Luca is now 2 ½ years old and Jonah has just turned one. Both boys are still breastfeeding though Luca typically only feeds first thing in the morning and before his sleeps. Recently that has meant that he sometimes only feeds twice in a day as he has started to drop his daytime nap on occasion. Jonah, on the other hand, feeds very frequently. Though he certainly doesn’t follow any sort of a routine, there would be few instances where he goes for longer than an hour or two without a feed.
I am still really enjoying feeding them both and gain a lot of satisfaction in doing so. Recently Luca has started to comment “Mmm, yummy” every time he finishes a feed which is a nice little bit of feedback for me. Once I responded to him by asking what Mummy’s milk tastes like. “Chocolate” was his response. No wonder he looks so blissful while feeding – liquid chocolate on tap!
Luca’s morning feeds are particularly enjoyable for us both. When Jonah wakes, Mark comes and takes him out of the bed and Luca climbs in. We snuggle under the covers together and Luca twines my hair around his fingers while he feeds (a habit he adopted a long time ago). It’s such a heart-warming way to slowly rouse in the morning and a loving way to start the day with my big boy.
Jonah’s feeding is somewhat less relaxing and peaceful. He likes to observe what is going on around him so frequently pulls on and off the breast during a feed. I find this painful and frustrating. Jonah’s teeth seem to partake in the whole pulling off process (ouch!) and my milk is left to spray or drip onto my belly and lap until he re-latches again. I usually attempt to stop the milk flow by pressing the fingers of my spare hand against my nipple which is fine at home but rather awkward when out in public. Jonah will sometimes go so far as to climb off my lap then just as I am putting my breast away, come back to me asking for more. Although it is not something I wish to make a habit of, I have sometimes pulled my breast back out and leant forward allowing him to perform the ‘standing feed’ – it cracks me up!
The breast is just the best pacifier isn’t it?! Jonah is going through a particularly clumsy period, a combination, I think, of being fairly new to walking and experiencing some pretty nasty teething. I’m not sure how painful teething could affect such things but I am certain I have heard other mother’s making the same claim. So he is currently quite an accident-prone little guy. Furthermore, he is rapidly developing an obstinate streak and quickly becomes frustrated when things aren’t going his way. Tears and screams typically ensue… cue the breast. I can’t bear hearing my little ones scream and am always so grateful at how quickly a breastfeed cures their woes. I remember reading somewhere that breast milk contains an analgesic (pain relieving) substance so not only is breastfeeding a comfort at an emotional level it is also a truly physical comforter.
Unfortunately I have managed to acquire four breast infections so far this year. Considering I didn’t have even one bout of mastitis when I was only feeding Luca, this has really surprised me. When I get mastitis I feel totally incapable of looking after my children without help. Thankfully I have a supportive husband and family who always step in when needed, but I do wonder how mothers who lack such support manage to cope through such experiences. When in the thick of an ‘attack’ of mastitis I tend to be writhing around on the bed or couch, my whole body aching and have the chills or a fever. Tending to my children at these times is limited only to feeding them, which is, of course, a very necessary part of ensuring the infection doesn’t get out of hand. Let’s hope that that is the last of the breast infections for the year.
Finally, I just want to write a quick note in reference to the recent media publicity about a Timaru café owner who asked a breastfeeding patron to ‘cover up’. I simply can’t comprehend why people would have such a repulsed response to mothers feeding their children. After all breasts are first and foremost an organ for feeding our children. The implication of those who take issue with public breastfeeding seems to be that our breasts are a sexual body part that we, as breastfeeding mothers, wish to flaunt and draw attention to!
I, for one, couldn’t care less about those who detest my public breastfeeding. In fact, I like breastfeeding in public places because I like the message it sends – that I am a responsive, caring mother who wants the best for my children. Why on earth should I feel ashamed about that? In an age where there are increasing levels of child abuse in this country you’d think people would have more important things to invest their energy in than complaining about mothers who are clearly doing the best for their child!