As I tap this one-handed on my phone, I’m nap trapped. My toddler has fallen asleep breastfeeding, leaving me unable to put away all the kids’ new toys, go through unopened mail, unpack our suitcases or do any of the other things on my list. But I am not complaining. Today, I’m happy for this boob nap.
Kiwi rarely falls asleep on me these days. And on the occasions she does, I can’t let her snooze on me. I don’t have that flexibility; I have a preschooler.
But Peeper went down to Eugene with her dad to pick up our dog, so for today I am mom of only one kid. And that “only child” has a doozy of a cold. So it’s really not that shocking she fell asleep at the breast—and why I let her keep sleeping on me, boob nap style.
Second child mommy guilt
Moms of two kids, I’m sure you feel me here: I often feel guilty that I’m not able to give one-on-one attention to my second-born.
With Peeper, I stared at her eyes flick this way and that under her eyelids as she slept. I wondered about her future as her tiny body rose and fell with each breath. I let hours go by while she napped on me.
With Kiwi, though, I tried to put her down as soon as I could. I rushed back to Peeper, hoping she hadn’t taken scissors to her hats or colored a giant heart on the wall again.
As the second child, Kiwi has only known sharing me with her big sister.
There are benefits to that, of course: In theory, Kiwi will become patient and independent. But sometimes I wish she could enjoy having a mom with nothing else to do than watch her as she sleeps.
A boob nap gives comfort and so much more
So here I sit, listening to Kiwi’s snotty snores. She nursed herself to sleep because breastfeeding is about the only thing that makes her feel better.
Kiwi is our last baby. She’s of course not a baby anymore; she’ll be 18 months in a few weeks. She probably won’t breastfeed much longer and once she’s done, I will never again have this kind of closeness.
Breastfeeding will be replaced with other ways of bonding, but none of them has the same kind of direct comfort.
Breastfeeding takes a part of me—milk my body made specially for my child at this moment, customized to her nutritional and health needs. I am literally giving myself to comfort and nourish her. She will know no love this direct until she breastfeeds her own baby, should she have kids and choose to nurse. There is nothing like this.
A prescription for me, too
By now my leg is asleep and I have to pee. But I can’t bear to wake Kiwi. I’ll let her rest as long as she’s able.
I’m grateful that she is comfortable enough to sleep—that’ll help her fight this bug. She occasionally swallows, too, so she’s also getting antibodies and sickness-fighting support from my milk.
What am I getting? I’m getting the closeness I crave, the rest I need and memories I’ll draw on when Kiwi is grown (and weaned).
Today, a boob nap is just what the doctor ordered—for her and for me.