Monday, July 23, 2007


The early childhood "experts" say that infants don't experience the complex emotion of jealousy until they're 9 or so months old. Maybe they're right, I don't know. But here's what I experienced.

Last Tuesday, I came home from work around 5:30. Jackson had eaten about an hour before. So to even things out, I wanted to pump. I got all the equipment ready, and sat Jackson on the couch next to me. He immediately started to fuss. So I tried to hold the contraption with one hand (difficult!) so I could soothe him and pass him toys with the other. He grew increasingly frustrated and before 2 minutes had passed, I had to stop and pick him up. He wanted to nurse right away, and very eagerly. It was as if he was jealous of the pump taking his milk away.

The following morning, I was in a hurry to leave for work. I wanted to feed Jackson before I left, so his father could sleep a little bit longer. So I grabbed a bottle from the fridge since Jackson can drink a bottle much quicker than he can nurse. I put the nipple in his mouth, and he had a shocked look at if I'd tried to choke him with it. I took it away then tried again. This time, he just laughed and stuck out his tongue. He had to be hungry. So I offered him the breast, and he anxiously started to nurse.

I was really surprised by this. For the first month, I pumped exclusively so that all of Jackson's meals came from the bottle. (I'll tell the story of the infant chiropractor sometime). I've always thought the experts and mother's who extoll the virtues of the special mother-baby bonding through nursing were a little overzealous. Perhaps some babies nurse for the sake of bonding, but mine seemed to be in it for the physical nourishment alone. He gets down to business and then he's off.

As it turns out, my son prefers to drink from the source. I guess he's getting something more out of it than food after all. I've also noticed he seems to be waiting to fill up for me to get home from work. He rarely takes more than 4 ounces at a time from Jason. Today, he only took 2 ounces at his four o'clock feeding, so he was very hungry when I came home.

This has changed my attitude toward nursing somewhat, and especially toward those who choose to continue nursing their toddlers. Not that I want to nurse a toddler myself. However, I find myself appreciating the ability to feed my son a bit more now. I suddenly don't see it as so much of a chore.

Jason said one time that he thought I enjoyed having a baby made up entirely of me. This is an interesting concept and goes along with Brandon and Sarah's idea of the baby made up entirely of milk. When Jason said it, I hadn't thought too much about it in that context, and didn't think that at all. However, I'm starting to think of it that way. In a month, we'll start solids, and it will no longer be true. But he will probably be made up mostly of me for some time to come.

1 comment:

  1. I love, love, LOVE to nurse my babies!! There really is something magical that happens between a mom and a baby. We just weaned Ewan and I think I am going through a sort of "withdrawal", although I am glad to have my body back to myself!