Monday, April 20, 2009

Breastfeeding (Still) Makes Me Smile...

I started writing this post something like 3 or 4 months ago, and then life just managed to get in the way. Ironically enough, I went through a difficult period of breastfeeding in December and January, when Emma started teething (although to this day I STILL don't believe it was her teeth that were bothering me...) and having a poor latch. Even today she still sometimes gets lazy and doesn't latch so well (whereas when she was a newborn she was a champion latcher!), and obviously this causes a lot of discomfort. I'm inclined to think that this may have led to my breast infection back in early January when I traveled to the U.S. and showed up at my parents' house with a 103° F fever... Thank goodness a doctor had prescribed me some amoxicillin before I left France, because she told me at the time she thought I had the flu... In the end, this was the one antibiotic I could take while continuing to breastfeed, and apparently it nipped the infection in the bud -- to my enormous relief! Needless to say, those first 10 days or so back on American soil were a bit difficult, for both of us, what with the addition of baby jetlag, teething, and re-adjustment. Otherwise, Emma did really well.

I re-read this post and thought back to this particular moment; I still have times like this, when Emma looks up at me with that happy, satisfied look after nursing -- they call it "repu" in French, another word I learned as a new mother! -- but for the most part she's now all business, most of the time, and in particular in the morning she's in a mighty hurry to latch onto my breast because, boy howdy, she's HUNGRY after that long night!

Early morning IS one of my favorite times with Emma, even though on the whole I still remain a non-morning person in general. But both my boy and I cannot resist listening to her gurgle and chatter in her crib until she catches sight of me awake and then INSISTS on my picking her up to feed her -- in a jiffy! I love to hear her quietly wake up from a nap during the day as well, chitter-chattering away in the bedroom and not even calling out for me to come get her -- just enjoying her quiet moment alone.

And all in all I am still in a happy nursing mode -- and I'm still thrilled to be breastfeeding Emma, one choice that I stuck to, even when the going got tough. My goal at this point is to nurse her through her 1st birthday, but if she weans herself before then, that's fine too. (Oh, and on a sidenote, it's funny to see the reaction from a LOT of French people when I say that I'm still breastfeeding -- it's mixed, of course, but more often than not they seem more than a little surprised, sometimes even shocked, particularly the pharmacists! Isn't that interesting...) Of course, it clearly has helped that I chose to stay home with Emma a bit longer before returning to work, and this has been a blessing all around -- this time with her is something that I know I need to cherish, because it flies by fast. I really hope I will keep good memories from this year with her that will last me a lifetime.


November 23rd, 2008

I never thought I would say this, but I am SO, SO happy that I stuck it out with the breastfeeding. And I hate to get all sappy and stuff, but I am really enjoying the quiet moments of breastfeeding that I share with Emma these days... The tough times back at the beginning were totally worth it, I can assure you -- sure, I still have a few difficulties from time to time, and I've definitely had my share of rocky points, but on the whole, the experience has become nothing but positive for me. Emma occasionally gets distracted and pulls off when she's unfocused on her latch, and sometimes when she's really hungry she can be anxious while on the breast, but for the most part she leans into me and enjoys the special time we're sharing together. I think my favorite moment is when she has already nursed on one breast, so she's feeling pretty good already and is nearly full, but decides to nurse a bit on the other breast anyway and looks up at me with a little sparkle in her eye, as if to say, "Well, I'm not really that hungry anymore, but I'm a little gourmande like you, Mommy, so I'll stay on here for a while longer..." And she smiles a bit, espiègle and as cute as a button.

I also like the early morning nursing sessions, when I wake up to her quietly gurgling away in her crib beside me, waiting for me to come out of my own deep sleep and reach into the bed to get her and bring her close to me. She'll smile again, turn her head to me and open her mouth like a baby bird, then concentrate on a very serious nursing session for about 10 minutes. I can tell how fulfilling these morning times are from how happy and satisfied she almost always seems afterwards. And it really is a good feeling!