Things about Breastfeeding

  • I knew that breastmilk is differently flavored depending on what the lactating lady eats, and that breastfed kids are supposed to be more adventurous eaters for that reason, and that of course the milk must be made of whatever I eat—but have been surprised to find that one day my milk smells kind of like tacos, and other day that it smells like split-pea soup. I am also surprised by how embarrassed I am to smell like taco milk. Oh, well.
  • The last time I left Joey home with his dad for a few hours, I relented and busted out the easy-peasy bottles someone gave us (Advent? Avent? Something), and that went over much better than the Breastflow one—and he still prefers to nurse by a mile, so I don’t have to worry about them.
  • My  mom worked as a lactation consultant for several years while I was in school before going back to school herself, and I was pretty clear on the advantages of breastfeeding long before I needed to be. At the same time, I never had occasion to hear that adoptive breastfeeding was this controversial thing, so when Ruth told me very cautiously that she hoped to breastfeed, I was uncomplicatedly delighted. She didn’t end up going ahead with the protocols, but I remember how surprised and relieved she and Nora seemed when I gave them my blessing.
  • There’s an internet group of parents I belong to, and whenever someone says something like “Now that he’s three months old, he’s gotten all the benefits of breastfeeding and we’re going to switch to formula,” a swarm of well-meaning lactivists try to talk them out of it. There are plenty of good reasons to keep nursing much longer than that, but I’ve never been comfortable telling another woman what she should do with her body unless asked, you know?
  • Sometimes while I’m nursing Joey, he’ll put his feet up to my lips so I can kiss his toes.
  • I can’t imagine stopping nursing. I don’t really understand stopping at three months, unless of course you’re needing to go back to work or otherwise be separated a lot—I feel like the hard part (which for me was mercifully brief) is behind me, and now breastfeeding is infinitely easier than bottle feeding would be. Guess that means I should keep doing it.
  • My mom told me that breastfeeding would feel bad for awhile, and then after awhile it would start to feel good—it felt bad for a week very early on and only for a week, thank heaven, but it doesn’t feel good—it feels like kneading dough, or opening a drawer.
  • Since seeing Joey (and seeing Joey nurse), Cricket has been talking about breastfeeding, Ruth reports. “I drank milk from your tummy,” he says to her. No, she says, you drank milk from Susie’s nipples for one day, and then you drank from a bottle with your mama. “I drank from a cup!” When you were little, you drank from a bottle. “…I drank milk from your tummy!” etc.
  • I looked into donating milk, but for the only milk bank accepting donations around here, I would have to pay for a blood test—so that’s out. Just as well; they probably don’t want taco milk.
  • Based on the noises he makes while nursing, Mr. Book calls the baby “Mr. Snerks.”
  • I’m trying to figure out whether I can nurse in front of my brother-in-law’s parents or whether I should sneak out of the room. Honestly, while my sister says she doesn’t think it will be a problem, I think it would be more polite for me to leave; they are conservative people, and Joey likes to pop off and stare at me. I don’t care whether the public sees my nipple once in awhile, it turns out, but I don’t want to make things weird for people who will be a biggish part of my sister’s life, you know? Still not entirely decided on this one.