Monday, August 6, 2007

My Venture into Cultural Breastfeeding

For the first two months of Peter's life, I read several books a week. I'd tuck away with a novel each time he nursed, encouraging his frequent and long-duration suckling. It was a time in my life that I knew I'd never see again: only one child needing my attention and a cleared calendar to boot. I was going to make the most of it.

I joked with friends that books were "how I got out of the house." Except that it wasn't a joke. Books were the only way I got out of the house. Eventually cabin fever set in, and I rejoined society.

This produced a dilemma. I was petrified to nurse in public. Oh, I could nurse in public in theory, I could nurse at a La Leche League meeting, but what about playgroup? What about restaurants? I decided that Peter needed a feeding schedule, to spare me the mortification of being "that mother who is always feeding her baby."

For two months, I pushed Peter to spread his feedings at least three hours. I avoided comfort feeding. And boy did we use that pacifier! I look at our pictures from those months, and he's plugged up in every one.

While this allowed me to visit the zoo without whipping out my boob, it also meant that of every three hours, I'd spend at least one of them bouncing, rocking, and otherwise consoling a cranky baby. It never occurred to me that he might be thirsty and want that thin foremilk, or that my boobs might lack the capacity to store 3 hours worth of milk. Other babies went three hours between feedings-- and, by, golly, Peter was too.

Here we were-- doesn't this look fun?
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kristen said...

That looks SO FUN.

greasy joan said...

How un-YOU-like! What an independent little guy!

My child who loved the schedule is the most headstrong of the bunch.