Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Listening to My Baby

By Molly Remer
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 23 No. 6, November-December 2006, p. 253

Before my son, Lann, was born, I felt prepared for frequent nursing, comfort nursing, and for the experience of nursing in public. I started attending La Leche League meetings when I was 26 weeks pregnant and was also involved with my local breastfeeding coalition. I fondly imagined cuddling my baby as he nursed away. I also imagined proudly nursing wherever necessary -- doing my part to increase public perception of nursing being a normal part of everyday life, not secret or shameful.

After newborn Lann's first growth spurt had passed, I was surprised to learn that he had other ideas about what our breastfeeding relationship would be like. Lann did not like to comfort nurse: he nursed when hungry and stopped when full. He would become upset and cry loudly if the breast was offered and after the first few sucks he got milk that he wasn't looking for. He also vastly preferred nursing lying down in our own bed. In public, he would refuse to nurse at all or would nurse a bit, choke on a mouthful, and become upset and not continue. He would often choke while nursing in any setting (though less frequently while lying down at home) and become very distraught and turn away from the breast, sometimes even pushing at me with his hands. These experiences were very difficult for me. I felt embarrassed to go to LLL meetings with a baby who cried and fought the breast despite clearly appearing hungry, but then would nurse happily in the car. I did not have the cozy, peaceful nursling I imagined, though I was comforted by the fact that at home, lying down, when he was hungry, he certainly loved to nurse.

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