June 18, 2010
Makin' with the Milks
Of course, they're more useful now. Never mind that it took me six months of constant searching to find a supportive nursing bra that I didn't have to get custom made, or otherwise altered. Never mind that my breasts enter the room four or five minutes before the rest of me, never mind all of that. They're doing an important job. And I am beginning to wonder about when that important job will end.
I'm not considering weaning as a purely pain related issue. Frankly, I'm not sure SI (who used to be a FIERCE biter) even registers that she could nibble me anymore. DD might figure out that she can get a funny reaction out of it, but they know what boobs are for and it isn't biting. No, I'm not too terrified of the teeth. Only terrified enough.
What seems almost pre-arranged is that the girls are essentially weaning themselves as they cut their teeth. They only nurse two or three times a day now, mostly if they're sleepy and want to wind down for a nap. They get three solid meals, as many as two of what we call "booby snacks," before a snooze, and then their bedtime eating routine. They don't want bottles before bed, nursing until they're all sleepy is all it's about, not another real meal. They decided they were ready to move on from their previous diet, and their mouths corresponded.
I love nursing. I never expected to say that. It was hard to get started, really freakin' hard. There are a lot of women out there who were born to nurse, but I am not one of them. For one thing, my mother had a hormonal imbalance that made her let-down EXTREMELY painful. For another, (and I can't believe I'm actually putting this out there,) I have one semi-inverted nipple. I fully expected an nearly impossible latching situation. Amazingly, the thing stayed popped out the right way from the get go, but not nearly as much so as its counterpart. And preemies aren't so good at latching or sucking so that breast was a bit of an issue. Even if they have the skills they tire very easily, and if they tire before they get to eat they fail to thrive. I fully accepted the idea of supplementing with bottles early, it was unavoidable.
It's a little like falling in love, a couple times a day.
Sometimes, it's just a pain in the ass. Sometimes, it's another thing I have to do that keeps me from doing the things I need to do. Sometimes, the girls don't cooperate and there's screaming and there's tears and I am helpless furniture.
I'm also getting very good at repeating the motherly phrases, "Don't hit your sister," and "Eyes are not for grabbing."
I'm pretty sure I'm going to miss nursing when it's all over. I'm just as sure I'll be relieved- freed to return to tight and complicated clothing and nights out. But I understand the women who keep up nursing into the second year and beyond. The girls and I are both so calmed, so comforted by just getting that warm, snuggly skin-on-skin time together. It's a beautiful thing, nursing your babies. It's not exactly an essential thing, it's not something that works for everyone, but it is an awfully nice thing.
They're not little babies anymore. They're big babies. And soon they'll be children, and I'll find another lovely thing to do with them that makes us all happy and calm before bed. We'll read bedtime stories together, sing our lullabies together, get tucked in and kissed goodnight... But for now? Nursing is still awfully nice. Because breasts are amazing.