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.
I was holding back tears in the airport restroom so, yeah, I suppose I looked as if I needed a friend.
The lady at the sink next to me smiled. “That’s liquid gold,” she said, nodding to the still-warm bottles of milk I had just pumped. “Don’t lose it!”
I tried to smile back as I tipped the bottles and watched the milk swirl down the drain. She looked aghast—and I felt like I was going to throw up. It was the first time I had to pump and dump in my almost three years of breastfeeding my two kids, and it felt awful.
I hadn’t been drinking in the airport (though on second thought, maybe I should have been.) I explained to the woman next to me that I’m traveling for work, and I decided not to save the milk I pump.
The other morning I was sitting on the floor, playing with Kiwi. I snuggled in close to her, ruffling her downy hair with my nose.
“I love you,” I whispered.
Then I looked up at Peeper, who was drinking milk at the table.
“Psst,” I started. She looked at me. “I love you.”
Peeper set her glass down.
“Now can I have a popsicle?”
And that’s how I know the value of my love: It is preschooler leverage to get dessert.
Back before I had Peeper, I felt ambivalent about breastfeeding. I resented the fact that people assumed I would breastfeed my baby (what if I wanted to use formula instead?), and I didn’t have a goal of nursing her for a certain stretch of time.
Two babies, two years and uncountable challenges later, I have a totally different perspective:
I love nursing my baby.
Here’s why I love breastfeeding—in spite of our troubles nursing.
Kiwi is powered by breastmilk.
She rolls, she giggles, she kicks, she chews on anything she can get her gummy mouth on.
She has dimpled cheeks and rolls on her thighs.
She watches her sister play, stares out the car window on drives, listens to books and turns toward any sound to figure out precisely what made that noise.
Up until last week, when Kiwi tried her first food, all that growth, activity, curiosity and learning was 100% fueled by breastmilk—magical, powerful, nourishing breastmilk. Read more
As my husband observed, being a mom means taking care of everyone else while you’re sick.
After all, when moms get sick, they still have to be moms.
Last week, I caught the flu or norovirus or plague. On the first night, I finished puking my guts out, fed Edie and then went back to hugging the toilet. That cycle repeated itself for her five wakings. Later in the day when I couldn’t get her down for a nap (just try to bounce a 14 ½-pound baby to sleep when your insides are like a Tilt-a-Whirl) I lugged her and her car seat, along with our dog whose ear infection was so bad it ruptured his ear drum, down to the car in the hopes that driving around would end her nap strike. (No dice.)
Yeah, it was a fun week.
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A dozen times a day, Edie pulled off my breast, screaming. She was going hungry. Again.
A lactation nurse confirmed my suspicion that my milk supply had dropped, and Edith had gained almost no weight in two weeks. I was devastated. And I didn’t know how to increase my milk supply.
Over the next weeks I did whatever I could to make more breastmilk.
I’m happy and grateful to be able to say that my milk is back! Read more