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.

14 thoughts on “Things about Breastfeeding

  1. Love the nursing update!

    It’s such a consuming experience, merits reflection.

    I never worried at all about other people’s comfort (but I think that’s both personal preference & my making a political statement?). You’ll know what works.

    Saskia ended up with milk from four people, through a friend, twice, through my pediatrician, twice (nothing tested, so appreciated). Maybe you’ll happen upon someone in need & maybe you won’t.

  2. I used to stay in the room but turn a chair a bit – I could turn my head and still be part of the conversation, but in-laws would have had to work hard to see the nipple. Sometimes it was nice to have an excuse to leave the room, though.

  3. I loved nursing. Grieving the getting and staying pregnant part was much easier than letting go of nursing. Originally I wanted to do adoptive breastfeeding and got a pump and all that but then we had a match/unmatch and I realized that the preparation was making me feel overly possessive of the baby and I felt like that wasn’t good for any of us so I stopped. It just felt too FRAUGHT to me and then when Madison arrived even more so. But I am sorry that she didn’t get more breastmilk (she got a donated bottle from a friend once) because that’s some good stuff whether it smells like tacos or not!!!!!!

    Anyway, I nursed Noah for 4.5 years and while I didn’t love every minute of it (nursing a toddler in the middle of summer can stretch one’s patience) it is one parenting decision that I’ve never felt ambivalent about. Since bottlefeeding Madison I don’t feel as urgent about being a lactivist as I used to but I am glad that nursing ended up sort of creating the way I would mother and influenced the way I parented Madison, all to the good in my opinion.

    • I cannot decide on how long I’m willing to nurse. My firm pre-Joey plan was to wean at one year, but now I can imagine going much longer.

  4. If you continue to post about kissing baby feet while nursing, I will be in danger of having another baby. What great days those are 🙂

  5. Breastfeeding is best, hands down. It’s great you and Joey enjoy it. Do it as long as you like! People who are judgmental have no clue. I live in the Bay Area, where people routinely nurse until kids are three and four. I think it’s a wonderful part of a mother-child relationship, and it makes me sad at work when new moms won’t even try. I don’t guilt them into it, because it’s a personal choice, of course, and isn’t always easy for people. Still, advocate, advocate, advocate! Maybe you’ll be a lactation consultant one day. 😉

  6. This post made me miss nursing! And it is oddly the second one I’ve read today (the other over at Production, Not Reproduction-an old one) that mentions adoptive nursing. I nursed my youngest, who is adopted, and honestly it was the most enjoyable nursing experience I had with any of my kids. With my other two (who are bio kids), I was bent on nursing at any cost, and I had all kinds of problems with both of them-bad latch, extreme soreness and pain, clogged ducts , supply problems, you name it! I am still glad I stuck with it, but both times took a lot out of me. With my little guy I decided to try to induce lactation, not really expecting it to work considering my past experience. To my surprise it did work, and I was able to nurse him for four “meals” of his day. The rest of the time he had organic formula. I nursed him from the day he was born. He had a great latch and because he wasn’t nursing 24/7 like my other two, I wasn’t sore. It was the best experience where I expected it the least! Who knew? Adoptive nursing is NOT common around here, and some people looked at me like I had three heads when I told them. Mostly I didn’t mention that I was doing it except to good friends. He always drank bottles when we were out anyway, so it just didn’t come up. I am so glad to hear other people talking about it and even encouraging it. It was a great experience for us.

  7. Aww I’m so glad you’re having a good experience with breastfeeding. I just about melted to read about you kissing Joey’s little toes. And the nickname Mr. Snerks is hilarious.

  8. Love this post — the toe-kissing is just so sweet! If you are interested in donating, have you heard about MilkShare? It’s mom-to-mom donation and I know I’ve heard of recipient moms paying for the donor mom’s blood test if they want that done.

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