Thursday, November 23, 2006


I am nursing Charlie. In a perfect world I might go to 1 year but I would at least like to make it to the 6 month mark. I decided to nurse because I had no reason not to. The evidence is fairly clear that if you can, breastfeeding is the way to go. At the same time, I can't say that I particularly like it. I read accounts by other women that make it sound like this transcendental experience making you at one with the moon and your baby and mothers everywhere. I can't say that I ever feel like that. At best, I feel fairly indifferent about it and at other times I have fervently wished that something would happen to make it necessary to switch to formula. I imagine that some of my feelings about the issue are shaped by the fact that Charlie was a frequent and slow nurser up until the last couple of weeks. Nursing sessions generally lasted 45 minutes and happened every 1.5-2 hours with a 3 hour stretch in the dead of night if I was lucky. I got plugged ducts and thank my lucky stars that I didn't get mastitis. In the most notable instance I spent 2 days clearing 7 plugs. Even then, I thank my lucky stars. I've actually had it fairly easy with nursing. While Charlie and I took a couple of days to really get the hang of things I haven't had supply issues, latch problems, infections, etc. I must confess that I visit my nursing message board and see these women become very distraught over nursing problems, going to great lengths to continue nursing or mourning the end of their nursing days and feel befuddled. I am told to cherish the cuddle time and closeness with my child. I am advised to relish the smell of my child and the satisfaction of knowing I can feed him from my body. I do love to cuddle Charlie but I get to do that to excess when trying to get him to sleep and could cuddle him just as well while feeding him a bottle. More often then not, my child smells of spit up and dubious diaper. We certainly don't neglect keeping him clean but more than 1 bath a day seems a bit excessive... And, knowing I can provide all he needs sometimes makes me feel more like livestock than Earth Mother. At times, it seems my only identity is as a provider of food. In my darkest moments, there is resentment that yet more sleep is lost, that I will never get that 45 minutes back, resentment that my body is no longer my own. The enforced down time of nursing can be a blessing but also a source of a great deal of stress to say nothing of wondering just how much daytime television one person really needs to watch.

Over the last week or 2 Charlie has finally begun to go 3 hours during the day and at least 1 4 hours stretch at night. He has begun to become more focused while nursing so we sometimes finish in as little as 15 minutes. This is certainly helping me feel that I might actually make it to the 6 month mark but I still don't seem to feel as warmly about nursing as some do. Is this just a function of time? Maybe I would feel quite differently if I hadn't had a choice and hadn't been able to nurse.

Nursing has made me feel somewhat bad for my husband and men in general. I have been able to participate in life in a way that women always have. I bore a child and now feed him in the same way that women 3000 years ago would have. My husband, obviously, had a hand in the conception of Charlie but doesn't get to experience the same connection to the past that I do. While he does provide for the family in the pseudo-traditional sense of being the main income earner, he doesn't provide in the most traditional sense. At no point will he likely ever create shelter or hunt food for his family. He lacks the generational connection that I have now experienced. While this doesn't particularly help me feel all that more positive about nursing in the here and now, it does, at least provide an abstract solace to mull during the 4 am nursing session.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Call Me SB (social butterfly)

Charlie has discovered the world. There are fans and lights and people. Charlie would prefer to never close his eyes again for fear of missing something. He's adorable! He has started making eye contact and he smiles and he seems to know who I am. He's also starting to go 3 hours between feedings (at least until we hit a growth spurt yesterday). This, of course, leaves me with the dilema of what one does with an alert 10 week old for 2 hours after you've already covered the diaper change and feeding.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Why do all of Charlie's onsies have ironing instructions? Am I the only one who has debated how many times he can spit upon an outfit before I really have to change it?

Monday, November 13, 2006

On Aspirations

We have started to come out of the fog of newborn care. Charlie is starting to sleep for 4 hours at a stretch, key word being "starting." He's also starting to go for 2.5-3 hours between nursing sessions so we can actually do things without sprinting home all the time although our outings are far from leisurely. Charlie is also starting to agree to take naps during the afternoon without me holding him the whole time and of longer than 5 minutes duration. There was a period of time in the very recent past that I could feel myself melting away. I had become "The Boob." I had no time to call my own. No opportunity to so anything unrelated to the physical sustenance of myself or child and sustaining myself was a far second, mainly attended to in order to preserve the milk supply for the baby. With time opening in my day to think beyond the vital, I've begun to give thought to my aspirations for Charlie.

When we discussed names we decided that it had to pass the Supreme Court/plumber test. In other words, the name had to work for either vocation. There is a school superintendent named "Tiffany" around here and I always feel bad for her. At any rate, before Charlie was born I thought that I didn't care what he did as long as he was happy. As time goes on, I am beginning to think that happiness isn't enough. In addition to being happy, I would like to instill the desire to make the world a better place. I don't really care how. He might simply have a cheerful disposition that makes those around him happier. He might always say please and thank you. He might cure cancer. Of course, now the question has arisen... have I made the world a better place in my turn.