Breastfeeding is a team sport.
One of the delights of breastfeeding a toddler is how our communication about feeding has developed.
SBJ has gone from saying ‘Brr!’ to ‘Bee!’ to ‘Feed!’ Now we’re in the land of full-ish sentences, though the syntax is often, shall we say, idiosyncratic.
Tonight, here was our conversation:
Me: Honey, time for the other side.
SBJ (after a pause for more drinking, then a quick delatch:) No.
Me: No, really, I need you to have the other side. There’s a lot of milk there.
I’ll pause here to say that two things are going on for him at the moment. One is eight – count ’em, eight – teeth coming through, incisors and molars, and the other is a cheerfully automatic resistance to whatever anyone suggests to him. Whether he wants it or not. This may be familiar to you.
Anyway, to resume:
Me: Love, it really is time for the other side. There’s lots of milk here for you and it needs to get drunk while it’s still delicious. Please?
SBJ: No! Nooooooo! (Etc)
SBJ (delatching, moving to the other side, drinking for a couple of seconds, delatching again): Delicious! (A few more sips, then:) Yummy!
Me: Oh, good. Thank you very much.
SBJ: (after another minute of drinking:) Thank you, lovely Mummy feed!
Me, internally: Ohhhhhh!
For those outside the breastfeeding loop (who have read this far!), the supply of milk is regulated largely by the demand of the baby.
In the early days it takes a while to get into the rhythm of this, and women often experience the problem of having way too much milk – painfully so, sometimes.
With babies, especially if they’re happy feeders, you can often coax them into helping out with any supply blips by having an extra feed or switching sides as you need them to.
It is a little trickier to have to run full United Nations negotiations with a toddler holding you to ransom, but when it goes well, it is delightful and satisfying. I love this new development of being able to say to SBJ that for my own comfort I’d like him to switch sides, or change position. And I think it’s mindblowing for him to discover that feeding isn’t entirely about his needs.
So thank you, God of all nourishment, for the team sport of breastfeeding. SBJ and I are both nourished by it.
This is part of an occasional series on how breastfeeding and spirituality go together. The series list is here. The other posts are:
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