Friday, February 6, 2009


This post might not appeal to those of you without kids, those of you who have kids and primarily used formula, or those of you who are male (so I've successfully just alienated basically my entire reader base. Humor me and keep going). But I want to take a minute to talk about nursing.

NURSING, I said. Not "breastfeeding," the verb that Vee once prepared to alarm the masses with when my supply was slowing and he felt that everyone needed to know why I had to stay home with Kiddokabiddo. Y'all don't want to deal with the fact that my baby is feeding on my breast; ok, I understand. No one says "feeding" anyway unless you're talking about animals on a farm. I don't really like the verb "nursing" because I am not an RN, but that's cool.

Anyway. Nursing. My baby. She's 8 months old now, and has been eating solids pretty consistently for two months. My littleby! Solids, for you non-parents, are the gateway drug to the end of our nursing. Kiddo starts getting her nutrients from the jars of garbanzo beans, yams, and avocado that we stock up, and she stops wanting to nurse the nutrient-rich milk from me. It's called "becoming a big girl," and I know it's a good thing. But it makes me sad.

The Kiddo and I have had a tumultuous relationship with our nursing. Not as bad as some of the stories I've heard (we haven't dealt with mastitis or thrush), but I had to pump, exclusively, for the first nine weeks of her life because she had trouble staying latched on. Nine weeks, you guys. That meant I was retiring to a room to sit with some machine squishing me for 30 minutes straight. Every 3 hours. Day or night. Setting my alarm clock to get up and pump.

And then, while I was getting squished, Vee was feeding the Kiddo with a hollow syringe (no needle; more like a medicine dropper) and having her suck his finger. Milliliter by milliliter.

But the Kiddo and I practiced every day, and as she got bigger and stronger, we retired the stupid syringe and she nursed with me full-time. Well, mostly. I still pump at night and in the morning so Vee can take care of putting her to sleep and getting her up. But I am so proud of how far we've come--eight months, and my little Kabiddo is still nursing with Mom. Successfully.

Why nursing? Because it's cheap (free), healthiest for my little smallby, and because I love our buddy time. I love our close time together that no one else can share.

I seriously used to roll my eyes at all the pungent sap of "you'll feel this way when you're a parent" and was like dude, stop trying to tell me how to feel, yo. But neither Vee or I can get through reading "Love You Forever" to the Kiddo without tearing up. TEARING UP! To the point where I have to read the last two pages in a whisper or my voice is going to crack--and if Kiddokabiddo looks up at me, like a crazy woman I assure her "Mama's ok, mama's ok" while wiping AWAY MY TEARS and trying to smile to show her IT'S OK. DUDES, IT'S EMOTIONAL WHEN THE DAD COMES HOME AND STANDS AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS BEFORE SINGING TO HIS OWN DAUGHTER! TRY READING IT NOW THAT YOU'RE AN ADULT!

Anyway, I freaked out because my normal pump sessions yesterday didn't yield hardly anything. I freaked out because I'M NOT READY TO BE DONE and I DON'T WANT TO MOVE OVER TO FORMULA. The Kiddo's not ready for cow's milk yet, and I want her to keep getting mom milk, not formula. Luckily, the issue resolved itself when I nursed her instead of pumping, but it made me realize that, at some point, whether it's in four months or in another two years, my Kiddo is going to be done nursing. She's not going to NEED me in THAT WAY any more.

So this blog is my thank you to nursing. Thank you to all the moms who've gone before me and whose advice I read on all the forums and the boards I snuck on, the moms who I hungrily listened to at La Leche League meetings, and all the chapters in the books that are dog-eared from all my referencing. We're not done yet, but I am so grateful for the time together we've had nursing, not formula-ing.


grammagoose said...

You're welcome - :-)

Rando said...

To clarify for those not familiar with baby feeding: she sucked on my finger so that we could simulate real eating even though the milk was being funneled in by the syringe in the corner of her mouth.

Also, breastfeeding IS less expensive than formula but WHATEVER... the real value of breastfeeding is not its cost-efficiency but your emotional bond and the immune system/nutrient benefits.

Shawn said...

YES! I work in an organization full of community health promoters (who are mostly all moms themselves) and they are huge advocates for breast feeding for all the reasons mentioned. Between your manifestos on cloth diapers and "nursing" you are a pretty radical mama!