magic number was about 72 hours.”
she goes on to say that breast feeding moms can be really smarmy and act all superior about it and are only humbled by the MORE sacrificial, compassionate moms- those who have adopted their children. it’s really funny, but it’s also probably really true. i hope i’m never an a-hole about the fact that i’m nursing.
and please, may i never discuss nipple cream with my friends without kids. i’ve been on the other side of THAT disaster and i gotta tell you, i still haven’t really forgiven this person. you know who you are. no, not you. YOU! the one with the chafed up chest berries and one less Christmas card in the mail every year.