8:43 am

August 6, 2014 at 4:27 pm (Family, Parenthood, WJ) ()

Republished in honor of World Breastfeeding Week

A Breastfeeding Story
(with plenty of other trivialities mixed in)

The three older children have just left.  I am rain-drenched from going outside in a T-shirt and yesterday’s flats to help load them and their three carseats and three backpacks and buckle them in.  No, scratch that.  I watched my friend buckle them in her car while I distracted her by asking questions about her weekend.

My bi-weekly gift of three hours alone with four months-old Willa has begun.  First, pick her up and ask her what we should do first. 

Coffee, she says!  I pour a cup of the pot Mark brewed at 5am and set the microwave for 44 seconds.  I am no coffee snob.  What to do while we wait… (because I am so neurotic about efficiency I couldn’t possibly just stand there and talk to Willa- which is how I end up completely scatter-brained and inefficient)… laundry! 

Move clothes into the dryer, taking care not to drop them in the cat’s water dish like I always do.  Put muddy clothes from Saturday’s rainy park outings into soak.  Notice Willa in her bouncy seat is chowing down on her hand.

Yo ho, are you ready for a nap already?  Clearly you are hungry, but are you tired also?  Not so much looking like it, but let’s try for it anyway.  Mama’s got things to do.  Three hours, three hours!

Go upstairs.   Hmm, the bed is stripped.  Because, like I always do, I left Willa naked there this morning, thinking I’m sure she won’t pee this time.  And like she always does (and every other baby, and I know this and choose to ignore), she peed.  Find some baby blankets, and we lay down.  Oh, and find my cell phone.

It’s a source of pleasure and guilt.  I often (okay, usually) put Willa down with my cell as amusement.  Check email, check Facebook, check blog reader.  A triplet of websites each time.  It makes nursing even more enjoyable.  What’s not to love about lying in my comfy bed, with a warm cuddly baby, reading amusing anecdotes?  And if I can hear Mark outside the bedroom taking care of a screaming three-year old and It just took a little longer than usual to get Willa down, honey, well, so be it.  (We’ll see if he gets around to reading this post.)  I do worry I’m making Willa believe she’s not worthy of my attention, though.  Like I should stare at her beautiful baby face and sing her to sleep every time, not just sometimes.  My own little Mommy-guilt dilemma that I bash myself with multiple times a day.  I know I’m a nutball, I know.

We lay* down.  I twist her to her side.  She grins at me.

I’ve always been a big side-lying nurser.  I like it for being able to leave without disturbing the baby after she falls asleep.  I know moms that never master it, which I cannot fathom.  It’s so useful.  Try it, really, you’ll like it.  (Disclaimer:  You do not?  Okay, do what you like!  I’m not saying not side-lying nursing makes you a bad mother.  Or not nursing at all!  Or not having children at all!  Though if you don’t, you probably stopped at the words A Breastfeeding Story.  Okay then.)  And it’s easier on your wrists/arms.

She whimpers in her sweet Willa way as I adjust pillows and shirts and blankets.  Letting me know she truly is hungry.  Good, we’ve timed it right.  She’s not full-on crying, so I also know she’s not starving.

She latches on easily, begins gulping.  Greta asked me the other day why Willa sounds like a pig when she nurses.  I suppose she does, a little.  At least she sounds like what I imagine pigs to sound like, because I can’t say I’ve spent much time among real live ones.

I launch Google Reader.  The light from the phone draws Willa’s attention.  I move a pillow between it and her face.

Her left arm flails around until it finds my right thumb.  The (second) connection Willa-required for nursing and sleep.  Her grasp seems to me a loving hug.  I need you, Mama.  Not just for food but for tender touch.  I am happy to lose my texting thumb to her.

Her eyes close quickly.  I have always loved the early morning nap that babies seem to take just after breakfast.  Sleep seems to come easily at 9am, and not always so easily at 2pm for that afternoon nap.  Time passes.  A belly fills, a social media fix sated.  A content smile on two faces.  Or perhaps mine is more an amused smile, and hers a content smile, or as much of one as a nursing baby can manage with a nipple in her mouth.

Time to get up and work around the house spend too much time writing a blog entry.  I let her hand go, and it does not flail.  A sure sign she is asleep.  I release my breast from the gentle sucking she has continued.  Ease her to her back.  Her hand immediately and desperately searches her face.  Thumb finds mouth, mouth sucks vigorously.  Fingers fan above.  The sucking quickly slows.  She is fully asleep.

I tiptoe downstairs, remembering my cold coffee still in the microwave, in love with my baby Willa Apple Merigold.

20140806-093055-34255163.jpgthe only side-lying nursing photo I have, six years pre-Willa

*lay/lie? Enlighten me if you know!


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