June 18, 2010

Makin' with the Milks

Breasts are pretty awesome.  They're warm and snuggly, they're pleasantly roundish, and they make food.  Past that, they're pretty fun in other ways.  I'm very pro-breast.  As a sort of thick Jewish girl, I've had breasts for a long time.  Big ones.  Before my pregnancy, I'd been holding steady for about eight years at a 34G.  I would wander through lingerie sections snorting- those measly C cups!  Those adorably petite DDs!  Then of course, I had to go and procreate, and now?  Boobs of doom.  Yes, doom.  Did you know bras only seem to go up to a double O?

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.

You see, my children are growing teeth.  Those adorable toothless grins haven't changed much- YET- but those teeth are visible.  Pretty soon those teeth are going to be more than adorable little pearly spots, they're going to be vicious tools of destruction.

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.

Getting started breast feeding was hard.  It involved a lot of crying, a lot of disappointment, and a lot of anger.  Nothing has ever made me angrier than being post-partum.  But we finally got the hang of it a few months in.  And it's wonderful.  Not just because the girls are big and I credit their diet, not only because I know they're getting the best food they possibly can, and it's not because we're saving a fortune on baby formula.  A few times a day, I get the opportunity to just sit and hold my babies, to play with them a little, to soothe them, and to generally feel like we're the only people on earth.

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.

I found that goals helped keep me going.  When I started, my goal was to nurse for six months.  When that turned up, I decided to aim for a full year.  I'm halfway there, and I think at this point I'm going to let them wean themselves.  There are days that they don't nurse at all before bed, that pre-nap nursing session is purely a sedative.  I don't know that I'll ever have to really work on weaning, they're so cooperative most of the time, but it's coming.  Three teeth between two babies, two to three booby snacks a day...

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.


  1. I have flat nipples that River can't latch onto.. the nurse at the hospital was my hero when she brought me a nipple shield! I'm glad your babies latch well!!! My boobies are my super power!

  2. She's wee yet. In a month or so, she'll be fine without them. Mark my word- suction is a power not to be reckoned with.

  3. I'm right there with ya! Right.There.

  4. Breasts are amazing! At all sizes - I have over-G. I self-weaned at 1 year and breastfed over 2 years; you'll know what your babies want.

  5. I was hoping to make it to a year with my twins but that came so fast. Now at 18 months there is no sign of the end. I want to let them self wean. In the beginning there were many tears. Getting started was definitely the hardest thing I've ever done without a doubt. Love it now though. I knew it would be worth it.

  6. Enjoy nursing them while you still can!!! My one twin weaned himself at a year, wanted nothing to do with me, the second however, I swear would still be nursing if I let him! (at 2 half years old) I miss their littleness and nursing them :(

    (NGF =) from http://doublethalove.blogspot.com)

  7. Nice blog. Just visited http://tepelbedekkers.nl. Such a bizar product but it seems to work. It might be something to blog about for you? Keep it up and keep on writing. Your blog looks very 2014!



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