Monday, October 6, 2014

These are the Moments

I'm at a significant point in my breastfeeding adventure. I've been breastfeeding Boo for 18 months and I'm 14 weeks pregnant with #2. While I plan to continue nursing Boo for the foreseeable future, I do know that anything can happen at this point, so I'm doing my best to savor our nursing moments today as well as memories we've made over the past year and a half. There have been some doozies!

Dumb and Dumber Moment

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I'm almost too embarrassed to include this in the list. In the early days I struggled with over-supply. My breasts were engorged, hard lumps began forming, and I developed mastitis. I applied warm compresses (warm water poured into newborn diapers worked amazingly well!) and massage. I also pumped a bit to relieve pressure before Boo nursed so the poor thing wouldn't sputter and choke on the fast letdown. After each nursing session I took that pumped milk...and poured it down the drain. I know, I know. If I could go back in time I would smack my sleep-deprived, bleary-eyed face. The thing is, I had pumped colostrum at the hospital that I wasn't using and had to toss. What was I supposed to do with all this breast milk anyway?

Fortunately I had sweet friends who quickly informed me what an idiot was. I made a run to Babies R Us and picked up some freezer bags for my milk. I never made the same mistake again.

Apocalyptic Moment

In the early days I don't think there was a single 90 minute nursing session that went by where I didn't feel like my nipples were being sawed off, cauterized, then stuck back on with Krazy Glue. Yet there's one moment that sticks out. It was probably about 8 am, though I had lost all sense of time with the 24/7 nursing thing I had going on. I was sitting in my glider with my sweet newborn bracing myself for another painful latch. Teeth gritted, tears streaming down my face, I brought her to my breast. And I howled in agony, unknowingly in solidarity with other moms. Somehow I freed one hand (how that happened God only knows) to grab my phone and called my mommy. "Hey mom." Trying to play it cool. "What are you...sniff...up to?" The wobble in my voice betrayed me. All it took was a "Honey, are you okay?" and I was reduced to a blubbery, wailing, pitiful mess.

Fortunately I have an awesome mom who came right over with a hot breakfast and some grandma love so I could crawl into bed slathered with nipple butter. Ahhhhhhhhhh....

Merida Moment

My first time nursing in public was at a Panera down the street. I busted out the cover, peeked through the constantly collapsing top to try and get baby in position, and began to nurse like a champ. It didn't feel remarkable though. The place was buzzing with middle and high school students just out of school. The chaotic din made me feel inconspicuous so it didn't feel like a breakthrough moment. One that did, though, was the day I figured out how to nurse while I was wearing Boo at the grocery store. I felt brave and invincible, like, "Haha everyone in the grocery store, my boob is out and you don't even know it!" 


All the Moments

The funny thing is that while a few of these memories stick out in my head, most of them blur into each other so that my breastfeeding journey is made up of impressions and feelings rather than distinct happenings marked on a calendar. The late nights with my sweet girl where her smell and warmth filled the silence. The nursing mannerisms she's adopted as a toddler, like standing with her bottom in the air as she chooses which side she wants this time. The way she attacks my breast with gusto that causes my family to laugh hysterically every time.

One great thing about the next baby is it's like having a do-over. Of course I know it will be different and this baby will have different needs. But I get a second chance at not being stupid and dumping out liquid gold. I get a second chance at knowing how it feels to have a tiny human nestled in my arms day and night. I get a chance to experience a new set of missteps and discomfort that will inevitably fade into success, until one day while nursing I'll think to myself, "Hm, this is so easy! When did that happen?"

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