If You Don't Like the Weather
Mind if I talk about my boobs for a sec? Thanks.
All told, breastfeeding has been a great experience for us. Wombat took to it easily and, after those first few days of wincing not just as he latched on but whenever I ventured to think about him latching on, so did I. It worked the way everyone tells you it's supposed to, which, I have to admit came as a total shock because, ripe and raw with secondhand horror stories, I was just sure I'd be one among the vocal thousands whose boobs and/or baby didn't work for one reason or another or maybe all of the reasons put together.
But it worked. I fed, he ate, the end.
Everyone talks about what a beautiful bonding experience nursing is and although, yes, there is something wonderful and empowering about watching one's body do such astounding things (I'm feeding someone! with my boob! am superhero!), it really isn't about the How but the Who and the What. I'm sure that bottle-feeding/-fed parents/children bond in similar ways just due to the nature of the process: nestling in together for a warm snack; what's not to fall in love with?
(I just realized that "nestle" is spelled the same as Nestlé, as in a top producer of infant formula. Thought they'd fool us with that accent ague, did they? Well...almost.)
Anyhoo, as concerns the claim that food = boob = mommy = bonding, I don't even think Wombat understands my relationship to the boobs. I always seem to be around when they are, but that's probably just coincidence, right? I guess I just can't help but think that if he actually got the whole boobs=mommy thing he'd show more enthusiasm over my presence, or at least as much enthusiasm as he shows over Simon's. I provide his life-giving sustenance, for pete's sake; surely that deserves as much love and respect and full-bodied glee as his father's ability to make funny faces. These days Daddy is teh awesome and Mommy is...yep, still there, right where you left her. (Then again, I'm a fool if I expected parenthood to come with a sidecar of gratitude, right?)
Now that we've started feeding Wombat "solids" (see also: non-solid gruel), feeding is definitely less about me and mine, which is both a blessing and a curse. On the happy-face side, I don't have suckle an angry wildebeast at tapped-out tap every evening; I can plop him down in his bouncer and shovel dribbly oatmeal into his shriek-hole and everyone's happy so long as there are no pauses between bites. On the sad-face side, though, he seems to want boob less these days--meaning the last two days, which, I KNOW, overreact much?, wait five minutes and the weather will change, platitude, platitude, blah, but hear me out because this isn't what you think it's about.
For once, this is not about my emotions.(!!) I'm not feeling sad that he's rejecting me or growing too old to nurse or anything like that. It's that when he doesn't feed, my chest hurts. Not my heart, my chest. These last two days I've been engorged like a newbie, and no matter what I do, Wombat doesn't seem to want to help a sister out. (How dare he think that breastfeeding is about HIM, right?)
All the books and websites say ominous things like "the start of solid foods usually marks the end of breastfeeding" (subtext: *tsk tsk* if you introduce rice cereal before six months), but now that we have the pediatrician's a.o.k. to continue with the rice cereal (and baby oatmeal and mixed-grain mush, and then fruits and veggies and double bacon cheeseburgers, oh my!), there's no going back to a diet of strictly milk. It was awesome while it lasted (breastfeeding, if it works right, is stupidly convenient; having baby food literally on (or actually in) your person at all times means one less thing to forget to pack in the diaper bag, and one less pain in the ass in the wee hours when you'd rather be sleeping), but if this is the beginning of the end, so be it. Just...can we do it without turning my barely-Bs into rock-hard DDs in the process?
While I was pregnant, I never noticed that big of a difference in my chest size--I wore my regular bras for the duration, although with a band extender to account for the rib spreading--so it wasn't until I woke up with big juicy (organic!) melons three days postpartum that I knew what all the fuss was about. And boy did I ever fuss! But then I waited five minutes and the weather changed and my kid started to really feed and my boobs were no longer of cartoon proportions and all was well throughout the land. And there was much rejoicing. (Huzzah!) Granted, once Wombat started sleeping for eight-hour stretches, I'd still wake up looking like R. Crumb's fantasy babe, but even that was small beans compared to this: a boob strike. All day today it's been two sucks and then he turns away to look at that thing! over there! the thing making noise! the thing that looks like Daddy! oh, it is Daddy! Hi, Daddy! *smile smile smile* And then two more sucks until a cat click-clacks across the tile or gangsta boom car rumbles by or a butterfly flaps its wings in a rainforest in Tibet. Two sucks + two sucks does not a meal make, my little friend.
I was led to believe that my milk supply would regulate after a few months and I wouldn't have the engorged/leaking/engorged/leaking/engorged/leaking problem of the early months, but I don't think this is what they meant. It seems my supply has indeed regulated, but it's regulated at Level: Army, meaning I could feed an entire army with these
puppies dawgs. My cups runneth over and the baby's all "but I don't want to eat from a 'cup,' I want to eat from a spooooooooon!" What to do? Pump for sweet relief and hope the strike is temporary? Tell Wombat that he can't go out to play until he cleans his dinner plate? Send photos to Playboy for their kind consideration? Or just wait five minutes for the weather to change?
(Subtext: Heat wave is over. Woke up to foggy skies and misty air. Wore a sweater inside the house. Self to self: Told you so!)Previous Next