Did you know August is breastfeeding awareness month? And the first week of August is National Breastfeeding Week? I mean, it’s also National Catfish month (aside: I was going to just throw something random out like, ‘I bet its also national catfishing day’ but then decided to actually look up what other observances occur in August and I discovered – I shit you not – it is actually national catfish month.) Because every day is now SOME kind of celebration – like today, August 3rd is National GRAB SOME NUTS DAY. Yes, really – so basically, does any of this have any meaning anymore?
I guess it means something when it’s your day or week or month, right? And because I spend a lot of hours in my day (and night) breastfeeding (or pumping) this time, it’s my month and my week.
It feels fitting, then, that I spent pretty much all day nursing my nursling. Mondays I “work from home” which often translates to “take care of the baby until L gets home then work all night” or, today, “nurse the baby and try and convince him to nap all day then work for two hours in between L’s classes and rehearsals then work after the baby goes to bed.” For no reason that we can tell, A slept like shit today. He woke up late, then couldn’t be cajoled into his typical morning nap. So I nursed him an extra time, hoping it would work, with no luck. An extensive walk around the park finally did the trick . . .until exactly the moment we walked through the door. More nursing and rocking and wearing got me another 20 minutes, then some nursing and some tummy time and some toys on the floor then a full scale nuclear meltdown then more nursing and I just gave in and let him keep a boob in his mouth for the rest of the afternoon. A brief respite when L got home and then he was back on the teat until bath time and a final drink goodnight.
Some days, it’s like this. And it feels exhausting and bone wearying and touched out. And I both envy L that she doesn’t have to nurse him and feel sorry that she doesn’t have this in her parenting toolbox when I’m not around.
As of tomorrow, I will have been nursing 20 weeks, 4 1/2 months. It has gotten easier. I mostly don’t stress about my supply (except occasionally when my pumping schedule gets fucked up or the smidge sleeps extra long and I wake up with rocks on my chest) I don’t have any pain when nursing and only a little discomfort when pumping. I am sometimes annoyed or feel pressed for time, but most of the time I see nursing as a respite from the rest of my over scheduled life. At night especially, I can feel the surge of good hormones when my milk lets down and everything feels at peace for a few moments.
Breastfeeding is a huge part of my world, and it is something I care deeply about, and something I wholeheartedly believe is not actually supported by our medical, work or social cultures. But I also hate so much how terrible women feel for not nursing – for whatever reason – and I am always nervous that my love and pride will be confused for ego and condescension. There is a lot of luck, a bunch of stubborn hardheadedness and quite a lot of access to resources at play in my success, not to mention a baby who was born with his mouth wide open and looking for a nipple.
This morning, the nursing pictures that were taken at the Birth Without Fear conference showed up in my inbox. I love them. I even love the one with my face, where I have 30 giant chins. In fact, I only noticed the chins when I looked at the pictures for the 25th time tonight. That says something to me, that nursing is something that makes me feel strong and capable and connected, its something that makes me feel beautiful. I’m proud that I’ve fed my baby with my body. But I want to make it very, very clear that my pride doesn’t cloud my love and respect for all the mamas who feed their babies in many other ways.
In other news . . .this post is courtesy of the new surface pro I was given to use at work, which allows me to both do work more easily remotely, and also more easily update my blog after I’m done with work. In a weekend of exciting new things, we also traded in my chev.y HHR and got a new-to-us hyund.ai sonata, aka: a car that can actually fit the car seat without the passenger seat pushed all the way forward. The best part was that we got what we owed on the trade and so our monthly payment actually went down $10 a month, and the insurance will be cheaper as well. It feels weird to be those people with two new cars in the driveway, because it doesn’t actually seem representative of who we are but . . . whatever.
So that’s it, I guess. Boobs and cars. Not a bad life.