They ask you in the hospital. And at your obstetrician’s office while you’re peering over the giant mound that’s been your abdomen for the last few months. You direct each answer to the top of your doctor’s head. Strangers ask you in line at the grocery store. Not men. That would be weirder than weird. And your mom-friends and neighbors all ask while they rub your bulbous belly and make predictions about the sex and weight of the karate kicking baby inside.
Are you going to breastfeed?
Well, yes. And then you’re sometimes asked the follow-up question, “for how long?”. And that’s where this post, after so much nothing posted, begins.
Cadence was a ferocious eater in the beginning. Her daddy referred to her as the baby pterodactyl during feeding time because of the dinosaur noises she’d make while she nursed. I’ve never heard a real-live dinosaur make noise because they’re extinct now, but I imagine she hit the nail on the head. It was awkward and I felt embarrassed quite a bit when nursing in public. I felt fumbly and stayed home a lot until she began taking a bottle. Like all my babies, she took in quite a bit of air. The burps were manly and hilarious. Often they induced hiccup fits. The day she became aware of her hands they were all over my breasts leaving little pinches and scratches. But that was the end of her nursing. A hospitalizing case of food poisoning and a short bout of depression made me lose interest and she was done before her fourth month or so. I mourned a while, never really appreciating the health benefits or the connections we shared during those feedings. I blame hormones and an ill-cooked turkey.
Sam and I had a rough start together. His tongue was short and I felt like I couldn’t get him to do it “right” no matter the advice I took or the patience I mustered. My nipples hurt for two weeks straight and I cried a lot. Pain and hormones. But he got it. And I nursed him in public with more confidence than I had with Cadence. Jed was eager to be a part of the feedings and Sam happily accepted bottles of pumped breast milk from him starting around the end of his first month. More hungry dinosaur noises. Lots of gas. And reflux. But we forged on and he only became bored with the breast around month seven. And by that time I was enjoying only one feeding in the evenings before bed. I was so much more appreciative of the natural food source and built-in pacifier I carried with me at all times I wore my nursing bras under things well past his month eight, although he had become completely disinterested in nursing by then. I had wanted to nurse for a year.
And now I have Annie. My first boobie-baby. I love the smile she flashes up at me when I look down at her, milk spilling from the corners of her pink bow-shaped mouth. And this is how I know I am done having children. When I completely ignore all the advice the books and websites give about pacifying a baby with the breast and pull out “leftie” at the dinner table just to have a sorta quiet (albeit one handed) meal. And how I pull her close to me in the middle of the night when I hear her lips smacking for just a little suck even though I know she’s not hungry. I cry a little to myself each time I pick her up and lift her growing body in my arms and up to my chest. She is too long for me to nurse her in the armed chair and still too small for that huge and empty crib in the other room. I know she is the last child because I don’t feel as sad or frustrated when she refuses bottle after bottle and holds out for me. The reason I’ve been gone so long from the blog is that I find it takes so much longer to type with only one hand. But she’s the last, so I will not take for granted any second she will have me hold her and feed her with my body.
Just please link me to that video of the ten year old girl with the British accent still being nursed by her mum whenever she pleases if I haven’t weaned Annie by kindergarten. Thanks and I’ll be back as soon as I can.