From your mother, the bearer of the milk-stuff.
November 05, 2009

Dear Charlotte,

For a natural, biological act, breastfeeding sure took an ass-load of effort.  It will never cease to amaze me that the human species exists at all given how difficult and agonizing breastfeeding was in the beginning.

The truth is that if I were not married to your father – your kind, supportive, encouraging, wonderful father – then I doubt I would have lasted longer than a few days.  At a time when my vagina was being held together with thread and every inch of my body ached, the last thing that I wanted to do was endure a little more pain.  The only reason I continued to put you to my breast after that first, horrific feeding was that your father believed that I could do it.

In the end, I guess he was right.  Not only did I survive that first day, but I made it through the first week.  Then I persevered through the first month.  Pretty soon, you were no longer a newborn and we were still going strong.

Today, breastfeeding you is second nature.  Although we are both still more comfortable nursing without a blanket, we have finally figured out how to use one effectively.  I feed you in slings and wraps and carriers.  I feed you lying down and standing up and sitting down.  I feed you in the cradle hold and the football hold and the snuggly buggly wuggly (or whatever) hold – and in positions that I have yet to see illustrated in any book.

What’s more: I look forward to feeding you.  The urge to let you nurse is one of the strongest instincts I have ever experienced.  When you take a long nap (it’s rare, but it happens), I miss the closeness of your skin against mine.  Breastfeeding you has become one of my favorite activities of all time.  Which is convenient because eating my milk happens to be your favorite activity of all time.

At three months old, you now spend most of your time at the breast flirting with and smiling at me.  You love to grab at my shirt and my hair.  Sometimes you break the latch so that you can nuzzle me and breathe me in and giggle happily.  You sigh and gurgle contentedly, make and maintain eye contact, and coo when I kiss your forehead.

When we started out, I never thought that breastfeeding could ever be a bonding experience.  But it finally is.  And I am so, so glad that I stuck with it to find out.

I love you,

No one could give her such soothing and sensible consolation as this little three-month-old
creature when he lay at her breast and she felt the movement of his lips and the
snuffling of his tiny nose.
    - Leo Tolstoy

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  1. By Stephanie on November 05, 2009

    Awwww, the thought, alone, sounds like pure bliss. I hope for the same outcome here very soon!

    Thanks for sharing and Happy 3 Months, Charlie!

  2. By Monica on November 05, 2009

    Is there anything more lovely in the whole world than a baby smiling up at you around a mouthful of breast?

  3. By on November 05, 2009

    good for you Sarah! im still encouraged to try to make it through the first tough month.
    im currently 4 days OVERDUE! ARRGGHH!!!
    but still hoping i can do it too.

  4. By JenniferW on November 05, 2009

    This is beautiful and I’m so happy for you because you are right, there really is nothing “natural” about breastfeeding for two people who have never done it before. You are lucky to have the resources, support and time to commit to breastfeeding. Maybe it will work for me the second go ‘round. Maybe.

  5. By Sarah A. Schlothan Christensen on November 05, 2009

    Amanda - Hang in there!  You can do it!  Being overdue totally sucks donkey balls, but you’ll forget about it soon, I promise =)  Also, stock up on gel soothies (like Medela Hydrogels or Playtex Gels) and bring a boppy pillow to the hospital.  Trust me, if breastfeeding doesn’t click right away, the boppy and the gels help immensely.

    Jennifer - I absolutely agree that it has SO MUCH to do with the support, resources, and time.  If I had to go back to work shortly after giving birth, or if my family were less supportive or tolerant of me learning to breastfeed out in the open, or if my husband were not able to stay home as long as he did and sit there with me at every feeding urging me on, I would never be at it still today.  If it works for you next time around, THAT’S GREAT.  But if it doesn’t?  I’m pretty sure you still bond with the baby =)  And that’s the great part, isn’t it?

  6. By Mrs. Sitcom on November 05, 2009

    So sweet!  And also great to hear that’s not all easy-peasy hunky-dorky right out of the gate…I’ll try to remember this post if/when I need some nipple encouragement :)

  7. By Restless Mama on November 05, 2009

    Right on sistah!  I’m so happy you and Charlotte and having a good time with boobie milk time.  It was my favorite part and I actually kinda miss it now that the Bambino’s all grown up and all about the big people food. 
    Keep it up lady!

  8. By Lauren on November 05, 2009

    Ooo - I want details on the feeding in a sling.  We managed it once and then somehow were never able to get that perfect positioning to allow her to latch on. 

    I felt like a discovered a new island when we first did feeding lying down - look ma! no hands.  I love it. 

    Glad to hear it’s going so well.  Are you bottle feeding at all with expressed milk?

  9. By Sarah A. Schlothan Christensen on November 05, 2009

    Lauren - It took me, like, centuries to figure out the sling.  I actually had to watch a youtube video to get it right.  Pretty much, I sit her in it on my hip.  Then, if she’s feeding on the side that goes over my shoulder, I tuck her legs into the sling (usually one sticks out the top a bit lol) and tilt her down.  She latches, and I can move the sling to either supprt her butt as-is, or I can move it to cover up her head and my boob.  If she’s feeding on the side she’s sitting on, I adjust the rings so she’s lower (my pouch doesn’t need adjustment) and whip it out.  She eats sitting up that way, but I need to limit my motion so that she doesn’t bob her head too much.

    I rarely bottle feed with expressed milk, but it does happen.  If I’m out and about, Donald uses a bottle, or if I’m under the weather.

  10. By laura @ peacoat on November 10, 2009

    i so needed to read this today.  i am having the hardest time breastfeeding my three-week-old and want to give up every day.  i’m forcing myself to trudge on at least a little longer. 

    i’m desperately hoping to get to the point where i look forward to each feeding instead of dreading it.

  11. By on December 05, 2009

    You’re really thankful for this post, I’ve been really enjoying checking up your posts from time to time. Looking forward to see your future posts !!





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