What Breastfeeding Feels Like

03Jul07


Well, the quick answer is that right now, at least during the first few weeks, it feels like my friend Dawn said: like someone’s taking clothespins and repeatedly pinching them on and off your nipples.

The long answer is this: it feels like Motherhood Express. Just one week into life with Evan and I feel like breastfeeding has me in the fast lane of a highway with no onramp and no offramps. As you can expect, such an experience feels both exhilarating and sometimes, well, not really terrifying but maybe more like harrowing. I feel a bit like without warning my own needs got put on the backburner, but so much faster than (a) I expected and (b) I expect they would have were I bottle feeding.

Here’s an example. I’m sitting around, about to eat dinner. I realize it’s time to wake Evan to feed him. NO big deal. Dinner will be there when I return. So I get Evan, we sit and get situated, which takes some work on both our parts as we struggle to learn how to do this breastfeeding thing together. Suddenly, my bladder sends me a not so gentle reminder of its own presence. But now that we’re sitting in the nursing chair, that bladder’s going to have to wait.

Or, when I’m suddenly feeling crappy from this slow recovery process and I just feel like I need to lay down, there’s no one else who can feed the little cutie. It’s me or no one. Like I said, no offramp.

But then there’s the cute stuff. This morning we did our feeding on the bed, both lying down belly to belly, and he held my hand with his little hand and straightened his skinny little legs out and pressed them against my upper thigh. It almost made me cry.

And I really love that I can smell his baby smell the whole time he’s feeding. And that I get to play with his gorgeous hair the whole time, continually putting and re-putting those few long strands back behind his ear only for them to flop back over the ear again. And I love the little feeding grunts, and the changes in his breathing, and the sound of his little swallows.

But man I wish Brian had boobs, too. You know, so he could experience all these wonders, too. : )

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