The Many Personalities of Nursing

Breastfeeding is hard, exhausting work. Very little about it has ever felt natural to me. While nursing has transformed me, what is most amazing to me are all the personalities O has exhibited as we have engaged in the bizarre breastfeeding dance. I had read about the gourmet, the snacker, and cluster feeding, but I have a few more personalities to add to the list:

First came the little piglet. All meal times were accompanied with lots of snorting. Poor little O couldn’t eat without squishing her nose against my breast. Next up was the milk tiger. O stalked my breast, at first seeming indifferent and then quickly grabbing on for dear life. I had read that a pinkie finger could break the breastfeeding seal, but I needed a spatula to unlatch O. Then Groucho Marx emerged in my babe, my nipple her cigar. There was lots of chewing but not a lot of eating. All the chewing with not much eating must have made O hungry because soon the efficiency expert surfaced. If the milk was not flowing fast enough O would do breast compressions for me to increase the flow. Of course, all this milk was a little too much to handle and the most disgusting nursing personalities resulted in the frat boy. Just like a hard partying fraternity brother, a little throw up would not stop O from drinking, as far as she was concerned, she had room for just one more. O has recently discovered her hands and she likes to use them while eating and so most recently she is the hair dresser. She seems to think straightening my hair one very small clump at a time while she nurses is a good way to practice her fine motor skills.

O has struggled with some of those developmental milestones like rolling over and picking up a raisin, but she can pump a breast and unhook a nursing bra with one hand, so I think she is going to be just fine.



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