Fri, Aug 21, 2009, 2:02 PM | From My Journal
Nursing is natural. At least that was my silent mantra as I pulled up my shirt, unsnapped my bra cup and pulled Abby to me in the family room the first time.
After a few attempts she latched.
My boys were formula-fed, so pulling out a breast as they watched TV was a new experience. Really, who ever thought mom would be flashing the girls as they munched popcorn on movie night? Seriously.
While I felt uncomfortable emotionally, outwardly I acted as if it was a casual, regular event.
Curious, Craig sat next to me on the couch and said, “You got my sissy?”
“Yes. She’s hungry.”
“Ohhh. Where’s her bottle?”
“She doesn’t have one.”
He seemed perplexed and then stretched over to look at her closer. He gasped. It sounded like helium shrieking though the stretched mouth of a balloon. “Mommy, she’s eating your booboo!”
I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or grab a blanket. Instead I opted for the logical, educational approach. “Yes, this is how some babies eat.”
Craig slapped his cheeks. “THEY DO?”
It was comical and yet disturbing – after five short years, Craig had already self-defined the purpose of breasts. Goodness, he was in for a rewrite.
“Sissy eat booboos and drink bottles?”
“No, she drinks milk from me.” I didn’t want to complicate the lesson with explanations of pumped milk.
As if to reiterate, Abby drooled. Craig squealed. “That’s milk!”
“Mommy, I want some milk. Can I eat your booboo too?”
Uh … I put my hand out to block him. “No. Sorry … it’s for only for your sister. You have big boy milk in the ‘fridge.”
“Oh.” He was disappointed. “Wait! I know … I feed her.” Faster than I could respond, he pulled up his shirt and placed his flat, pea-sized nipple on his sister’s exposed cheek.
She squirmed under the battle of the boobs. “Hey, stop. You can’t feed her.”
He rocked back. “She can only eat you and daddy’s booboos?”
Oh boy. Nursing was natural but it sure needed a lot of explanations. After a multitude of questions over several days, Craig seemed satisfied with his new knowledge.
It wasn’t much longer before I was comfortable flopping out nature’s bottles while chatting with the fam, eating dinner at the table, or sitting on the back porch for a little sun and watching the dogs scamper.
Craig was still interested in his sister’s nourishment process – but he mostly sat next to me and explained to her all the ‘booboos’ she couldn’t eat. Then he would pretend-nurse, burp and wrestle spit up off his Buzz Lightyear doll.
On occasion he’d try to sneak-latch his toy on me. That didn’t go over well.
Eventually pretend play wasn’t enough. One morning while I was feeding Abby, Craig marched up to me and bared his chest. “Put some milk in my booboo now.”
“You have to share.” Craig pointed to the breast his sister was nursing on and then to his flat one.
After coughing back a laugh, I said, “Baby, I can’t. It doesn’t work that way.”
“You’re not sharing!”
“I can’t …”
“That’s not fair.” He emphasized every word with a powerful stomp and then ran out of the room. A few seconds later, his bedroom door slammed shut.
“Oh Abby, I guess it’s just you and me.”
What can I say? Nursing time is my time. Everyone else can keep a shirt on.
Eve Reiland (US)
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