For all the classes offered and books written, I really think breastfeeding is one of those things that you can’t fully understand until you’re doing it. It seems like it would be as simple as “baby on boob” but there is actually so much more to it.
Now that I’ve been breastfeeding for five months, I can see that there are many different stages to breastfeeding. And I’m sure there are many more to come in the months that follow!
Here is what I’ve experienced so far…
The Newborn Days:
It starts out painful – cracked nipples, engorged breasts, milk spraying everywhere. You are confused and have no idea if your baby is getting milk or how long feedings should last. Your hormones are out of control, and you sob and fawn all over your baby while gazing lovingly at him while he eats.
You look forward to feeding times so that you can escape for alone time just you and baby. You never knew you could feel so bonded to something, and you can’t believe you are able to nourish him with just your body. You spend half your day in your nursing spot, armed with cell phone, water bottle, and all the baby reading material you can get your hands on.
We’ve got the hang of this now, me and baby. Long gone are the days of endless hours in the glider, and now we’re in and out with about ten minutes on each side. My little newborn is all grown up, and while he eats he looks up at my with his big blue eyes. Occassionally he stops to burst into a big gummy smile. My heart melts.
We’re more comfortable nursing on the go these days — sometimes in the back of the car, corner of a restaurant, or even in the window seat of an airplane. My little man still likes to nurse and nap, and often falls asleep on the boob once his tummy is full.
Nursing has become an athletic event of harnessing flailing limbs, watching out for pinching fingers, and keeping baby latched on despite distractions. Even the slightest noises will cause his head to whip around quickly – often with my nipple along for the ride. Ouch! We have to seek out quiet spots these days, and it’s much harder to nurse wherever and whenever.
The feedings have spaced to three hours apart now, and only take about ten minutes each, which makes nursing a much less significant portion of our day. It’s nice to be able to head out for a few hours and know that he’ll stay full and happy!
Now if I could only get him to start taking a bottle again…