Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Love At First Suck

Have you ever seen a baby bird, mouth agape when Mama bird comes back with food?  It looks like this:

A baby rooting for the breast looks much the same.  Mouth agape, head turning side to side seeking out his source of nourishment.  It is a baby at his most vulnerable, visible proof of how much they depend on us, on their mamas.  It is a deeply biological drive, one that we cannot change, only respond to.

My body has fought me every step of the way - getting pregnant, staying pregnant, giving birth...if there was a symptom or side effect, I had it.  The whole 9 yards.  To say I was nervous about breast feeding is an understatement.  Having a late preemie didn't help that nervousness.  It is often difficult for them to learn to latch and be an effective suckler.  But it was something I very much wanted to do, and hoped I would enjoy.

My amazing kiddo figured it out within 36 hours, impressing everyone.  So did I.  And I was born to do this.  I LOVE IT.  I lucked out, probably due to his preemie status, and never had horrendously sore nipples.  By the time we came home I was pretty much over that.  I have the majority of a tube of heavy duty lanolin sitting unused.  It has not been without challenges, but those are related to needing to supplement (not due to my production, but rather his need for extra calories) and fitting that into the schedule and pumping and whatnot.  The actual breastfeeding has been amazing.  Perfect.

I love the closeness I get with him.  It reminds me of him inside me (which still seems sort of surreal).  I read a line in a book by my favorite author, Barbara Kingsolver years ago.  The book is The Bean Trees.  I dug it out today to find the quote I was thinking about. 

"The baby's suckling at her felt good, as if he might suck the ache right out of her breast."

This is the best way I can describe it.  Which sounds sad, but it's not, not for me.  I mentioned the Baby Blues before.  Add my normal emotional issues on top of that, and exhaustion, and, well, there is definitely an ache.  The let-down of no longer being pregnant.  The shock at the love I feel for this being.  The love itself.  The ache I feel in my chest when I see Hubby with his son.  There are so many emotions.  Nursing him...it's right.  It's real.  It's something very physical that I can count on, to reel me back in from the crazy.  The sight of him once he is satiated sleeping using my breast as a pillow.  His milk goatee when he is finished.  The absolute need he has for me to provide something that only I can provide him. 

My body got something right.

And I am ever so thankful.


  1. Awe, he is so beautiful & precious! Thank you for sharing such a positive experience with breast feeding, I hear so many people talk about the negative and breast feeding is something that is very important to me as well and something I hope that I'll be good at. It makes me happy to hear you & your son are having such a positive experience with it!
    Also thank you so much for your kind words today, they always mean so much to me!

  2. I'm so glad that this part came easily to both of you and has given you something so wonderful. I am so happy for you.

  3. What an amazingly beautiful sentiment and an absolutely gorgeous little boy.

  4. He is just too cute.

    I'm so glad breastfeeding is going well! I always thought it would be the ultimate bonding experience. Enjoy babe!

  5. What a beautiful post!! Brought a tear to my eye. Your body did a LOT of things right, even though it was mouthy about it! ;)

  6. Your body got lots right - it just did it in interesting ways! xxx

  7. So so happy for you my dear friend that this is working out so beautifully. Meanwhile I also feel al little sorry for myself as it never worked out. Much love, Fran

  8. So wonderful! I'm glad your body got this one right!!!

  9. Okay, first let me say...I LOVE the name of your Blog. Very clevah dahling ;) Next, my children sucked the living fat cells out of me. For this, I will be eternally grateful to them ;) I loved your comparison of a baby bird to a baby suckling. Very visual...and soooo true. Hey, thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. You ROCK!

  10. gorgeous post and a gorgeous little guy!

  11. :) Yea, BF rocks! I just wish I produced enough for my little man...once he is done (physically) he rests for a bit and then cries for more but he has sucked me dry! LOL...:)

  12. incredible picture G! I had to look at it twice, but that is one picture tha toy will always cherish.

    There is so much love contained in your writing. I can almost feel the intensity of connection that you have to this little life. It is so perfect is so many ways, and makes me really remember why I am fighting so hard for this. Your love gives me so much strength.

    Keep up the great amazing work of being a mama to this perfect little being.



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