I am known as Mister Saturday Night, because I was born on a Saturday night, and also as Mister Life Force, because people assume that I know stuff. I do not know anything. I am a merely an adorable baby who can use an iPad to write blogs when my parents sleep in miserable microbursts.
Let me tell you what’s on my mind, and literally, in my face, these days. My mother’s chest.
People think breast feeding is a basic human instinct, like watching television or posting to Facebook. It is not. It’s actually kind of challenging.
The other day, my postpartum doula was saying that among all her clients, she’s never seen breast feeding be easy.
Breast feeding is a dance: It takes two to Tango round a nipple, and lots of us infants just don’t latch on lickety-split. We want a faster flow, or a different mouth feel. I don’t want to sound like a breast milk sommelier, but ever since I was born three weeks ago, I have been my own man. I am decisive, but the thing is, I don’t know what I am supposed to be decisive about. I know just what I want, but I don’t really know it until I taste it. I can’t control much, but I will damn well try to control how I take nourishment.
People are trying to tell my parents how to feed me. Do it standing up. Do it sitting down. Feed me with a supportive hand clamped on my jaw, feed me lying down. I should be on my side, my mommy should be on her side. My mommy should be swinging from a trapeze and I am to be launched from a trampoline, and we meet in mid air, latching perfectly. Be sure there are plenty of pillows below in case we miss.
Sorry to get into a huff. We had a lactation consultant over here the other day who was trying to get me to latch on to my mommy by shoving my head into my mommy’s breast. Not only was it kind of rude, but I felt like she was trying to get me to second base on the first date.
Look, I love my mommy and am looking forward to a long, juicy relationship with her (and to fracturing that relationship for a time when I am a teenager, but don’t let me get ahead of myself.) For now I can say that she produces the best breast milk I’ve ever had. I enjoy feeding and am vocal in my appreciation. Just this morning at 4:30, as I had my breast snack ever, my dad remarked that I was grunting like I was moving a piano. I am learning how to take it in on my own time, with my own sounds.
When we babies take our time figuring out how to breast feed, or worse, if we never figure it out, we can be stigmatized. Our moms can suffer, feeling that their efforts are being rejected, or they are less than perfect moms, since they can’t nourish their babies in the ways lactation consultants think they should. Lactation people, hear me on this: You can give advice, and then you can let me and my mom work it out. Don’t grab a baby’s head and shove it into a boob. That’s like the kind of behavior you’d see in a sports bar after too many Jägermeister shots.
There’s no doubt that if I were breast feeding all the time it would make everyone’s life easier. My mommy says breastfeeding has the minimalist appeal of running, while pumping milk and bottle feeding is like skiing: You need a lot of equipment. I get it. I am a minimalist. Have you seen these written instructions? Either they tell you how to assemble my bottle and nipple for feeding, or they tell you how to discover the Higgs Boson.
Update: This afternoon we tried on baby carriers and it seems that I am decisively a Baby Bjorn man. When we tested the others, I cried and fussed so fiercely that my father said it was about as comfortable as being strapped to a raccoon. This means that I am deciding things. I am the decider! Wait, didn’t another infant already say that? Will Google it.
Well, gotta go. My parents are getting enough sleep now to realize how tired they are, and I have a busy night ahead. By the way, my mommy also wrote a blog about all this, and she uses way bigger words than I do.