I’ve done it in a plane, on a train, in a car, in a combi, on the floor, on a couch, a bed, stairs and on chairs. I’ve done it standing up, lying down, walking around and on toilet seats. I’ve done it in airports, at conferences, a shooting range, the movies, at work, in coffee houses, at barbecues, in Kuwaiti food courts, in Canadian malls, on Safari, on park benches and in an amphitheater. I’ve done it on three continents, in countless houses, at a handful of weddings, in mosques and about a zillion times over the past year and a half.
Eryn was always quite aloof when it came to nursing. When she was young it was a struggle. From the second she was born, she wanted to get up and go into the kitchen for a hamburger. Frustrated, she lay swaddled most of the time and often threatened to tip her bassinet over and roll all by herself to the kitchen if she didn’t get what she wanted. She wasn’t interested in the breast unless milk was flowing – and it had to be flowing perfectly well or she’d reject it, hit it, jiggle it, and later, bite it.
The first thing I noticed about my post-delivery breasts was how soft and jiggly they were. Even before the milk came in, they had undergone a magical transformation from perky A-cups to rounded, soft, orb-like B-cups. Once the milk came in, within hours they’d jump to rock hard C and even D cups. They felt and looked like I had some kind of miracle implant surgery. Having small breasts my entire life, I was suddenly blessed with large, sexy movers and shakers, and had no time to enjoy them. But they were also no longer my own — I was sustaining new life with liquid that flowed from my body. I was amazing. I was absolutely fantastic. My breasts were a miracle.
Now that I’m only nursing a few times at night, they’re back to their original size and density. And while I was excited about my C cups and yes, excited about returning to my apple-sized chest, Eryn just never seemed to get excited about my breasts, regardless of how amazing I thought they were.
At the beginning, I blamed her tongue tie (that we never got fixed because her pediatrician said it wouldn’t affect her speech) and later her lazy latch. Nursing was like a chore for her. I was nervous about succeeding at breastfeeding, so I offered the breast often. There were times when I’d shove it in her face because I knew it was time to eat, and darnit sweetheart, I don’t care if you’re not interested, or hate the right’s overactive letdown, it’s time to eat, so open up and stop your crying.
There were many months of feeding struggles — but that just comes with nursing. There’s a steep learning curve, but it’s well worth the climb.
By the time I became more confident regarding modesty and public nursing, and more sure of my abilities as a nurturer, she was old enough to realize that nursing was a great way to fall asleep and would time her naps with our nursing sessions. This became exasperated when she was firmly introduced to solids, and she would viciously bite me when I offered her the breast any time outside of bedtime. I was mortified. I felt rejected, unloved and at times that I was nothing more than a faceless soother, instead a giver of life. It was adding insult to injury — my bruised and battered breasts would then have to endure hours of painful night time nursing.
Once though, when she was about two months old, she fell asleep while visiting family in Niagara Falls, and we ended up driving home without her waking in the meantime. By the time we took her out of the car seat, it had been almost five hours since her last meal. It was the longest stretch ever, and when I lifted my shirt for the grand reveal, her face lit up with a huge toothless grin, she made a primal squeal of delight and latched on with abandon. Months later when feeling dejected and resentful over my sore, bitten nipples, I often thought of that one time lovingly. Holding onto it as proof that she actually enjoyed nursing.
Having Eryn regard my breasts only as night time companions, and otherwise only coolly acknowledge them, allows me to avoid any kind of PDAs. Other mothers have told me that nursing a toddler means there is a strong possibility your baby will at some point grab your chest, lift your shirt, or even undo your bra strap while in public. Not Eryn, She’s never tried to feel me up outside of nap time. Even then she waits patiently. I used to wonder if she would even ask for them if I just never offered them – and debated whether or not she was weaning.
Until I started working full time.
Now when I come home, she gives me a great big hug and immediately asks for, “nyum-na.” When I say, “Eryn, do you want to nurse?” she nods enthusiastically, laughs hysterically with excitement and then does a little dance. She then starts singing or shouting her “nyum-na” song. When I pull her up on my lap she can barely contain herself and quietly giggles. Once she starts nursing, she looks up at me with sparkling eyes and laughs some more.
It’s truly amazing. You can only imagine how wonderful and appreciated this makes me feel.
My baby dances for my boobs.